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This report provides an examination of the current state of the field of media impact assessment, which Media Impact Funders (MIF) has been tracking for seven years. It is meant to serve as a practical resource for funders who want to understand where to start. Informed by feedback from our network, it represents a synthesis of the past seven years of work we've done in the impact space, and includes examples of successful media impact evaluation, tools and frameworks for assessment, and the challenges of defining and measuring impact in a rapidly-shifting media landscape.Our years of research have led us to four key insights, and this report includes a deep dive into each of them, as well as companion guest essays from leaders in the field. We hope you will use this guide to inform your own practice, and to continue this critical conversation.
Many journalism stakeholders have begun looking to philanthropic foundations to help newsrooms find economic sustainability. The rapidly expanding role of foundations as a revenue source for news publishers raises an important question: How do foundations exercise their influence over the newsrooms they fund? Using the hierarchy of influence model, this study utilizes more than 40 interviews with journalists at digitally native nonprofit news organizations and employees from foundations that fund nonprofit journalism to better understand the impact of foundation funding on journalistic practice. Drawing on previous scholarship exploring extra-media influence on the news industry, we argue that the impact of foundations on journalism parallels that of advertisers throughout the 20th century—with one important distinction: Journalism practitioners and researchers have long forbidden the influence from advertisers on editorial decisions, seeing the blurring of the two as inherently unethical. Outside funding from foundations, on the other hand, is often premised on editorial influence, complicating efforts by journalists to maintain the firewall between news revenue and production.
There is a new urgency today for American philanthropies to protect the right to vote for all eligible citizens. The philanthropic community has worked alongside the government to protect these rights for decades, but since a 2013 Supreme Court ruling eliminated key parts of the Voting Rights Act, there has been a dramatic increase across the country in barriers to voting. These new barriers often disproportionately affect low-income voters, rural voters, communities of color, young people, and people with disabilities.American philanthropies now have an opportunity to protect and strengthen U.S. democracy by providing badly needed investments in the country's voting infrastructure, paying attention to these issues beyond election time, and joining with others to support litigation against illegal voting barriers.
One of the most compelling questions asked after every election year is "what will it take to get young voters to head to the polls?" Every year is an important year for voters. Which means every year the important question to ask is, how do we ensure the most eligible citizens turn out to vote?Nonprofit VOTE's updated "Engaging New Voters" report tackles that question and proposes a simple but hard-fought answer: "contact." The report looks at 64 nonprofits across six states who reached out into the communities they serve via nonpartisan voter engagement activities and found amazing results:Voters contacted by nonprofits are TWICE as likely to be nonwhite, TWICE as likely to be under 25 and TWICE as likely to have $30,000 in household income. These voters were also MORE likely to vote – 11 percentage points more likely. Asian, Latino and Black voters contacted by nonprofits show up 13-16 percentage points higher than those who weren't; those under 25 turned out 20 percentage points higher.
The purpose of this report is to better understand philanthropic interventions supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in journalism from 2009 – 2015. As a foundation new to DEI funding in journalism, we commissioned this research to help provide context to the major strategies underway in the field and identify potential areas for further investment.
The analysis of more than 6,500 grant makers suggests the money they are pumping into journalism-related ventures is neither advancing the media's democratic function nor filling the gap left by rampant newspaper closures.
The new foundation toolkit lifts up concrete ideas and examples for community and public foundations to encourage voter engagement among their grantees and networks. Strategies range from communications, resource sharing, and nonprofit trainings to integration into programs and grantmaking or donor and grantee education.
This guide lifts up concrete ideas and examples for how private foundations can encourage voter engagement among their grantees and networks. Private foundations, like public foundations, may support a range of voter engagement activities as long as it's on a nonpartisan basis. The two important differences are funding voter registration drives or ballot measures and are explained in the nonpartisan section.
To gain a better understanding of the people the health centers reached, we looked at the demographic composition of two goups. The first group was all CHC voters. This goup includes all of the people contacted by the health centers. The second group was all all registered voters. This goup is comprised of all voters in our seven target states, according to the Catalist database. Findings: The clients and constituents contacted by the health centers were dramatically lower income and more diverse than the general pool of registered voters in the seven states. Those in households earning less than $25,000/year comprised 18% of CHC voters, but only 5% of the general population of all registered voters. African Americans made up about 39% of the CHC voters, but only 13% of all registered voters. Hispanic voters made up 22% of CHC voters compared to only 5% in the seven states. In addition, CHC voters were more likely to be women and were notably younger.
One of the most compelling questions asked after every election year is "what will it take to get young voters to head to the polls?" This year, we are releasing an important update to our Engaging New Voters report that aims to answer that question. Working with over 120 nonprofit partners across nine states, we examined the trends of nearly 5,000 young voters (those under 30) and found some striking results. Most importantly, we found that voter turnout among the young voters contacted by nonprofits was 5.7 points HIGHER than comparable young voters in the study area. And these results were seen across race and gender, with young women showing the biggest gain of 6.5 points, Additionally, we found the efforts of nonprofits to reach communities often overlooked in the political conversation WERE being realized -- as we saw contacts being twice as likely to be Latino and 1.6 times likely to be Black.
Twenty-five of the 94 Track the Vote program participants were selected for interviews, as well as two additional agencies that participated in similar voter engagement programs managed by Nonprofit VOTE partners.Fifteen of those interviews became the basis for the following case studies, designed to illustrate how a diverse group of nonprofi t organizations conducted voter engagement in 2012. Each case study includes descriptions of voter outreach activities, challenges that arose, and concrete takeaways from their experiences.
The Track the Vote program sought to answer questions about the effectiveness of nonprofit service providers in promoting voter participation within their regular services and programs, and their potential for increasing voter turnout among nonprofit clients and constituents. To do so, the program tracked 33,741 individuals who registered to vote or signed a pledge to vote at 94 nonprofits. The nonprofits included a diverse set of community health centers, family service agencies, multi-service organizations, and community development groups across seven states.Using demographic and voting history data, we were able to determine whom the nonprofits reached and at what rate contacted voters turned out to vote in the 2012 general election, as compared to all registered voters in the seven states involved. The results showed the impact of personal voter outreach by nonprofit service providers in raising turnout rates among those least expected to vote and in closing gaps in voter participation across all demographics.To complement the voter turnout information, we conducted standardized interviews with 27 of the participating nonprofits to learn more about the capacity issues they faced and the tactics they used to engage voters. Fifteen of those interviews were turned into case studies, contained in Part II of this report.