Never let a crisis go to waste: What local news organizations learned from fundraising during the coronavirus pandemic.

This session will share key takeaways from publishers who successfully crafted fundraising campaigns that emphasized the necessity of public-service journalism while their newsrooms were serving their communities with critical news and information at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis brought unprecedented audiences to local newsrooms as communities sought to understand how the pandemic would affect them. But for many news organizations, those audience gains did not translate to new revenue as they removed their paywalls and advertising revenue continued to sink. However, a number of publishers were able to make the most of the moment by launching campaigns for philanthropic support that enabled readers who found the information valuable to support their local publications.

Annie McCain Madonia, of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer; Fraser Nelson of the Salt Lake Tribune; Terry Quinn of The Texas Tribune, and Kristi Waite of The Seattle Times will provide detailed case studies of the strategies each of their organizations used to solicit support. These strategies and techniques work for both for-profit and nonprofit newsrooms. They’ll detail how they collaborated with the newsrooms, added donation functionality to their websites, created effective email marketing campaigns, and more. Though the coronavirus has been a once-in-a-generation occurrence, publishers will be able to replicate these strategies to capitalize on moments that highlight the value and utility of unparalleled journalism.

Suggested Speaker(s)

  • Kristi Waite
    Director of Development for Public Service Journalism, The Seattle Times
  • Annie McCain Madonia
    Chief Advancement Officer, Lenfest Institute