Monday, January 13, 2014

BIG’s Blog: It Happened Again!

John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red sox, recently purchased The Boston Globe . . . and this following the earlier news that The Washington Post was sold to CEO, Jeff Bezos. And a bit closer to home … for me … billionaire investor Warren Buffet purchased the Omaha World Herald.  

Arguably, these guys are extremely smart and savvy investors (all billionaires after all). Presumably they don’t make investments to lose money. Warren Buffet is even on record as saying five years ago that he would not buy a newspaper at any price.

So what’s going on here?

What’s changed?

Here is my take from my own study and the consensus I have gleaned from other commentators. And MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU is that the implications of these billionaires’ decisions have a DIRECT LINK to your success in fundraising very soon.

Simply put … the worm has turned. Savvy investors have always known that newspapers have a strong brand and are trusted in their communities, but the delivery mechanism of newsprint and the business model of printed advertising aren’t viable anymore. People get their news online, and online services like craigslist have decimated “want ads” in the local paper. From the investor standpoint, as the presses shut down, costs drop dramatically, yet people still want news and information and they trust the brand of the newspaper to deliver their local news and information.
Savvy investors know that to make money you “buy low,” and the fire sale prices of these “news institutions” are low, low, low.

The old owners believed that a newspaper is newsprint and without the “dead tree” publication (as a good friend of mine calls it), it isn’t a newspaper. The old newspaper owners only know what they know about how to run a newspaper. Are these old owners stupid or just lazy? I say neither. The old owners just don’t want to step up and make the change; basically they are tired and looking for an exit ramp. They’ll let someone else figure it out.

How will newspapers generate revenue to pay their writers and editorial staff? These savvy investors believe that answer is already here and coming soon … and I believe them. They see that online communications technology is everywhere and that all forms of valuable content is being accessed … and paid for by customers. Honestly, tell me you don’t read the news on your phone, tablet or computer.

But who is going to pay these news organizations like The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, or the Omaha World Herald for their news?

See, that’s what separates some of you from the John Henrys, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffets of the world. You keep thinking like the OLD owners of these newspapers!

How much did you pay to rent movies at Blockbuster? How much do you pay a month to access movies on Netflix or a similar service? How much did your landline and long distance cost before the era of cell phones? And most people pay for their cars and their homes with “affordable” monthly payments.

Do you get it?

Hello! Monthly payments!
So how do the travails of the newspaper industry connect to nonprofit fundraising???

Your organization also has a tremendous brand name. You’ve been around awhile. You stand for something and your reputation has trust and respect and this goes double, triple, and quadruple for faith-based organizations!

The print-and-ink world of newspapers is going away even as online media opportunities are exploding … and THAT IS WHERE PEOPLE ARE … ONLINE!


You don’t need print to tell your story or reach people to have them connect with and support you. Quit thinking like OLD newspaper owners!

Your organization can be ITS OWN MEDIA COMPANY!

And, just like a fairly famous religious television network, people WILL send you monthly donations to underwrite your work!

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