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About 3 in 4 Americans are getting a tax refund check right about now, which makes it a great time to ask for support for your news business. 

And that’s not the only reason: World Press Freedom Day is coming up on May 3, and News Revenue Hub made an email fundraising template for the occasion that you can adapt and use. 

Want other ideas for how to grow reader revenue with a spring membership, subscriber or donor drive? Check out these seven campaign ideas we shared last year for Giving Tuesday, including:

  • Share your big goals and growth plans and encourage your readers to chip in financially to make them a reality. Example: PubliCola
  • Pull back the curtains on what it costs to produce your work and explain why memberships, subscriptions or donations are so important to making that work sustainable. Example: The Evergrey
  • Write an editorial about why your journalism is more essential now than ever – and how reader support helps you maintain your independence. Example: Mother Jones
If you have other proven fundraising campaign strategies you’re willing to share, drop them in the News Entrepreneur Community on Slack, or reply to this email to give us the scoop. 

— Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team

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5 resources for independent publishers

Here are five more resources and opportunities that can help you build a stronger, more sustainable news business

1. Republish data-driven journalism from a trusted newswire. Stacker provides publishers with engaging data journalism on topics that local audiences care about — all at no cost. Sign up for a demo. (Sponsored)

2. Turn your mistakes into a trust-building opportunity. This step-by-step guide from Trusting News will help you develop a transparent process and policy for correcting errors.

3. Put independent local news in the spotlight at ONA22. The deadline to submit a session proposal for ONA22 is today at 9 p.m. ET. Here’s advice for crafting a successful pitch

4. Press publish once and let the dollars roll in. The latest News Revenue Hub newsletter makes a strong case for using an automated email series to welcome new readers and encourage them to become donors or renew their donation. 

5. Get support and funding to strengthen your news business. Nearly 60 LION members applied for the first cycle of our LION-GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding program, and we’ll be sharing who was selected soon. To be considered for the July-August audit cycle, make sure you’re an active LION member and apply here by June 13.

What we're reading

Welcome to town. How an evergreen newsletter course can help you introduce newcomers to your city – and to your news publication. (News Revenue Hub)

Founder lessons. What Ken Doctor has learned from his first 18 months leading a local news startup in Santa Cruz. (Nieman Lab)

Good timing. Why midweek mornings are the best time to schedule posts on social media. (Sprout Social)

Class, dismissed. How the professionalization of journalism has bled into elitism. (Columbia Journalism Review)

No surprise. How the consolidation of corporate media is causing reporters to lose their jobs and communities to lose local coverage. (Nieman Lab)

LIONs in the news

Newsroom layoffs are taking a heavy toll on K-12 education coverage in Virginia, but LION member The Henrico Citizen is stepping up to help fill the gap. 

The Citizen hired a full-time education reporter last year – its first ever – with support from Report for America. And thanks to more than $15,000 in reader donations, that position is sticking around for at least another year.

Congrats to LION member Tom Lappas and The Henrico Citizen for reaching this important milestone!

And in other LION member news…

Get in touch

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You can also email us directly at hello@lionpublishers.com.

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