Freelancers Reach Crowd-Funding Goal of 800 Subscribers

A 30-day fund-raising campaign to launch an exclusive climate reporting initiative gains online backing of the needed 800 funders.

Six California-based freelance writers have succeeded in a crowd-funding journalism initiative designed to provide their original reporting on climate and environment to a paying audience of at least 800 funders.

It was far from a slam-dunk when the entrepreneurial writers in early February launched the initiative through the online beacon.com website with a goal of acquiring at least 800 funders over a period of 30 days. Even as they entered the final week of recruiting, they appeared to face substantial odds. With just seven days left on the morning of February 26, for instance, they still needed 332 additional funders, so they had to average at least 47 new backers daily for that final week. That’s a pace they had not been able to maintain leading up to that time.

But there were also some interesting glimmers of hope along the way: Just a day after a report on their initiative (but not necessarily because of that exposure), they gained their first $5,000 “launch partner.” By the time they had reached their 800-funders goal, they could count five such subscriptions, four from individuals plus one from Intel, the lone corporate “launch partner” so far. At that point, their website reported that total funding for their effort had exceeded $44,500.

While there have been numerous other instances of freelancers’ successfully crowd-funding individual reporting projects, the “Climate Confidential” initiative appears to be one of the more successful long-term crowd-funding initiatives focused primarily on climate change issues. The group of six freelancers plan initially to post some columns introducing themselves and their plans for the site, and they expect during the first week of April to post their first full-length piece. For now they plan to publish one full-length story a week, but team-member Erica Gies said that could evolve over time. The stories they publish on the site will be available only to those helping fund their work.

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