💰 How to land corporate sponsorships


Is there a bigger mystery for publishers than the inner workings of corporate marketing and philanthropy departments? 

Compared to small-dollar advertisers, the biggest fish are much less likely to simply buy an ad package to promote a product or service. 

No, they want brand lift (if you’re talking to the marketing team) or social impact and press coverage (if you’re talking to corporate social responsibility) or a really fun night out on your tab (if we’re being real about the relational nature of so much corporate deal-making). 

But as difficult as these clients can be to acquire, it’s no great mystery why publishers choose to pursue them: They have deep pockets, and compared to nonprofit foundations, they have very few restrictions on how they can spend their money. 

So how can your news business break into the world of corporate giving? 

Learn what’s working for LION members Block Club Chicago, The Texas Tribune, and VTDigger at this three-part workshop series hosted by The Lenfest Institute

The first session (happening today at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST) will cover the basics of corporate support and how to think about building and growing a corporate revenue strategy.

Corporate Giving Workshops – The Lenfest Institute
The News Philanthropy Network organized a three-part series of workshops covering the essentials of corporate fundraising.
Corporate Giving Workshops – The Lenfest Institute
The News Philanthropy Network organized a three-part series of workshops covering the essentials of corporate fundraising.

Now here are 10 other resources and opportunities for independent news publishers:

1. Learn how to partner with a local college or university at one of ten training and organization sessions around the U.S. (March 17-August 6)

2. Apply for one of these awards, grants or fellowships with upcoming deadlines:

  • Muckrock is awarding grants of up to $50,000 to support projects that help analyze, preserve and grant access to key documents. (Deadline: March 17)
  • The Center for Cooperative Media is awarding pilot grants up to $15,000 to accelerate cross-field collaborations in civic science journalism in the United States. (Deadline: March 17)
  • The Maynard 200 Fellowship is a tuition-free professional development program for leaders, storytellers, frontline editors/managers, and media entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds. (Deadline: March 31)
  • The McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism provides experienced journalists with grants up to $15,000 and the editorial support needed to produce deeply reported enterprise and investigative business stories. (Deadline: March 31)

3. Make better sense of your newsletter metrics. ONA is hosting an idea swap for newsletter professionals about metrics and tracking success. (March 29)

4. Find a career opportunity with LION member LAist or another public media outlet at the Public Media Virtual Career Fair. (March 29)

5. Make your work more efficient at this SCORE workshop on how to use Google Workspace tools as a small business. (April 4)

6. Prepare to apply for a small business loan at this one-hour workshop with a small business expert. (April 13)

7. Take advantage of the Employee Retention Tax Credit. Rebuild Local News wrote a detailed explainer on how to claim a tax credit that could be worth $10,000 or more if your organization lost revenue during the pandemic. 

8. Borrow this trust-building idea. A strong “About Us” page can help establish credibility and build trust (if it’s up-to-date and easy to find). Here’s a Trusting News checklist of what should go on your page. 

9. Refine your digital reporting skills with a series of self-guided courses that can teach you how to search social media archives, use mapping tools, trace online photos and videos, and more. 

10. Get support implementing Google Analytics 4. The Google News Initiative is offering monthly webinars and individual office hours to help publishers migrate to GA4. 

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Fun with finance

We’re honoring the start of tax season with a focus on finance here in the LION newsletter, and we’ve pulled together a number of helpful resources for LION members and other publishers:

Not a LION member yet? You can learn more and apply here.


What we’re reading

Race to the bottom. How Gannett is slashing costs and shrinking its local news coverage across the country. (Nieman Lab)

Team effort. How local and national funders are teaming up to support ambitious local news startups. (Digiday)

Math problem. Why counting bylines is an important step to building a more diverse and inclusive news operation. (Columbia Journalism Review)

App for that. How WhatsApp could soon become an intriguing option for newsletter publishers. (TechCrunch)

Smart collaboration. How nonprofit newsrooms can partner with local newspapers to grow their reach and impact. (Better News)


LIONs in the news

The Solutions Journalism Network, Hearken, and Trusting News announced their 2023 Advancing Democracy Fellowship cohort this week, and seven LION members made the list! 

Congratulations to Bay City News Foundation, Conecta Arizona, Dallas Free Press, Fort Worth Report, Outlier Media, Planet Detroit, and The Current

These newsrooms will receive training, coaching, peer support and a stipend to help them “transform their coverage of elections and democracy through solutions-focused reporting and engagement methods that build trust and avoid polarization.”

How journalists in Hawaii are covering (and coping with) the Maui wildfires – Poynter
‘We’re going to be here for the long haul, so we have a huge task in front of us.’ Journalists in Hawaii spoke with Poynter about covering the Maui wildfires.
How journalists in Hawaii are covering (and coping with) the Maui wildfires – Poynter
‘We’re going to be here for the long haul, so we have a huge task in front of us.’ Journalists in Hawaii spoke with Poynter about covering the Maui wildfires.

In other LION member news…


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