The Big Give SA: Help the Rivard Report Fulfill its Mission

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(From left) Councilman John Courage (D9) and Rivard Report Editor-In-Chief Beth Frerking engage in a discussion at the Rivard Report Conversations with the Council series at Weathered Souls Brewing Co. in February.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

(From left) Councilman John Courage (D9) and Rivard Report Editor-In-Chief Beth Frerking engage in a discussion at the Rivard Report Conversations with the Council series at Weathered Souls Brewing Co. in February.

As nearly anyone with an email address knows, Thursday is the fifth annual The Big Give SA, during which nonprofits across the San Antonio landscape spend 24 intense hours enlisting support.

Yes – we, too, have contributed to the flood of emails filling your inbox. We’ve limited our marketing efforts, trying to seek a balance between creating awareness and respecting your space. That meant no email blitzes.

The Big Give, here and across the country, is a marathon fundraising effort by thousands of participating organizations in each city, each one with its own compelling story, important service to community, and real financial needs. This is the third year of participation for the Rivard Report, which began publication more than six years ago but only turned nonprofit in 2015.

Please click here to be among the first to donate this year. This year we ask donors to give us their reason for reading and supporting the Rivard Report. We hope to collect 300 reasons, which will be incorporated into this year’s member Fiesta medal.

Our mission is an important one that we believe is worthy of your financial support during this 24-hour period that begins at midnight and runs until midnight Friday. The Rivard Report has become part of this city for the people who live here, and serves as a key news and information source for people moving here, visiting here, or who miss living here. Newspapers, once the very glue that connected everyone and everything in communities large and small, are now shadows of their former selves, with greatly diminished newsrooms, circulation, and reach. Some of us remain diehard readers, but most people pick up their smartphones when they want news or information, and rely on social media feeds.

Nonprofit local media are helping fill some of the space once dominated by the dailies. There are than 140 members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, including the Rivard Report in San Antonio and the Texas Tribune in Austin, which serves a statewide audience and shares its editorial content with our site.

Our value proposition at the Rivard Report is simple: We believe a well-informed and well-connected community is essential to making San Antonio a better place to live, work, and play. You can depend on our local journalism. It’s credible, fact-based, and aims to drive civic engagement throughout the greater San Antonio area. We do not cover everything. There is enough general crime and sports news, for example, in the local mainstream media, so we focus where we believe there is greater need and interest: public education, public health, local government, energy and the environment, neighborhoods, businesses, tech, military and cybersecurity, profiles, strong visuals, and a growing podcast presence.

We ask you to support that mission.

The Rivard Report growth continues today at every level. With each passing quarter, we increase the number of stories we publish, and our readership expands in size, geographic location, and diversity of age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Late last year we recruited a nationally recognized editor, Beth Frerking, to lead our growing team of journalists. Since her arrival six months ago, we have added Energy and Environmental Reporter Brendan Gibbons; Education Reporter Emily Donaldson; and Tech Reporter JJ Velasquez.

The Rivard Report’s business team led by Chief Operating Officer Jenna Mallette continues to grow our rolls of individual and business members and attract strong foundation and philanthropic support. This week we bid farewell to Mason Stark, our membership coordinator and a recent Trinity University graduate, who is leaving to spend a year or two working with the World Organization of Organic Farmers who are engaged in sustainable food cultivation around the world. We welcomed Melissa Garcia, who formerly worked for the San Antonio Education Partnership and Cafe College.

Our advertising reflects how many local businesses, from giants like H-E-B to smaller companies like Alamo Brewery, support our journalism and value a connection with our readers. Our editorial content and our advertising are carefully curated. We don’t subject our readers to a paywall, to clickbait, or unwanted video ads. Our comments section attracts passionate voices, but opinions are expressed with respect for others. Trolls are not welcome.

There is more growth on our horizon, but we need the support of our readers to sustain our enterprise and our service to the community. For current members, we invite you to make a token donation to express your support for us on this day, realizing that we are eligible for bonuses based on the number of unique donors who support our cause on this single day.

For readers who have not yet taken the step to join as supporting members, we think the Big Give SA is the perfect time to do so. We promise to work hard to demonstrate that your annual gift proves to be a wise investment in the Rivard Report and in your community.

In 2016, the Rivard Report raised $10,912 from 201 donations and won an additional $7,500 for the most donors in its category. In 2017, we raised $17,654 from 284 donations and won an additional $6,000 for most donors in our category. This year? We think we can do even better with your help.

Thank you for your consideration and for your readership. Once again, click here to donate.

2 thoughts on “The Big Give SA: Help the Rivard Report Fulfill its Mission

  1. Last year the Big Give was in May, this year March. Are we on a ten-month cycle, with the 2019 in Jan, and then twice in 2020?
    As a five-year donor, I feel my data has been compromised, for in the past several weeks I have been bombarded with emails from groups I have no interest in and wonder why the fact that I have donated was shared with many groups. I received the first email one full week before the big day today. If the Rivard group can advise the organizers, tell them that the welcome will wear thin if greedy organizations annoy too many of us.

  2. Hi Jack,

    Thanks for your comment on this. It is concerning that you’re receiving email from organizations you do not recognize. For the record, The Rivard Report does not sell or share donor information with any other entities. Here is the Big Give’s policy on this matter, taken from their website (https://www.thebiggivesa.org/info/faq):

    “Q. Who will receive my contact information?
    A: The organization(s) you choose to support will have access to your contact information. It is up to you to tell the nonprofit if you would like to remain anonymous to the public, should the nonprofit choose to publicly thank you. Your information would be used solely to send your email receipt via tax purposes and thank you messages, provide the option to receive future notifications, and to notify you of future activities.

    “Upon donating, you can choose to opt in to the Big Give emails. We send periodic email updates throughout the year on nonprofit spotlights and Big Give updates. If you choose not to opt in to the Big Give emails, we will contact you only if there is a problem with your donation or if there is an extremely important issue or crisis notification.”

    -Mason Stark
    Membership, Rivard Report

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