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A December Campaign Strategy from ProPublica

End-of-year fundraising campaigns with foundation matches are both an art and a science, as an examination of ProPublica's strategy reveals. Email, direct asks, and a campaign mindset helped the organization bring in more than one-third of its small dollar revenue during its December campaign.

“Asking for money is hard. It can be uncomfortable. But in order to succeed you can’t be afraid of asking your readers to support your work — and then asking again, and again.”

Email list building is key to reaching out to potential donors in an ongoing campaign, said Jill Shepherd, the architect of ProPublica’s two-prong emotional-rational approach to Joseph Lichterman, curator of The Lenfest Institute’s Solution Set.

Given that more than one-third of ProPublica’s total low-dollar revenue for 2017 came from this campaign, Shepherd knows how to orchestrate campaigns that capitalize on the season of charity, email analytics, and good swag to net reader revenue. Part of the examination of the ProPublica strategy focuses on securing foundation partners for matching dollars, such as NewsMatch. She also highlights trends toward longer campaigns, larger year-end donations, and the necessity of diversifying revenue for non-profit news organizations.

This resource layers in bonus a timeline-style campaign to-do list, slides from Shepherd’s INN talk and plenty of charts and graphs.