Dear LION Publishers members,
We want to let you know about changes to our membership tiers, dues and criteria that were recently approved by the LION Board of Directors. We’ve taken member feedback into account in crafting these changes, and hope you’ll find them beneficial, both in terms of more customized benefits and equitable dues.
As LION has rapidly changed over the past year, we’ve encountered some growing pains in how we manage new member applications and renewals, and in ensuring our membership tiers and benefits meet the needs of today’s news entrepreneurs. Our ultimate goals are to better serve our members through more substantial benefits and help LION become sustainable through its membership fees. So we are making a few changes to help us reach those goals: We are adjusting our membership tiers, pricing, membership renewal date and membership criteria. These changes will ultimately allow us to more effectively serve our members and welcome more new LIONs into our community!
Adjusting our membership tiers
We will have only two membership tiers moving forward: our existing Member Organization tier, and a new Aspiring Entrepreneurs for individuals who want to launch a publication or who have begun work on a publication that is in beta and/or has not built a substantial audience. Aspiring Entrepreneurs can apply for the Member Organization tier when their membership expires after one year.
We are ending the Associate Member and Honorary Member tiers, which were not utilized much. Those members will remain in LION, with their current membership ending in January 2021.
Changing our membership pricing
We are formally opening up anyone in a LION member organization to take advantage of our benefits. Because of this, we are adjusting dues based on the number of your publication’s full-time employees. We hope this change ensures more equity across our larger and smaller member organizations.
The vast majority of LION members won’t be affected by this change. If you run multiple publications that serve different audiences, you must apply for the membership tier based on the total number of employees across your network:
- Small (Five or fewer full time employees): $150/year
- Medium (Six-20 full time employees): $200/year
- Large (21+ full time employees): $250/year
For the new Aspiring Entrepreneur tier, the yearly due will be $50. Learn more and apply here.
That being said, we also want to announce a new campaign: LION Membership for All. It’s been a difficult year, and the last thing we want to do is take away resources, opportunities and a community of support when you need it most.
Earlier this year, LION had implemented dues forgiveness through the end of May for members who had renewal dates coming up. Now we are extending that through the end of the year for organizations who need it most. We ask that existing members let us know here.
Changing our renewal date
With all of these changes, we will be shifting to one standard annual renewal date for all members: Annual dues for 2021 will be due in January. New members who join after January, will receive a prorated membership for the year. We hope this helps members more easily know the status of their membership at any given time.
Updating our membership criteria
We’re on track to grow our membership by 40 percent this year, which is amazing! Given this growth and how quickly the independent media industry is evolving, we want to widen our pool of potential members while ensuring all LIONs meet the same standards. The LION board and staff have agreed on new membership criteria that formalizes these changes, which you can read here.
Beginning today, we’ll be using this criteria to evaluate new member approvals. We will work with our current members between now and January to make sure everyone meets this criteria so when all existing memberships expire, all members will be equipped to share with us updated information about their publication.
As always, we’re happy to answer questions and work with you on all of the items listed above.
— Chris, Anika, Phayvanh and Kelsey
What our independent news experts learned from auditing 75 news businesses
Takeaways from the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding program
How to measure and market your impact ft. Angie Cirone and Anjanette Delgado
A LION conversation about telling your newsroom’s story, hosted by Outlier Media executive director Candice Fortman.
3 fundraising myths that could be holding your news business back
How measuring and marketing your impact can help you make the most of fundraising season, even as a for–profit publisher.