Resources for Business Planning & Sustainability

This post provides different resources to help you expand on your existing efforts, how to sustain your operations, and ways you can continue to reach out to the community.

Vision and Strategic Planning for Business and Marketing
With our worldwide fame as a startup, I’ve been asked nothing more often than whether or not we were sustainable. For a while this question frustrated me. Did they expect me to say “no?” It wasn’t surprising that most of these type of questions came from academics. It seemed as though sustainability to them was guarantees, like professor tenure, that our employees would have jobs well into the future. When I asked them what sustainable was, they couldn’t answer.

The New Media Makers Toolkit and the Database
This online module by the Knight Citizen News Network is a resource for anyone seeking information on funding. The module provides information on the best practices of several community news organizations that secured grants from foundations and how they did it.

New Voices: What Works (PDF)
This report written by Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, provides insight on how the J-Lab funded a variety of community news initiatives over five years. It provides many helpful tips and advice for any startup or existing nonprofit journalism organization on how to obtain and sustain their funding.

Seeking Sustainability: A nonprofit news roundtable (PDF)
Why nonprofits? By now it is relatively common knowledge that America’s news industry is undergoing profound and frequently tumultuous change. Every news organization is affected by the development of the Internet and the resulting changes in revenue streams, audience habits and community needs. Traditional media companies have been particularly distressed by shifts in the markets—and the conversation about how to “save” journalism has been largely focused on their concerns.

WBUR Public Radio Model Q&A
The Q&A provided a brief overview of how a successful member NPR station sustains its membership and develops its audience, including a brief overview of the following aspects of WBUR’s business model: allocation of resources, cost of revenue, expenses, membership rates and renewals, and how to make large fundraising events profitable.

Donor and Member Management (PDF)
An overview on managing and engaging organization members by Summer Polacek, Member and User Manager for

Knight Digital Media Center’s Multimedia and Technology Training Section
The Center’s website offers a variety of tools, tutorials, workshops, and resources for journalists seeking to learn or improve their multimedia techniques in news reporting and storytelling.

National Freedom of Information Coalition
The National Freedom of Information Coalition serves to help protect the public’s right to open government. A nonpartisan alliance of citizen-driven nonprofit freedom of information organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys. The site contains helpful information on Freedom of Information (FOI) that can be helpful for a nonprofit news organization.