I’m digging the fundraising experiment MinnPost started running today: Readers can help fund a specific writer: David Brauer.
As it’s set up, you can contribute in increments of $10 or $25 toward Brauer’s writing. All contributions up to $10,000 will be matched by a generous donor.
This type of funding makes a lot of sense to me. Reporting is unbundling from a combination of comics, classifieds, and news down to narrow consumption based on specific reporters, topics, or even keywords. Some will prove to have a viable market (my guess is Brauer fits this category) and others won’t be sustainable. When not tested against the market, they were held up by the mothership. Once they prove not to be directly sustainable, funding will become even more creative.
This type of funding will likely break down at least two different ways: funding specific reporters and funding specific topics. On the topic side of things, I think there is demand for coverage of events that mainstream news sites never touch. For example, I bet five parents at a typical upscale private school in the Twin Cities would be willing to chip in $20 each per PTA meeting to receive well written summaries that may or may not ever be publicly published. That’s at least a $400/month one weeknight a week opportunity for an underemployed reporter.
As Joel Kramer mentioned in the comments on MinnPost.com’s BrauBlog experiment, donations are coming in. Do you think they’ll find the 400-1000 (combination of $10 and $25 contributions) donors they’re looking for to take full advantage of the $10,000 matching donation?