Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is CEO and Executive Director of the Investigative News Network (INN), a growing consortium o over 80 nonprofit newsrooms producing non-partisan investigative and public interest journalism.

Marie Gilot

Marie Gilot is a media innovation associate at the Knight Foundation.

Recent Articles

What you need to know about the $1 million INNovation Fund


Together, INN and the Knight Foundation have launched the Knight-funded INNovation Fund to help online news providers diversify their revenues, invest in their businesses and experiment with technology innovations to help increase their prospects for long-term viability. The following is a Q&A to help you decide if the INNovation Fund is right for you. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Fiscally-Sponsored Projects Must File Their Own 990s


All nonprofit organizations are required to file an annual tax return with the IRS: Form 990, Form 990-EZ or Form 990-N. This annual filing obligation includes organizations that have not yet received a determination letter from the IRS that they are tax-exempt, and it also includes organizations that are fiscally sponsored by INN or other fiscal sponsor. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Managing Your Nonprofit Newsroom’s Brand

I’ve never watched an episode of Mad Men, though I would wager that my preconceived notions of ad executives of yore are very similar to how many journalists view the people involved in branding. But branding is not the stuff of men in suits and thin ties. Rather, it's key to the success of newsrooms that rely on links and citations from larger media outlets, giving the newsrooms increased exposure and impact. Branding is “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind," according to the Business Dictionary. "Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers." Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,

Managing a Distributed Staff

As we welcome our new Director of Technology, Adam Schweigert, INN joins the long list of companies that use telecommuting to attract and retain talent. Adam is the first INN employee who will be working remotely from his home office in Columbus, Ohio. (Read more about Adam’s appointment here). Hiring an employee in a different office and time zone is no longer the unchartered challenge it once was. Many nonprofits juggle employees, freelancers and board members across the country. However, it does require a different kind of supervision and communication to work well. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

The Elevator Pitch For Mission-Driven News Nonprofits

You’ve heard this premise before: You're standing in front of an elevator and, as the doors open, in front of you is the key individual that you’ve tried for months to get on the phone. Once you're in the elevator you realize you have only 30 to 60 seconds to make the right impression and get him or her to take note. While this scenario may not play itself out quite as dramatically in the real world, as nonprofit news executives we often find ourselves in situations where we have to articulate what we do, why we do it, and why anyone else should care - and we have to do it quickly. There are many articles available to business executives, entrepreneurs and sales professionals with tips on how to deliver the perfect elevator pitch (read here, here and here for a few examples). However, a nonprofit leader has the added complexity of having to articulate the unique qualities and value of his or her mission-driven organization to a wider range of constituents including foundations, corporate underwriters, advertisers and, of course, members of the audience that you serve. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Terms & Conditions: Staying on Top of Your Legal Obligations

We’ve all signed up for some new technology - something that is going to make things easier, faster, better, less expensive - and then when the message pops up, saying “I have read and accept the terms and conditions,” we click to accept without a second thought. No lawyers are involved, there are no hours spent pouring over dense legalese. However, as executives and publishers we have an obligation, not only to read the legalese and the fine print, but to stay atop of it all. Every legally binding contract involves rights and obligations that must be met in order to avoid a significant risk to your organization, and even to you individually. I'm not an attorney, and so this is not legal guidance, but I have included here a few pointers for keeping track of contracts. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Applying Sales Methodology to Fundraising Development

One of the most daunting tasks for nonprofit leaders is fundraising. Unfortunately, many journalists who now find themselves in the role of executive director do not have a lot of experience in this area. With my background in running sales teams for both digital and print properties, I believe that fundraising is, at its core, a sales process. While that may cause some journalists to cringe, it's actually good news, because almost all sales processes can be approached in a logical and methodical manner. Sales encompasses a pretty standard seven-step process, and development executives should adopt, adapt and incorporate those steps into their fundraising activities. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,