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Welcome to the April edition of Bottom Line!

In this newsletter you will find:

✅ The preliminary findings of our fundraising case studies

Typical costs and a checklist for proposal budgets

Funding opportunities for Asia

✅ Profiles for the Australian Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Asia Foundation

✅ A list of fundraising-related articles, videos, and upcoming events

GFMD Fundraising Case Studies

How do small and medium-sized members navigate the fundraising process?

I recently embarked on a series of case studies to document the strategies used and the challenges faced. Here’s a (very) compact summary of what I’ve found so far:



  • Diversification is key. Our interviewees stressed the importance of not relying solely on donor funding and presented various ideas for business development as a means of providing core support for their organisations.

    According to research by non-profit media analysts SembraMedia, media organisations with fewer than two revenue sources are more likely to be in the bottom third of revenue earners in most markets, while those with more than six revenue sources do not always see an increase in revenue among organisations of the same size. "The ideal number in most markets seems to be between two and six distinct revenue sources." 

    Their newly published Project Oasis report, a  year-long research project on sustainability, innovation, and impact of independent digital native news organisations across Europe, confirms this trend.
  • Get to know your potential funders. Our interviewees cited direct contact as being key to their fundraising efforts. Make sure you attend local conferences and events in order to meet donors and stakeholders. See the module on Donor Engagement in the Fundraising Guide for tips and advice on how to map potential donors.
  • Don’t compromise yourself to get funding. Stay true to your mission and competencies, be it public interest media, investigative journalism, press freedom advocacy or community media support. Don’t get stuck pursuing projects that will steal resources from your primary work.



  • Donors tend to prioritise short-term programmatic funding over long-term core funding - this is not sustainable for an organisation’s daily operations or for their long-term survival
  • Donors who fund content do not always understand the need to also fund organisational and professional development
  • We still live in a world where donors measure success through quantitative indicators such as the number of likes and shares related to content or the number of stories, videos, and podcasts produced. (And yet, according to the Project Oasis report, there is a direct relationship between the number of page views a news website attracts and its annual revenue.)
  • Funders may be subject to changing national political priorities that can impact the amount of funding available, directing money that was earmarked for one country or region to hotspots elsewhere, rather than securing new funds to address these unforeseen crises
  • Media in rural areas are disadvantaged in comparison to urban centres in terms of attracting support, advertising, and governmental and philanthropic funding
  • Bureaucratic reporting requirements are an increasing burden to small organisations. The more donors you have, the more reports that need to be filled out, with one respondent submitting well over 100 reports, accounts, budgets, and meeting summaries over a one-year period
  • Sometimes the amount of funding being offered is not worth the amount of resources that need to be spent in order to fulfil reporting and administrative requirements
  • Some donors take issues with the idea of independent media identifying as a for-profit company, not understanding that relying on grants is not a sustainable business model for a media organisation 


The ideal donor:

  • is flexible and willing to find practical solutions to problems on the ground

  • makes themselves available to direct communication with their grantees

  • understands the field of journalism and the practical and administrative needs of media and mediadev organisations

  • prioritises core funding over programmatic funding


Do the points listed above sound familiar or are there important points missing? Would you like to contribute with your own experiences of the fundraising process? Please send your comments or suggestions to me in an email. All information submitted will be anonymised and kept confidential.

The findings from our surveys and interviews will help GFMD to provide donors and international partners with best practice recommendations for the fundraising process and will be included in our efforts to influence donor policies and strategies.

Anne Marie Hammer
Director of Membership Services


Typical costs for media development budgets

The project design and the operating environment will have a significant impact on the types of costs presented in budgets.

Budgets with a high proportion of training and consultancy will look very different to budgets that focus predominantly on production and broadcasting. However, there are many common cost areas that are examined in Module 11 of the Guide.

As a general rule, avoid splitting a budget in too many sub-categories, as this can be highly restrictive when it comes to implementing the action. For example, it is better to bring all local transport costs under one heading instead of dividing them according to the mode of transport or the destination.

Make sure that you read all of the footnotes and instructions before completing a budget template. While they may look standard, templates may include modifications made for specific programmes or funding instruments.

Find out what you can include on your budget lines from project management, consultant fees, travel, M&E experts, office costs, to production costs, and more.


Did you remember everything in your budget?

The list below is a selection of potential costs which are often forgotten when compiling budgets.

  • Visas
  • Cost of filming permits
  • Margin for inflation, annual pay rises
  • Employment costs (including pension contributions)
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Petrol (car and generator)
  • Insurance, including insurance of equipment and assets
  • M&E activities including the cost of focus groups, key informant interviews and external evaluations
Check here for the full list. 
U.S. Department of State
Deadline: May 29
International Press Institute
Deadline: June 14
Find more funding opportunities on our website. 

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is the Australian government agency that works with international partners and other countries to tackle global challenges and is responsible for the design and delivery of the Australian aid program.

DFAT funds Australian Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) This funding supports their projects in developing countries. 
Moreover, the Direct Aid Program (DAP) provides funding to civil society groups to pursue small-scale development projects and provide humanitarian assistance in developing countries. 

For more information see GFMD's profile on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia here.


The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific.

The foundation has several programmes, including the Asia Foundation Development Fellows programme. The Fellows programme is designed for Asian individuals under the age of 40 to enhance their leadership skills, Asian development knowledge, professional networks, and international exposure.

For more information see GFMD's profile on the Asia Foundation here.



5 tips for launching a media startup
by Rawan Jayousi

Founder and Executive Director of Media and Digital Runway for Arab Journalists (MADRAJ) Rawan Jayousi believes that the startup culture in the tech world could be applied to journalism to generate new digital media enterprises and platforms for underrepresented voices. 

Using insights gained from her experience working with MADRAJ and other innovators, she provides five recommendations for media entrepreneurs launching startups of their own in this IJNet article.



Journalismfund Europe’s in-house assistance to potential applicants

Journalismfund Europe is offering individual pre-application meetings to potential applicants in order to discuss story ideas and answer any questions journalists may have in order to help them move forward with their applications.


Blended funding: a useful innovation to fund independent journalism?

This panel session, which took place at the International Journalism Festival on April 20, shares the lessons learned from the Media Development Investment Fund-managed Pluralis initiative which provides access to blended capital from European foundations, news media companies, and social investors to independent media. 

The panel discussion features Oak Foundation Director of International Human Rights Adrian Arena, SME Editor-in-Chief Beata Balogova, Tinius Trust CEO Kjersti Loken Stavrum, DG Justice European Commission Principal Advisor Paul Nemitz, and Media Development Investment Fund Chief Strategy Officer Patrice Schneider.


Crowdfunding independent journalism in Latin America
with Camille Alexandra Padilla Dalmau

As part of their Global Journalism Series, the Reuters Institute has invited Alexandra Padilla Dalmau, co-founder of the Puerto Rican crowdfunding and publishing initiative 9 Millones, to speak about the challenges and opportunities of their funding model. Click here to register for the May 17 session.

How media businesses in Asia are using AI
with Rishad Patel

The Reuters Institute has also invited Splice Media's co-founder Rishad Patel to talk about how AI is being utilized by media businesses in Asia. Register here for the May 24 session.

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