LION is introducing a new revenue tier for its membership program — the Micro Tier, which is for current news publishers and aspiring news entrepreneurs earning less than $50,000 in annual revenue for their news business.
About one-third of LION’s members fall into this category, according to member-reported data. During the 2022 LION Local Journalism Awards program, LION experimented with adding a Micro Tier to specifically acknowledge this group of news publishers whose work can often go overlooked when being compared to news organizations earning revenue that can be up to ten times greater. The successful celebration of Micro Tier members who won validated our decision to formally establish a revenue tier that is at a lower membership cost for those who are the most resource-strapped.
Our updated tiers and pricing will be as follows:
- Micro Tier for news publishers earning less than $50,000 in annual revenue (Membership dues: $140/year)
- Small Tier for news publishers earning between $50,000 and $500,000 in annual revenue (Membership dues: $210/year)
- Medium Tier for news publishers earning between $500,000 and $1,100,000 in annual revenue (Membership dues: $280/year)
- Large Tier for news publishers earning more than $1,100,000 in annual revenue (Membership dues: $550/year)
We’ll continue to grant dues forgiveness upon request for members who report earning less than $4,200 in annual revenue in the annual membership application.
With the introduction of the Micro Tier, which will be open to aspiring news entrepreneurs who are developing a concept for a business, LION will be discontinuing the Aspiring Entrepreneur membership tier.
Below are Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to [email protected].
What will happen to current Aspiring Entrepreneur members?
As of December 6, 2022, all Aspiring Entrepreneur members have been converted to Micro Tier members in Memberful for the remainder of their annual membership period. Leading up to their renewal date, Micro Tier members — like all LION members — must complete the annual membership application. Annual membership dues are based on members’ reported annual revenue:
- Less than $50,000 in annual revenue: Micro Tier ($140 per year)
- Between $50,000 and $500,000 in annual revenue: Small Tier ($210 per year)
- Between $500,000 and $1,100,000 in annual revenue: Medium Tier ($280 per year)
- More than $1,100,000 in annual revenue: Large Tier ($550 per year)
What will happen to current Small Tier members that reported earning less than $50,000 in annual revenue and now qualify as Micro Tier members?
If a Small Tier member earning less than $50,000 in annual revenue renewed their membership at the Small Tier price ($210/year) between October 1, 2022 and December 6, 2022, they will receive a $70 refund through Memberful.
My organization is a LION member. How can I check my membership status?
Current LION member organizations are listed on our website. Members can check their membership tier and renewal date by logging into their Memberful account. If you have any questions about accessing your Memberful account, please email [email protected].
Why is LION discontinuing the Aspiring Entrepreneur tier and raising the cost of annual membership for Aspiring Entrepreneur members?
LION is increasing the price of its lowest-cost membership tier for new members that have not yet launched a news business from $70 to $140. And we are lowering the cost of annual membership for renewing Aspiring Entrepreneur members.
The Aspiring Entrepreneur Tier was meant to be a time-limited, one-year LION membership offered at a deep discount under the assumption that it would only take news entrepreneurs up to one year before they would meet our criteria as a membership organization. We have learned, however, that the age of a publication does not always correlate with a member’s stage of sustainability, or annual revenue, because news businesses grow at very different rates.
Prior to the addition of the Micro Tier ($140/year), Aspiring Entrepreneur members were expected to renew their annual membership at the Small Tier rate ($210/year). If an Aspiring Entrepreneur member could not meet LION’s membership organization criteria after one year, their membership would lapse.
Rather than keep Aspiring Entrepreneurs on a tight one-year timeline to progress their news business or lose access to their membership benefits, we are going to use the same revenue-based system for determining membership dues while also adding membership application questions that will more accurately capture data related to our members’ progress toward sustainability.
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