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Springfield Daily Citizen

Shifting a mindset to launch a new revenue strategy

Thinking holistically about revenue streams helped the Springfield Daily Citizen focus on a new strategy to satisfy multiple business imperatives

The challenge

Judi Kamien came to the Springfield Daily Citizen after a career spent leading development strategy for nonprofits. But the Daily Citizen is a startup, and news consumers, Judi commented, “are a totally different animal.” The team applied to the GNI Startups Lab after six months of publishing with the goal to develop a revenue strategy that would carry them forward as they set a post-launch budget.

The Daily Citizen had shown some success launching a corporate partners program, but Judi wanted advice on how to grow that revenue stream. The team had exceeded subscription sales over the first five months, but she felt Springfield could do a better job of converting individual donors. Moreover, Judi sought a thought partner to assess Springfield’s hybrid revenue model and help her pivot strategies if needed while the organization was still young enough to adapt.

“You Know, It'S Incredibly Lonely Being In A News Organization If You'Re A Development Person. It Was Great To Connect With People, Even If They Were Journalists Working On Development And Revenue Problems, To Talk About Those Things.”

Judi Kamien
Chief Development Officer, Springfield Daily Citizen

The results

Coach Todd Stauffer helped Judi think through how to launch an events vertical for the Daily Citizen. She was concerned that the donor-focused events she felt most familiar with, like annual galas, were the wrong fit for the organization. She said she found inspiration from Todd’s experience launching community events at the Jackson Free Press. Realizing that events didn’t need to be highly-programmed and expensive in order to succeed, Judi created a series of free and low-cost community events and developed a strategy to fund those events through corporate partnerships. Her idea satisfied several goals – free events would create more community goodwill and opportunities for in-person donor conversion, while the events themselves created far more opportunities to develop corporate partnerships.

Judi was able to get her team on board with the new revenue strategy and create a position for Springfield’s first partnerships manager, who will help Judi sign more deals and execute community events. Judi also credits Todd with helping her feel more confident about launching a new revenue stream and focusing on hosting frequent low-touch gatherings and meetups, rather than large-scale and high pressure events. “In a place where so many people have been so hungry for news, real news, for a long time … I think Todd’s right, there's almost nothing we can do that’s going to fail.”

Successes:

Created a new revenue strategy that satisfied multiple business objectives

Created a new role for a partnerships manager

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