Finding Funding during difficult economic times is important topic for scholastic journalism organizations

Sandy Woodcock, Newspaper Association of America Foundation (NAAF), discussed how NAAF is dealing with two major factors — big drop in the NAAF income due to the drop in the stock market in 2007 and the financial problems for the newspaper industry (causing media organizations to drop their NAA membership and to drop Newspaper in Education programs).

Blogging about the “Finding Funding” panel of George Daniels, Diana Hadley and Sandy Woodcock. (Photo by Judy Robinson)

  1. Set priorities and sharpen your focus — Your organization may not be able to do everything. Decide what your priorities are and how your activities match with those priorities.
  2. Look for cost effective alternatives — For research projects and other publications, these materials are posted online as a PDF rather than being published and perhaps reprinted. For example, with the high school journalism research, one press run was made and the document is now available online as a PDF.
  3. Partnerships — Two-hour module with NewsU. More users in two months than copies distributed in eight years. Online module Media Literacy — High Five. Lesson tied to curriculum standards. Many include technology Money around for civic engagement projects.
  4. Transparency — Let members know about finances and decisions. Members may push back — and that can lead to helping members understand why decisions are made or helping members make changes. If this is an important program to you (as members), why aren’t more people participating?
  5. Value proposition — Keeping in mind as making offerings. Sandy cited IHSPA’s First Amendment program that lets participants to go to the Indiana Statehouse and doesn’t have a charge. How can you bundle materials/events to provide added value?

Diana Hadley, executive director of the Indiana High School Press Association, explained that the foundation that supports IHSPA dropped in value by half in the stock market drop. This has caused the organization to have to rethink its finances and activities. Her advice:

  1. Make it personal — This is true for e-mail. Sometimes e-mail blasts don’t work because schools have installed a new firewall that has blocked the e-mail blast.
  2. Make it specific — Because IHSPA has a foundation, people can think that IHSPA doesn’t need additional money.
  3. Make people feel appreciated but not compensated — IHSPA provides meals and mileage but doesn’t pay people for their services.
  4. Develop partnership with other organizations — Diane was contacted by the Society Professional Journalists about their essay contest. She realized that the theme for the SPJ contest paralleled the IHSPA essay contest. So they have been able to use both logos and use SPJ funding to add to the IHSPA program.
  5. Create a recession budget — Is this something you want or something you need? Put a lot of the publicity online, for example.
  6. Be creative as you plan new initiatives — IHSPA’s new First Amendment program has worked so well in part because it is held at the Indiana Statehouse  — which gives students the opportunity to visit the Statehouse and there is no charge for the project.

Diana recommended Recessional Tool Kit available online and  Trusteeship Magazine, a magazine for college trustees.

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