Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: “Help people do good,” according to the website

A decade later, it’s become both a global movement and a way to make a difference locally. This year, Giving Tuesday falls on November 29th and it’s an opportunity for news organizations to ask for support from their communities for journalism that serves the public good. 

The Post & Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, a participant in the LMA Advanced Fundraising Lab, made possible with support from Google News Initiative, recently shared its lessons learned for Giving Tuesday and donor fundraising campaigns. Here are some of the team’s best practices that local newsrooms can apply when seeking public support for their work.

  • Tell the “story” of the value your journalism provides to the community. Journalists are skilled at telling the stories of others. Often, we mistakenly assume folks know what we do, how we do it, and what it matters in their lives. 
  • Be public and transparent with how much you’re seeking to raise and why, and how you’ll put that money to work for the community. In other words, be clear how the community will benefit from supporting your work. 
  • Consider explaining what goes into quality, trustworthy local journalism, including the costs of reporting like document costs, Freedom of Information Act requests etc. Surveys consistently show our audiences don’t realize all that’s involved in creating quality journalism.
  • Track and measure your campaign to see which messages and which methods (email, social, paid marketing, display) perform best. Then do more of what works.
  • Don’t wait to make the ask. Giving Tuesday is November 29 but The Post and Courier began its messaging two weeks in advance — and also included a “last chance” day of giving, the day after. 
  • Thank your donors, with an immediate response and follow-up. At the same time, be transparent about who’s given what, and have a clear, published policy documenting your firewall between donations and the editorial process. 
  • Finally, keep in mind that a successful Giving Tuesday campaign isn’t only — or even primarily — about “dollars raised.” Once someone has decided your news organization is worthy of support — in any amount — you now have a relationship with that donor and, through stewardship, you have the opportunity to increase their involvement, engagement, and support over time. 

Note that Giving Tuesday was developed to support nonprofit institutions. For-profit newsrooms that secure fiscal sponsorship for journalism projects focused on the public good can also receive tax deductible donations. Local Media Foundation supports selected initiatives through the 2022 Local News Fund

2022 Local News Fund

Local Media Foundation works with independent and family-owned local news organizations on campaigns to solicit tax-deductible donations from their communities. News organizations must identify one or more critical local issues and, using proceeds from the Local News Fund campaign, execute a journalism project or increased coverage on those issues. For more information, contact Terese Kartholl at Local Media Foundation.