We’ve hit the pages on the calendar when many of us reflect on what we did or didn’t accomplish over the past 12 months. This is our first full year of being out and about post-COVID-19 quarantine, and if you’re anything like me, it’s been a blur. I’m closing out a terrific two-year revenue cohort with the Local Online News Publishers, who’ve given us the resources and training to help grow and diversify fundraising.
It might not feel like it to you, particularly those who know us from our Jackson Free Press days, but we are very new to fundraising. I was an associate publisher at the JFP, which means I know how to sell ads. Cristen Hemmins, our director of giving, also has extensive ad-sales experience. Then there’s Donna Ladd, a newspaper woman and editor extraordinaire to the core, and Kristen Brenemen, our award-winning designer and creative director from the Jackson Free Press, who has transitioned to our tech person because this woman can learn anything.
Much of what we’ve done since the Mississippi Free Press launched as a nonprofit newsroom in 2020 has been on-the-job training, which by grace and good vibes, has turned out pretty well for a statewide outlet that started with $50,000 less than four years ago.
When we join these training sessions our various industry organizations host, it requires a lot of data crunching and looking at your fundraising pie, so to speak. We learn where we can grow and what areas of revenue are going well for us. To name one, every coach is floored that 65% of our fundraising came from individual donors in 2022. That shock is extended when we tell them we have donors in every state and that our recurring individual donors—folks who give monthly, annually or quarterly—pay for a salary and a half each year.
A good chunk of you are what many in the nonprofit media call small donors. You are simply donors
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