It’s simple: Great reporting costs money. And Civil is committed to helping that reporting happen.
This is why Civil is excited to announce the release of Civil Boosts, a peer-to-peer fundraising tool that allows newsrooms on the Civil Registry to raise funds for specific journalism initiatives. These projects can include digging into a featured story, sending a reporter to an important event, purchasing equipment needed for a particular story or investigation, and many others.
Civil newsrooms can launch a Boost and anyone can support it directly on the “Boosts” section of the Civil Registry. The Civil Media Company doesn’t collect any proceeds that a newsroom raises, and a newsroom gets to keep all the money they raise regardless if their goal is met.
With that said, we’ll walk you through the five reasons your newsroom would benefit from running a fundraising campaign using Civil Boosts. We’ll also introduce you to the two newsrooms that are already successfully experimenting with the tool: Arepita and Creative Next.
Let’s get started. Why would a newsroom launch a Boost, anyway?
Reason 1: Launch a new investigation or project.
Given the nature of the tool, a Boost is most appropriate for one-off projects, such as sending a reporter to an important event, covering newsroom expenses for a special project, or purchasing equipment for an investigation. However, it is absolutely possible (and easy!) to run a series of Boosts in order to fund ongoing initiatives.
For example, Arepita launched a Civil Boost to get a new project off the ground. They’re looking fundraise for a podcast that will complement their Spanish daily newsletter about Venezuela.
“We understand [Arepita’s] newsletter is not enough, and a lot of people just don’t like to read the news. They prefer to consume it and while they are commuting to work, or while they are doing the dishes,” said Dariela Sosa, founder of Arepita. “What I like about Boosts is that it’s more like a specific and you raise funds for a specific project, so some people may feel motivated to contribute.”
Pro tip: Be specific about project costs! Costs are itemized on your newsroom’s final Boost page, so be clear with your audience about exactly what it will cost to make your newsroom project a success.
Reason 2: Engage and grow your current audience.
Newsrooms have complete control over defining their Boost project, so we encourage you to work with your audiences to develop a project that they’ll support, or start one that they’ve been asking for.
A Boost is also a great way to broaden a newsroom’s reach. That idea drove Creative Next’s decision to launch a Boost to develop an insight-rich eBook from the first season of the podcast.
Dirk Knemeyer, the founder of Creative Next, said, “We’ve enjoyed and we are enjoying getting the word out about our research through podcasting, but we also are writers. It’s important for us to make our information as available as possible through as many ways as possible. So, how can we create something for our listeners for people who aren’t listeners but are interested in the topic, but just aren’t podcast listeners? How do we get them into the content? And so what we settled on was an eBook.”
Boosts are designed to bring newsrooms and their audiences closer together, make readers and listeners feel involved and have those readers and listeners be more invested in newsrooms’ work.
Pro tip: Make sure to share your Boost on across all of your newsroom’s channels after it has launched to reach a broader audience.
Reason 3: Spotlight your newsroom’s “good journalism.”
Boosts are not only a way to help fund a newsroom’s work, but they’ll become great resources for highlighting and educating the public about the important work that journalists do. With Boosts, we want to teach the public more about what journalism entails and bring more of a focus on paying for actual reporting, while also educating them about what goes into the creation of good journalism.
Pro tip: Focus on the specific reasoning of why a successful Boost will enhance your newsroom to tap into a strong emotional investment from supporters.
Reason 4: You get to collect whatever money your newsroom raises.
Regardless of the amount of money that a newsroom raises, it will get to collect all of the funds that are raised. Civil doesn’t take a cut.
Dariela from Arepita said it best. “I like the fact that Civil doesn’t charge commission. That’s a big difference from other platforms. I understand why [other platforms] do this because they are providing you a very valuable service. But journalism is in crisis and needs every extra dollar that [it can get].”
Of course, each newsroom is held accountable by the Civil community and Civil Constitution, so the newsroom will need to follow through with the project.
Pro tip: Be ambitious, but also specific, about your newsroom’s ask. Boosts were designed for small-ish projects over a short time frame, so consider breaking your project up into two if costs are too high.
Reason 5: It can be done easily and in just a few clicks.
A Boost is an ideal fundraising tool for frequent use. It does not require a newsroom to record a video or come up with rewards for different levels of contributors. It can be a great solution when a newsroom wants to fundraise a small amount for a particular project when it doesn’t make sense to create something as in-depth as a full Kickstarter campaign.
At this time, Civil only supports ETH-based Boosts. Your newsroom will keep 100% of what is contributed to the project (note that there is always a very small network transaction cost for sending ETH from a wallet, but usually it’s just a few cents).
Stay tuned for future iterations of the Civil Boost tool over the next few months — including an option for supporters to give money to newsrooms directly with their credit cards.
So what do you have to lose? If you’re an approved newsroom on the Civil Registry, launch a Boost here.
Ready to go? Support a newsroom Boost.
Arepita and Creative Next were the first two Civil newsrooms to launch Boosts. Their campaigns only accept ETH, so while you don’t have to be a Civil member to contribute to a newsroom’s Boost, you do need a cryptocurrency wallet. We recommend MetaMask. For a reminder on how to set up a MetaMask wallet, read this article.