But it also helps to show that, even if you weren’t a fan of old media, how big a hole there is to fill, at least in term of quantity and, it’s fair to say, sheer coverage.
Which brings us back to the confidence question. Nonprofits got their revenue from two main sources, Pew found: Foundations and wealthy individuals.
“Other forms of income,” Pew says, “pale by comparison.” Sponsorships, ads, events, and other income sources were still supplemental at best:
Nearly half of the organizations with at least three streams generated 75% or more of their revenue from just one of those—almost always foundation grants.
Foundations and wealthy individuals are important revenue sources, and will continue to be, one hopes, for a long time. But philanthropy goes up, and it comes down. It is many things, comes in many forms, and has been described in many ways. But it cannot be fairly described as a model for growth.
And, as respondents reported, one of their biggest needs is the time to raise money and create a business model:
When one small nonprofit news organization discussed its ongoing struggle to raise money, the message was simple. “We don’t have time to do this,” it reported. “And we don’t know how.”
Fair enough. That’s not uncommon in nonprofit news, and we’re not strangers to the problem here.
But the question at this point is, nonprofits’ confidence notwithstanding, where does the growth come from?