Free Press needs your donations and sponsorship from businesses and organizations that see us as an important presence in the news sphere of Oklahoma City.
In the last post, I said that when doing research for this site, the first decision I made was to not have display advertising. In fact, I made that decision even before I finalized the name Oklahoma City Free Press.
It was the easiest and most obvious decision to make considering what I wanted the character of this publication to be.
Most important is that funding only with donors and sponsors engages at a deeper level than advertising.
Those who give are not just making a business decision as with advertisers. They are showing support and agreement with the whole effort.
That level of engagement is the most important thing to Free Press thriving as the publication Oklahoma City needs.
Even if they give five dollars per month, the individual donor is far more important to the health of Free Press than any larger money brought in on a furniture ad or a political ad.
And eventual business, organizational, and corporate sponsorship will show support for our growing credibility as a news source.
But this won’t be a cake walk. It’s far easier to make friends quickly as a publication when you are for sale to the highest bidder.
I have seen publications carefully steer around certain issues because of their political advertisers when I knew they would drill down if it weren’t for the advertising.
And it has been disturbing in the past to see political dark money groups buy wall-to-wall ads that produced a persistent message counter to a publication’s stated ethos.
Eventually, we may take Free Press in the non-profit direction. It’s one option, and a trend for many publications. But, it’s too early to be spending a lot of time on that now.
I wonder if it will ever be the option for maintaining true independence, which is one of our goals.
In theory, nonprofits should be able to be free of the usual restraints of advertising media, but in real life it doesn’t always work that way.
Nonprofits look to big foundations for the core of their support. So, what the foundation wants to see happen often has even more sway than what a single advertiser might demand. After all, it’s easier to replace an advertiser than a foundation donor.
And then there are small donations.
I have given a small monthly donation to a nonprofit news organization for years now. I’m fiercely loyal, and will continue to be unless they make a drastic change to all harmonica music or all prosperity gospel preaching. (Same thing in my mind.)
But I should say I wonder about a donation pitch that leads with “give, it’s tax deductible.”
Yes, technically, it is. But most small donors like me don’t give tens of thousands away each year. We just don’t have it.
Most normal giving doesn’t lead to a deduction higher than the standard deduction on individual income taxes which is getting bigger every year. So, giving small donations to a nonprofit makes no difference on most ordinary people’s taxes.
It comes back to what we want to support and believe in. And that’s the way it ought to be.
Will you support and believe in the mission of Free Press?