The Lenfest Institute for Journalism today announced the launch of the Lenfest News Philanthropy Network, a community of practice designed to support and build capacity for fundraising and development professionals in journalism. 

Participation in the Network is free, and open to publishers of all sizes and business models — nonprofit, for profit, legacy, start up, digital, broadcast and print — with a singular and deep focus on supporting and fostering a cohesive, collaborative, and growing cohort of development professionals who are serving a vital need for news organizations by creating contributed revenue streams. 

Since its soft launch in 2019, about 200 fundraising professionals, journalists, and executives have joined the Network to share key lessons and improve their skills through convenings and webinars focused on areas such as racial equity in fundraising, grant writing for for-profit newsrooms, and COVID-19-related fundraising strategies. 

The Lenfest News Philanthropy Network is now opening applications for its inaugural Training Courses, a series of in-depth training seminars for small cohorts of professionals. Initial Training Courses will focus on grant writing for news organizations, major donor development, and membership in news enterprises. Each course will be led by experienced fundraising professionals. The courses are free and anyone is invited to apply.

The Network is also unveiling its fall programming for monthly virtual gatherings for Network members to share lessons, best practices, and casual conversations. 

“Over the past few years, the number of development professionals in journalism has grown as philanthropic support has become an increasingly important revenue stream for all types of news organizations,” said Annie Madonia, The Lenfest Institute’s chief advancement officer. “The Lenfest News Philanthropy Network was created to help build capacity across the industry and to create a vibrant community of practice that will benefit us all.” 

Full-details about the slate of Fall programming, including the Training Courses and the virtual gatherings are below: 

Grant Writing for News Organizations: 

This training will equip new grant writers with both skills and confidence to meet the unique challenges of raising money for news organizations.

In this five-week course you will work with experts in the field and small peer-groups to learn the science and the art of crafting competitive grant proposals. During the course you will work through each step of the grant writing process, including:

  • Identifying the right funding opportunities
  • Effectively and persuasively making your case
  • Developing each element of a proposal and letter inquiry
  • Relationship building

Led by Penn Creative, the course will meet once a week for hour-long sessions from October 14 through November 18.

Join us on September 23 for a discussion with peers about successful grant writing, meet the team from Penn Creative and learn about the course. Sign up here

Building a Major Gift Pipeline

This training seminar will equip executives, editors, and development professionals with the skills and building blocks they need to develop major gift fundraising opportunities. 

During this four-week course, you will work with experienced fundraising professionals who will help you learn the key building blocks to building relationships and developing a pipeline of major gift donors. Key lessons will include: 

  • Developing a case for support
  • Building the major gift pipeline
  • Effective listening and observing techniques within the fundraising environment
  • Moves management
  • The art of the ask

Led by Schultz & Williams, the course will meet once every other week for two-hour sessions between October 15 through December 3. 

Join us on September 24 for a discussion with peers about successful major gift development, meet Schultz & Williams and learn about the course. Sign up here

Membership 101

This entry-level program helps newsrooms develop membership programs tailored to their mission, audience and resources. This course is intended for news publishers that have no membership program but are considering applying staff and/or financial resources to building one. 

Participants will leave this five-week program with the following outcomes: 

  • Deciding whether to initiate a membership program
  • Which type of membership program is right for them
  • How to frame a program in a way that resonates with their audience
  • What is required of their organization to sustain such a program. 

Led by The Texas Tribune’s RevLab, in coordination with The Membership Puzzle Project, the course will meet weekly for one-hour sessions between October 27 and December 11.

Join us on October 15 for a discussion with peers about successful membership programs, meet the RevLab team and learn about the course. Sign up here

The Lenfest News Philanthropy Network will round out the year with additional webinars and peer learning, including: 

Planning a year-end fundraising campaign

  • Thursday Nov. 19: Strategies for running year-end fundraising campaigns in advance of GivingTuesday (Dec. 1 this year) 

Goals for the year ahead

  • Thursday Dec. 17: A discussion on setting fundraising goals. 

Sign up to receive emails from the Lenfest News Philanthropy Network for updates on the virtual gatherings. 

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