Revenue Models and Revenue Generation

Nonprofit sites that distribute news directly to consumers are most likely to rely on reader revenue, which can come from individual donors, membership and subscriptions. Reporting services that distribute more through other publications or broadcasters that already have built an audience may rely more on syndication fees and training and professional services. Both types of nonprofit news organizations also may get revenue from foundations and grants, events, major gifts and advertising and sponsorships.

The INN Index, based on periodic surveys of participating news organizations and data from the full INN membership, found a  growing majority have more than two revenue streams. In the 2020 Index, total revenue came 48% from foundations, down from 57% two years earlier. Individual giving, including memberships, was the second-largest revenue source at 35%. Earned revenue made up 11%. Local and state organizations receive significantly more individual donations, while regional, national and global organizations tend to get more foundation funding.

We introduced the eight revenue models in our Startup Guide, along with an overview:
How Will You Earn Revenue. Another overview is in an hourlong video, INN Town Hall (February 2019).

INN members have access to the News Giving Roadmap, which provides tools, training and resources to help them advance from wherever they are on the fundraising spectrum to the next level.