09 April 2009

Micro-Fund Trial Gets $3K In First Month

More than $3,000 (£2,025) has been raised in the first month of a “community-funding” project by news site MinnPost.

The non-profit news provider is conducting a micro-sponsorship experiment to see how many visitors to its most popular blog will make a small donation to fund it.

So far, David Brauer’s BrauBlog has attracted one-off payments of $10 and $25 from over 150 people.

The total (up to $10,000 within 3 months) will be matched by the Harnisch Foundation, which means over ($6,000) has been raised at present.

According to the Nieman Journalism Lab, the site’s micro-sponsorship donations “won’t bowl anyone over, but they could point toward a long-term fundraising model for non-profit news organisations that generally depend on large grants from foundations”.

In a blog post launching the project, MinnPost editor Joel Kramer explained the experimental nature of his latest venture.

“One of the ideas floating around for financing journalism is ‘community-funding’ - getting lots of people to donate small amounts to support a writer, a beat, or a specific story project they are interested in.

“So we’ve decided to try this concept out with BrauBlog, since it’s our most popular feature on MinnPost, other than the home page itself.

“This is an experiment. If it works, we’ll brag about it all over the country, and pay some of our bills, too.”

Kramer also said that the micro-sponsorship model would be expanded to one of the MinnPost beat blogs if this trial proves successful.

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