You are browsing the archive for Sustainability.

Decoding Collaboration Part 3: Collective impact deconstructed

September 23, 2013 in Blog, Distribution

“The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails.” –Fay Hanley Brown, John Kania and Mark Kramer, Stanford Social Review

IMG_6232

Occupy New York staged in the financial district, directly across from the World Trade Center’s reconstruction effort. Credit Lisa Skube

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, who leads The Media Consortium, has been going deep on collaboration in her work. Here, she generously offers a number of insights, with this the third of her three-part series:

News Collaborations:
Part I:
What do we mean by the word “collaboration”?
Part II:
How does collaboration create impact?
Part III: How might collaboration shape the future of journalism? (see below)

There is a reason why the virtues of editorial collaboration have been championed by any number of media watchers in publications like Mediashift, NiemanLabs, J-Lab, and Journalism Accelerator. Collaboration is seen as the best way to leverage scarce resources in order to create more impact than any of the participants could do individually.

To innovate around impact, the journalism world will need philanthropists who understand that collaboration also requires resources, not only for the outlets that collaborate, but for the backbone organizations that support these collaborations.

In this post, I’ll detail the Media Consortium’s 2012 May Day collaboration to demonstrate how one type of high-impact collaboration can be organized, the investment ours required, and the return it offers. Read the rest of this entry →

Decoding Collaboration Part 1: Can or should news collaboration be forced?

July 24, 2013 in Blog, Community

The Media Consortium LogoTo scale impact, invest in networks.

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser is the executive director of The Media Consortium. Green-Kaiser’s rich background includes a BA from Yale, a PhD from the University of California, with an impressive body of work across numerous independent magazines; she is a leading figure in Jewish media and an expert on the Jewish social justice movement.

Journalism Accelerator

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, who leads The Media Consortium, has been going deep on collaboration in her work. Here she generously offers a number of insights, with this the first of her three part series:

News Collaborations:
Part I: What do we mean by the word “collaboration”?
Part II: How does collaboration create impact?
Part III: How can collaborations shape the future of journalism?

With collaboration at the center of the JA’s work, we’ve followed Media Shift’s Collaboration Central work with interest.  As well as others who are monitoring new models of collaboration emerging across the news and information spectrum.  Civic engagement “table” development methodology is part of the DNA that inspired the JA’s cross network emphasis (“beyond the usual suspects”). Inspired by wildly successful state organizing efforts, collaboration in this instance fueled by a philanthropic community where funders worked in partnership to build infrastructure to deliver commonly held objectives, leveraging the existing capabilities of civic organizations already existing in the marketplace. Taking out all partisan attachment (progressives were the architects of this infrastructure) – the simple genius of this: How to deploy the power of civic good networks around common aims – respectful of unique missions – to deliver the combined capabilities of unique specialization already creating small scale impact in the marketplace? (i.e. content delivery, craft, community conduit, social, business, technology, product development, topical expertise, etc.) Last year about this time the JA was looking at the combination of revenue and sustainability related to collaboration. Taking this a step further, we’re revisiting this asking others where they see the greatest impact around networked collaboration. As well as asking, what are the barriers slowing progress?

In this post, Jo Ellen explores new working definitions of collaboration and opportunities to consider for deeper impact, leveraging collaboration to unleash the combined power of networks in more intentional and strategic ways. Read the rest of this entry →

non-profit guides: grant-writing tools for non-profit organizations

November 21, 2012 in Resources, Revenue

Successful grant-writing involves solid advance planning and preparation. It takes time to coordinate your planning and research, organize, write and package your proposal, submit your proposal to the funder, and follow-up.

Organize your proposal, pay attention to detail and specifications, use concise, persuasive writing, and request reasonable funding. Clearly understand the grantmaker’s guidelines before you write your proposal. Make sure the grantmaker’s goals and objectives match your grantseeking purposes.” Source: non-profit guides

Community Journalism Executive Training: Define your exit to build a legacy

November 9, 2012 in Blog, Education, Revenue

A huge experiment

CJET Map

CJET brought more than thirty community and investigative publishers together for intensive, hands-on business training. Check out presentations and resources that emerged, download useful know-how.

