Introducing RevEngine: A robust contribution management platform designed for newsrooms
The News Revenue Hub is proud to announce the launch of News Revenue Engine, a self-service contribution management platform tailored specifically for newsrooms.
Since its founding in 2016, the Hub has partnered with more than 70 newsrooms. By offering hands-on consulting and access to their custom technology, they have helped news organizations raise nearly $80 million. With its new product, nicknamed RevEngine, the Hub expects to exponentially increase the number of newsroom partners and money raised for the industry.
“Over the years, as more and more newsroom partners used the Hub’s tech stack, we received lots of feedback about what newsrooms were looking for in a contribution management system,” explained Mary Walter-Brown, the Hub’s founder and CEO. All of that feedback, plus the Hub’s own research and expertise, went into the development of RevEngine.
In 2020, under the leadership of Chief Technology Officer Daniel Craigmile, the Hub began working on a 2.0 version of their original contribution management technology. And while the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the development of RevEngine, it also offered the Hub team some valuable perspective. “As we rebuilt our tech stack, we saw an opportunity to create a turnkey tool for any newsroom to solicit donations from their community — especially during times of crisis, when people value them most,” Walter-Brown said.
“We felt very passionately that the news industry needed this.”
The Hub’s product team, led by Director of Product Mariclare Hall, has now released the free version of RevEngine available to all newsrooms, regardless of nonprofit or for-profit status. Features include out-of-the-box contribution page templates, customizable branding and appeal language, mobile payment options, and a portal for contributors to manage payments. Newsrooms can automatically sign up for the software at no cost and begin collecting payments.
While there are many features of RevEngine that the Hub staff is excited about, they’re most proud that the platform is available for any newsroom to use, at no cost. “I love that we’re able to promote a service that’s truly free,” said Tristan Loper, Hub co-founder and COO. “We created this product to help newsrooms become sustainable, whether they work with us in a consulting capacity or not.”
Graham Watson-Ringo, the Hub’s Senior Director of Success, has walked dozens of newsrooms through RevEngine over the past few months. “The one thing I hear constantly is how user-friendly it is,” she said. “It’s mind-blowing how quickly you can get up and running and start a reader revenue program.”
During the NewsMatch end-of-2022 fundraising campaign, 114 newsrooms used RevEngine to collect reader contributions. One of those organizations was OpenCampus, which raised more than $30,600 — the amount they needed to receive their matching funds — through RevEngine.
Lauren Wiley, OpenCampus’ Director of Local Development and Revenue, shared in a follow-up interview with the Hub that it was incredibly easy to set up and customize their donation page. She added that her favorite RevEngine feature was giving people the option to share why they were making a donation.
“When a reader donates to you, it’s about more than just giving money,” Wiley said. “It’s like they’re investing in you and they feel a greater connection to your work.”
The Hub is now in the process of moving its existing newsroom partners to the new platform. Along the way, they’re actively seeking feedback about the features users want to see and how it can help them fundraise and work more efficiently.
Feedback is central to the development and improvement of everything the Hub offers, explained Walter-Brown. “Newsrooms are actively shaping the development of our tools and services,” she said. “It’s a truly organic kind of collaboration that happens in real-time.”
The Hub received generous funding from Google and the Knight Foundation to develop RevEngine. The current version of the contribution management system integrates with the online payment processing platform Stripe, providing frictionless check-out and crucial revenue reports.
Affordably priced, advanced self-service tiers of RevEngine are set to roll out in the spring and fall. These tiers will include email marketing automation, Slack notifications, advanced analytics and more.
For more advanced newsrooms, the Hub offers a RevEngine + Salesforce CRM package, which includes features like custom Salesforce configurations, a dedicated account manager and migration support. RevEngine + Salesforce is now available by request.
“RevEngine is the culmination of a lot of really dedicated, mission-driven work,” said Loper. “To be able to launch it feels great. I’m glad that not only can we improve our own systems, but we can also offer something that’s really valuable to the rest of the world.”