The FaceBook Journalism Project RFP was for COVID-responses in journalism that would help news organizations not just sustain through the pandemic, but to grow stronger despite it. Fearing a collapse in community giving, we included $50,000 for a new initiative in which philanthropy helped to subsidize that part of our revenue projections, and at the same time, uplift the sectors most affected by the pandemic: small businesses and nonprofit organizations. We hoped to develop a list of prospects and a pipeline of connections for the future.
With philanthropic “skin in the game” from FBJP, we needed a name that explained the programs intent: to boost the local economy via VOSD platforms, “Local Boost”. We shifted to leveraging our own platforms utilizing social media with paid boosted posts on Facebook and Instagram, dedicated e-blasts to our newsletter subscribers and web ads on our website and newsletters. Shifting our marketing strategy proved more effective, we received 60 inquiries in five weeks.
As hoped, Local Boost has attracted a range of partners. For example, the 501c3 San Diego Chorus wanted to advertise their new virtual birthday-gram’s. We matched their $200 for web ads and newsletter ads and are organizing a pre-recorded birthday-gram for our CEO which will air on our podcast and livestream programs and serve as a demonstration and promotion for San Diego Chorus. Another example is local legal nonprofit which usually hosts a fall fundraiser that generates a significant portion of their annual revenue. They will be promoting the virtual campaign fundraiser on VOSD’s website, newsletter and podcasts. Plus, we’re writing sponsored stories on their honorees in lieu of the on-stage recognition they normally receive. With our match, the package totals $6,000.
Even individuals have jumped in. A longtime San Diego resident who worked for President Jimmy Carter recently published a book and through Local Boost, is able to promote his socially-distanced book signing at a locally-owned bookstore.
We have a partnership in the works with a business alliance for $4,000, which we’ll match to promote the virtual fall arts festival across multiple VOSD platforms. Another business association is organizing a match model with their members: for every $1 a member business puts towards marketing, the association matches their $1, and VOSD matches their $2 for a total of $4 to recognize both the participating member business as well as the association.