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Mobilizing your board with matching funds, even during a pandemic

Under uncertainty, inewsource launched a three-day fundraising campaign with a match from their board and pulled in more than $45,000. The results confirmed reader and board support for the team's quality journalism and helped the organization diversify revenue streams during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have assumptions to test about reader revenue, individual philanthropic support, and quick campaigns? Steal this idea: set up a short effort with a match from key high-power stakeholders. San Diego-based inewsource diversified its revenue streams and activated its board with a three-day-sprint matching campaign.

The effort was initially designed to test audiences’ willingness to financially support news in uncertain economic times. The board development committee layered in an $18,000 match as an added enticement for readers to give.

One of the underlying motivators was the organization’s consolidated revenue mix. “[T]he bulk of inewsource’s revenue comes from philanthropic support — both from foundations and individuals — and Lorie Hearn, the site’s executive director and founder, was worried about the impact of the pandemic on the inewsource’s fundraising prospects. ”

Audience donations exceeded the total match, and inewsource raised $1.1 million by the conclusion of its fiscal year.

There’s plenty of tactical details to adapt. The Solution Set case includes links to the 5 emails the organization sent, the underlying dynamics of turning your board into ambassadors, and the mechanics of a sprint-style fundraise.