Global Press Institute
What was the challenge?
The majority of news coverage about “developing nations” is written by Western foreign correspondents dropped into countries they often know very little about. The result is journalism that provides readers with a highly inaccurate view of such societies. This failure of journalism is a major challenge at a moment when global knowledge is more important than ever.
In this environment, Global Press Institute launched in 2006 to create a more just and informed world by employing local women journalists to produce ethical, accurate news coverage from the world’s least-covered places. Within its first five years, GPI demonstrated that it could produce a different type of news coverage that attracted readers and changed their perspectives about foreign nations. In doing so, GPI creates positive social impact in the communities being reported on. For instance, a GPI news story about discrimination against inter-caste couples in Nepal resulted in the formation of a new national law regarding such discrimination.
By 2011, GPI had proven that its model worked and the organization employed more than 120 women across more than 25 countries, all on a shoestring budget of about $100,000 per year. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization, GPI engaged Third Plateau to help it transition out of its early start-up phase and onto a growth path commensurate with its potential.
How did we address it?
Working closely with Cristi Hegranes, GPI’s dynamic founder and executive director, Third Plateau worked with GPI on its programmatic and financial growth through the following capacity building approaches:
- Development Strategy: GPI was almost exclusively pursuing funding from big, deliberative foundations with a historic interest in journalism, just as many of those foundations were beginning to transition this funding to other areas. Third Plateau addressed this challenge by helping GPI create a development plan that shifted much of the fundraising focus to more nimble individual donors and smaller foundations, who were interested in GPI’s holistic model of social change. Third Plateau also worked with Cristi to develop an earned revenue strategy centered on the syndication of GPI news stories to major news outlets, to help the organization become less dependent on philanthropy over time.
- Strategic Planning, Messaging, and Implementation: Like many founders, Cristi was volunteering her time to the organization rather than drawing a salary, so she wasn’t able to devote herself full-time to GPI’s growth. At the same time, much of the organization’s processes lived inside Cristi’s head. Third Plateau addressed these challenges by helping GPI create a new five-year strategic plan that focused on building out the management and editorial structure for the organization, including Cristi’s role as the full-time executive director. Third Plateau also helped GPI create a strong fundraising operation to support the strategic plan. This involved the development of new marketing materials with a refined case for support, identifying and building relationships with new prospective donors, and establishing the internal processes and infrastructure to support an effective fundraising campaign.
What is the impact?
Today Global Press Institute is a thriving $2 million organization. Cristi, as the Executive Director, oversees a team of 15 people (in addition to more than 150 journalists across 26 countries). GPI’s syndication program, Global Press News Service, not only generates earned revenue for GPI but also ensures that GPI news stories reach millions of readers each month.