Journalism Accelerator

It felt odd to consider “exit strategy” at the recent Community Journalism Executive Training program, which brought nearly three dozen news organizations to Los Angeles for two days of intense, hands-on work developing specific business strategies and action plans.

After all, the vast majority of organizations attending only opened their doors a few years ago.

But the training, funded by the Knight Foundation, The Patterson Foundation and the McCormick Foundation, hosted by the Knight Digital Media Center and organized by the Investigative News Network, aimed to equip people running startup community and investigative media outlets with the skills and attitude to pull their business-owner hats firmly down on their heads – and wear them all the time.

And that means thinking about exit strategy. Read the rest of this entry →

Investigative News Network Report: Critical Strategies for Growing a Nonprofit Newsroom

April 6, 2012 in Craft, Distribution, Resources, Revenue

This report is directed at the Investigative News Network membership and its supporters. It is intended to provide explicit strategic and tactical advice for growing earned revenue streams from audience development and paid distribution for the purpose of diversifying funding. It will also explain how those activities contribute to the overall operating health and sustainability of nonprofit investigative news organizations.

This work should be iterative; consider it a 1.0 release. As the movement continues to mature, these basic frameworks and assumptions will continue to evolve and best practices, solid performance measures, and realistic operating assumptions will codify.

We hope that this research will have broader interest outside INN and the foundations that support it, including members of the public and the growing diaspora of journalists leaving established news organizations that may be contemplating starting their own independent nonprofit news organizations.

What Will You Find?

  • The Landscape: An overview of market conditions that catapulted the nonprofit investigative news movement into existence. Many of these trends suggest a great deal of opportunity for nimble investigative journalism shops; however, the challenges of building economies of scale and managing multiple, fragile distribution channels and funding sources remain persistent.
  • Planning a Nonprofit News Organization: What are your mission, strategy and organizational archetypes? What kinds of journalism will you do and what impact do you want to have? How does your mission shape your product, distribution, and organizational and operating strategies (products, people and technology)? What will it take? Is it feasible?
  • Engaging Your Audience/Community: What is your target audience? Where will you reach it and how will you prove your impact? This paper will take a deep dive for INN membership on the fundamental questions regarding:
    • Audience Development: How should INN members go about conceiving and developing their own audience or strategy for having a site based on traffic vs. impact, etc.?
    • Distribution: How should INN members think about distribution? What does a partnership look like, and how should you negotiate one? How can you be compensated? Who are the best partners based on your goals?
  • Paths to Sustainability: What does success look like? How does your organization stay nimble and entrepreneurial, while at the same time maturing its operations? How will you grow earned revenues, chart a course to sustainability, and lessen your dependence on philanthropic support over time?
  • Conclusions: What does the future hold for nonprofit investigative journalism? We offer some suggestions and thoughts on the road ahead.
  • Appendix, Bibliography, Figures and Resources: Background material on this report, interviews, reference materials and the authors.”

Source: Investigative News Network

Publisher point-of-view: What’s your revenue story?

February 14, 2012 in Blog, Distribution, Revenue, Technology

Journalism Accelerator

We kicked off this year talking with a group of people with different experiences in news and publishing about what they anticipate in 2012. Since then, we’ve been asking more publishers, business pros and startups about their expectations and hopes for the year.

The JA online forum coming February 28th and 29th is designed for local news publishers and businesspeople to share their experiences and experiments creating revenue.

Cash Machine -- Upcoming Business Forum

Money and publishing: What different keys are you pressing to bring in revenue? Photo by Sean McMenemy on Flickr.

Some publishers – both new and legacy – have established multiple revenue streams and are now working to amp up the return. Some are successful in one revenue area but finding others – ads, events, community donations or something else – tough nuts to crack. Some are considering, or have taken, a hiatus as they evaluate how they might publish content to serve their targeted market AND thrive financially.

