INN Index 2019: The State of Nonprofit News

INN Index 2019: The State of Nonprofit News

In 2018 nonprofit news organizations received 43 percent of total revenue from foundation funding, 39 percent from individual donations, and 12 percent from earned revenue, a report from the Institute of Nonprofit News finds. Based on data from more than a hundred of INN's member organizations, the report, INN Index 2019: The State of Nonprofit News (20 pages, PDF), found that the share of inidividual giving grew significantly — driven by an increase in large gifts of at least $5,000 — while foundation funding fell below 50 percent for the first time since 2011, when a Pew Research Center report estimated that foundation grants and individual donations accounted for 63 percent and 23 percent of total revenue, respectively. According to the report, heightened public awareness of the need to support independent news outlets, combined with the organizations' stepped-up efforts to engage with their communities and readers — including through INN's annual NewsMatch campaign — helped boost revenue, with two-thirds of nonprofit news outlets reporting an increase in revenue from 2017. The report's authors note, however, that nonprofit news publishers still are investing minimally in revenue development, at a time when the disruption of business models requires innovation. The report also found that many nonprofit outlets are serving to fill gaps in the journalism ecosystem, with four in five providing investigative (42 percent) and/or deep explanatory (39 percent) reporting and three in five focused on in-depth coverage of a single topic or a number of related topics. As of 2018 news sites that focus on a single topic such as education or the environment were far more likely to rely on foundations for funding (70 percent of total revenue, compared with an average of 40 percent or less for those that cover general news or focus on a cluster of related topics, while those that cover a few related topics such as government and politics were more likely to generate earned revenue such as advertising, sponsorships, and events (24 percent, compared with 9 percent for single-topic sites and 4 percent for general news outlets).

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