Case Studies

Revenue Growth in News Media

Reliable news reporting is one of the pillars of our civilization and yet news media is an industry constantly struggling to thrive in this digital age. Longbeard eagerly agreed to work with Crux, edited by John Allen Jr., as we are determined to see honest, independent, and courageous reporting thrive in the Church—well aware that this is largely dependent on one thing: revenue.

The Challenge

Building a grassroots monthly fundraising base large enough to sustain and eventually grow Crux’s operation.

The Outcome

Success! After an eight month experiment, we increased Crux’s monthly supporter base by 57% and increased one-time contributions by 41%. This clearly demonstrates the potential for a fully grassroots funded operation.

The Objective

Reveal the revenue potential of grassroots fundraising for Crux.

The Challenges

  1. Status Quo. Crux’s user base had been accustomed to free content for many years. Would an ask for support result in a user revolt?
  2. Friction. We needed a way to present users with the opportunity to give without presenting significant friction, which would frustrate their reason for visiting the site.
  3. Security. Users must be confident that their support is as secure as it can be.
  4. Privacy. Users should be obliged to provide only the information necessary to complete the transaction, no more.
  5. Speed. The giving process must be fast and intuitive.

Given Crux’s website traffic, we knew it had a large base of faithful readers, but there was little data to support the notion that a Catholic newspaper could sustain its operation from subscription revenue alone.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard

Given Crux’s website traffic, we knew it had a large base of faithful readers, but there was little data to support the notion that a Catholic newspaper could sustain its operation from subscription revenue alone.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard

The Insights

  1. Revenue Mix. One-time contributions amounted to 70% of the revenue mix. 30% was from monthly recurring revenue. All-in-all, users preferred one-off contributions to a monthly commitment. 
  2. Gains. One-time contributions amounted to more revenue, but monthly contributions saw the largest gain. Long-term, monthly contributions are projected to overtake single contributions in revenue in approximately 1.5 years. 
  3. Averages. The average monthly contribution was $5. The average single contribution was $25. 
  4. Time. Contributions tended to spike just after standard pay periods. 
  5. Vehicles. Pop-ups were by far the most effective means of garnering contributions, but all tested means were somewhat effective.
  6. Pitching. Data indicates the decision to give was less dependent on pitching and more on a user’s long-term determination of delivered value.

What our data showed us is that users' decisions to support Crux had everything to do with the value they had already received from Crux and less to do with a creative or clever pitch.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard

What our data showed us is that users' decisions to support Crux had everything to do with the value they had already received from Crux and less to do with a creative or clever pitch.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard