Funder’s perspective: going behind the curtain

Revenue Playbook

Course Content

This toolkit is primarily destined to give actionable guidance to news organization leaders. So we need to consider how funders view their role supporting journalism, with an emphasis on solutions reporting.

In New Hampshire, two community foundations, the Endowment for Health and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, helped develop the practice of solutions journalism through funding seed projects. SJN spoke with two of their leaders to find out why they chose to support local news, why solutions journalism resonated with them, and what insights they had for other funders.

Here are the key takeaways for newsroom leaders:

  • Solutions-focused, not just problem-driven, reporting will help make the case for achieving grantmakers’ goal of sparking systems change.
  • Make yourself available to educate the foundation’s board and staff on what to expect from working with your newsroom. Help them understand that they can’t dictate coverage, but that solutions journalism can be useful in supporting their mission.
  • Invite the program officer you work with to inform other grant-making colleagues about your efforts to improve your community through solutions journalism. Funding begets funding.
  • Establish relationships with a range of funding organizations to help them decide whether to support you. Consider collaborations with other newsrooms to bolster your case.
  • Funding shouldn’t last forever, but it needs to be sustained for several years to generate long-term change in the news industry. While presenting a plan for sustaining your work over time, have a candid conversation about your financial situation and business model.