INN Selects Eight Newsrooms To Receive Google News Initiative-Funded Sponsorship Training

Today, INN announces eight newsrooms selected for the first-ever cohort for the Ignite Sponsorship, a pilot program funded by Google News Initiative that will enable well-established nonprofit newsrooms to increase their earned revenue from sponsorships.

Currently, income from sponsorship of content or events makes up a small portion of revenue at most news nonprofits — in INN’s 2019 Index, revenue from earned sources made up on average 12% of the 108 reporting organizations’ total revenue. INN sees sponsorship as a significant revenue growth area for our members.

“I’m really excited about the potential for members to build their organizational capacity to grow earned revenue and further reduce their reliance on foundation support, said Fran Scarlett, INN’s Chief Knowledge Officer.

At the end of the program, INN expects cohort members, with the tools, training and coaching provided, to be able to increase their earned revenue by a minimum of 15% with a target of 30% growth by June 2022.

During the selection process, judges specifically looked for outlets with at least five percent of total revenue from advertising, sponsorship and events and at least one full-time staff member dedicated to generating earned revenue, plus clear organizational capacity for earned revenue growth. Additionally, geographic representation and type of content covered and audiences served, with a particular commitment to including organizations that serve BIPOC communities were important in selecting the cohort.

As part of the Ignite program, INN also published two case studies funded by Google News Initiative on INN outlets doing outstanding work in earned revenue: Madison365 and The San Antonio Report. Additionally, the entire INN network of 300 nonprofit news organizations will gain access to a customized playbook from Blue Engine Collaborative with best practices on attracting advertising, event and sponsorship revenue as well as guidance for creating the internal structures for growing this revenue into a sustainable, cost-effective income source.

The outlets selected for the first cohort of the Ignite Sponsorship program:

Block Club Chicago is an online newspaper that reports local and neighborhood news in Chicago.

Cityside is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that runs Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside, news organizations committed to building community through local journalism.

The CT Mirror is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization created in 2009 to reinvigorate coverage of state government, public policy and politics.

Current is the newspaper and website about public and nonprofit media in the U.S.

Futuro Media is an independent nonprofit organization committed to producing ethical journalism from a POC perspective and representing the new American mainstream.

Grist an independent, irreverent news outlet and network of innovators working toward a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.

Salt Lake Tribune is Utah’s independent voice that strives to tell stories that are interesting, important and inclusive.

VTDigger is a statewide news website dedicated to coverage of Vermont politics, consumer affairs, business and public policy.