The forum February 28th and 29th features publishers with different experiences and intentions, but common business interests. More publishers, businesspeople, social media specialists and others with relevant tips or ideas are invited to share their perspective, offer and vet questions. On forum days, the real time conversation takes place over a 90 minute window. You can stop by to read the comment thread or add to the discussion anytime. It’s a chance to broaden your network, spark connections and trade ideas. Read the rest of this entry →

Ten Nonprofit Funding Models

November 23, 2011 in Community, Education, Resources, Revenue, Technology

Money is a constant topic of conversation among nonprofit leaders: How much do we need? Where can we find it? Why isn’t there more of it? In tough economic times, these types of questions become more frequent and pressing. Unfortunately, the answers are not readily available. That’s because nonprofit leaders are much more sophisticated about creating programs than they are about funding their organizations, and philanthropists often struggle to understand the impact (and limitations) of their donations.

There are consequences to this financial fuzziness. When nonprofits and funding sources are not well matched, money doesn’t flow to the areas where it will do the greatest good. Too often, the result is that promising programs are cut, curtailed, or never launched. And when dollars become tight, a chaotic fundraising scramble is all the more likely to ensue.

In the for-profit world, by contrast, there is a much higher degree of clarity on financial issues. This is particularly true when it comes to understanding how different businesses operate, which can be encapsulated in a set of principles known as business models. Although there is no definitive list of corporate business models, there is enough agreement about what they mean that investors and executives alike can engage in sophisticated conversations about any given company’s strategy…

The nonprofit world rarely engages in equally clear and succinct conversations about an organization’s long- term funding strategy. That is because the different types of funding that fuel nonprofits have never been clearly defined. More than a poverty of language, this represents—and results in—a poverty of understanding and clear thinking.

Through our research, we have identified 10 nonprofit models that are commonly used by the largest nonprofits in the United States. (See “Funding Models” on page 37.) Our intent is not to prescribe a single approach for a given nonprofit to pursue. Instead, we hope to help nonprofit leaders articulate more clearly the models that they believe could support the growth of their organizations, and use that insight to examine the potential and constraints associated with those models.” Source: Ten Nonprofit Funding Models

The Media Consortium

October 6, 2011 in Community, Craft, Resources

The Media Consortium is a network of the country’s leading independent journalism organizations. We support smart, powerful and passionate journalism that redefines American political and cultural debate. The Media Consortium is creating a solid cooperative infrastructure that will serve a 21st-century audience and offer a sustainable future for independent media. Millions of Americans are looking for honest, fair, and accurate journalism-We’re finding new ways to reach them. Our strategy has three focal points: Making Connections, Building Infrastructure, and Amplifying Our Voice.

Making Connections
Through meetings and collaboratively built projects, The Media Consortium enables our members to build relationships, strategize, and constructively work together to reinvent the independent media sphere.

Building Infrastructure
We’re analyzing who reads, watches and listens to our members’ work so that we can reach millions more Americans looking for honest journalism. We’re making joint investments in training, technology-sharing, advertising, promotions and learning how to communicate effectively with one another.

Amplifying Our Voice
It’s time to do together what we can not do alone. The Media Consortium seeks to fulfill the role of media in a democracy. We’re strengthening a vibrant, fact-based community of independent journalism producers that educate, inform and engage citizens to create the world to which we all aspire.” SourceThe Media Consortium

The Knight Foundation Shares What They’re Learning

September 16, 2011 in Education, Experiments, Resources, Revenue

“The Knight Foundation uses assessment as a tool for planning, learning and improvement.

In partnership with our grantees, we work to support media innovation, community engagement and the arts. Evaluating our efforts in these areas provides us with the opportunity to learn collectively about what’s working most effectively. The purpose of our assessment activities is to provide timely and actionable insights that help our grantees strengthen the implementation of their projects and help our program teams design and execute their strategies.
We strive to create a culture of shared learning that increases our grantees’ impact and advances the foundation’s mission by supporting ongoing improvement and adaptation.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Certain core principles guide our approach to assessment:

  • Assessment should provide actionable information tied to key decision making and planning efforts.
  • Assessment should be as participatory and collaborative as possible, so that grantees have ownership over the process and the findings.
  • Assessment should be integrated into all aspects of our work, rather than treated as something that only happens when a project ends.
  • Assessment should be shared publicly with the field to communicate what we and our grantees are learning, so that all can benefit.” Source: The Knight Foundation