Watershed Voice raised $30K during its 2023 NewsMatch campaign thanks to you

With support from community members like you, Watershed Voice raised $30,000 through NewsMatch in 2023, joining 340 other INN Network newsrooms in a collaborative fundraising campaign to support nonprofit news.

With over $15,000 raised locally, and a $15,000 match from the NewsMatch program, Watershed Voice was able to take a major step toward sustainability, as we strive to continue providing St. Joseph, Cass, and Kalamazoo counties with daily news coverage reported through a solutions lens.

We thank you for donating during that campaign, and ask you to consider contributing regularly, as this work is expensive even on a shoestring budget.

A staff of three, the bare minimum in terms of capacity that we need to properly do this work, including myself (full-time), our office manager Steph Hightree (part-time), and a staff writer (a full-time position we’re currently hiring for) costs $88,400 annually, or $7,366.66 on average per month. Factoring in the cost of website upkeep, data storage, our freelance budget, and other bills, this nonprofit needs north of $100,000 annually to operate at the level you’ve become accustomed to. 

So if you value our work and wish to see this organization achieve sustainability, and eventually growth, please consider becoming a monthly donor today.

Alek Haak-Frost
Executive Editor & Publisher
Watershed Voice

NewsMatch 2023 highlights

For the second consecutive year, local match funding secured by nonprofit news organizations surpassed matching support provided through the national NewsMatch program.

Each year as part of NewsMatch, nonprofit newsrooms secure individual donations from Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, and a coalition of national and regional funders — 17 in 2023 — partially matches those gifts. Data from NewsMatch 2023, the most recent campaign, indicates that participating news organizations saw strong performance among individual donors as well as local matches, raising more than $47 million in gifts large and small during the last two months of the year. This represents an increase of more than 24% compared to 2022 and the highest amount in program history. The number of unique donors and new donors both increased over 2022.

The increase coincides with an ongoing period of public distrust in news media, the spread of misinformation, and a need for reliable news, particularly in a presidential election year. 

Since 2017, nonprofit news organizations participating in NewsMatch have leveraged $31 million in funding from the campaign to help them generate more than $299 million in support from their communities. Of the total program budget for NewsMatch, 86% was invested directly into newsrooms via unrestricted matching funds.

“NewsMatch is a conversation between newsrooms and their communities,” said Karen Rundlet, executive director and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News, which manages the program to benefit its network of more than 425 independent, nonprofit news organizations. “While the Press Forward initiative is a funder-to-funder conversation to activate investment in local news, NewsMatch is about members of the INN Network sharing the value of their work directly with their communities. News providers are explaining how they contribute to a healthier society and a healthier democracy.”

NewsMatch is a program that facilitates news outlets’ fundraising capacity. In addition to incentive funding, INN and its learning partner News Revenue Hub provide training to ensure participants learn how to effectively fundraise. In 2023, more than 300 newsrooms were served by webinars about executing a campaign and digital fundraising best practices. INN also conducted more than 110 individual and small group coaching sessions on fundraising strategy, securing local matches and using digital tools and platforms. 

The combination of training and funding is particularly helpful for smaller news organizations that may not have fundraising staff. 

“NewsMatch is a huge asset for startup newsrooms and outlets in small markets, which generally have a harder time accessing major philanthropy,” said Corrine Colbert, who co-founded Athens County Independent to serve her community in Georgia.

Peter Cameron, managing editor at The Badger Project in Wisconsin, credits NewsMatch with enabling their reporters to “cover and expose things no other news org is because so few news organizations exist across wide swaths of Wisconsin.”

“Thanks in large part to the funding we receive from NewsMatch,” Cameron said, “we are able to investigate and write stories on law enforcement officers with arrests on their records, or those who have been fired or forced out from previous jobs in law enforcement. We are also able to do aggressive work on campaign finance in rural areas of Wisconsin, showing the folks in these regions how millionaires and outside groups are trying to influence their elections.”

To participate in NewsMatch, organizations have to be INN members. INN vets its members according to rigorous standards for editorial independence, journalism quality and financial transparency. INN’s surveys of the membership have shown that these outlets, in addition to being mission-driven, emphasize diversity and inclusion: Their staff is more diverse than the media industry overall, and their coverage is increasingly serving communities of color.

For more background on NewsMatch, including a recent briefing on how the program works, visit the Press Room

To find and donate to a newsroom covering a particular geographic area or topic of interest, visit findyournews.org/newsmatch.

About NewsMatch

NewsMatch is a collaborative fundraising campaign and program designed to increase community support for public service reporting. The program centers on a fundraising model that leverages the power of matching gifts to inspire donations to nonprofit newsrooms from local community members and funders around the country. All participating newsrooms are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) Network.

NewsMatch 2023 was made possible by generous donors to the Fund for Nonprofit News including Democracy Fund, Heising-Simons Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation, Independence Public Media Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kaphan Foundation, Loud Hound, Maida Lynn, Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable, Vere Initiatives, Walton Family Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation, along with supporting partners across the U.S.

NewsMatch is a fiscally sponsored project of The Miami Foundation. Training and resources to help newsrooms expand their individual fundraising during NewsMatch and beyond are provided by INN and its partner News Revenue Hub.