Public media fundraising study finds environment ripe for innovation and success when stations remain flexible, nimble and collaborative


From the introduction to the report:

Early reporting for national nonprofit fundraising indicates that 2023 was a difficult year, as consumer confidence lagged in the face of ongoing high grocery prices and despite otherwise strong economic indicators. Through the third quarter of 2023, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project was reporting an 8% decline in donors and a 1% decline in revenue from individuals (Fundraising Effectiveness Project, 2023). Likewise, GivingTuesday revenue was flat with a 10% decline in donors, as reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy (Childress & Haynes, 2023).

Overall, public media experienced similarly flat results for revenue but fared better for donor counts with a 2% increase. These results were driven by television and joint licensees, which had the greatest number of donors and highest revenue in decades. For radio, the story is quite different, especially for new donor acquisition which has experienced ongoing declines.

The introduction goes on to note:

... there is a light for public media organizations that is actually very bright. It is that trust in local organizations is quite high within their communities (Independent Sector, 2024). And trust in PBS and NPR is the highest of news media for many (Jurkowitz, Mitchell, Shearer, & Walker, 2020). If stations can work together to amplify their trusted voices, we believe that audience — whether in the form of viewing, listening, or web visits — can grow, and the financial benefit will follow.

Click here to read the full report.


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