Revenue rises for NLGJA after joining UNITY

NLGJA Executive Director Michael Tune, left, Sharif Durhams and Patty Mattern at LGBT Media Summit.

NLGJA Executive Director Michael Tune, left, Sharif Durhams and Patty Mattern at LGBT Media Summit.

Revenue has been increasing substantially for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association over the past two years as the organization joined UNITY: Journalists for Diversity and boosted its fundraising.

NLGJA ended 2012 with revenue totaling $524,607, an approximately 40 percent increase from 2011′s total of $373,349.

NLGJA Executive Director Michael Tune noted that NLGJA’s 2012 revenue increased due to its new partnership with UNITY, which hosted a larger convention as an alliance of journalism groups. “It’s like comparing apples to oranges in many ways,” Tune said.

Even without a UNITY convention this year, NLGJA projects that it will see continued financial growth in 2013, with projected revenue of about $580,000. Recently, NLGJA and the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) were awarded a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. Together, the organizations will work on a project to diversify news coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Nebraska.

Still, NLGJA leaders said they are constantly seeking new sources of revenue to support the organization’s work.

“I’d love every one of our members to know that they have an important part to play in continuing to help us achieve those goals by making contributions, finding additional sources for funding and helping bring new members into the fold,” NLGJA President Jen Christensen said in an e-mail interview.

This year, NLGJA secured several new sponsorships from non-media organizations. Those sponsorships include donations of about $15,000 each from vodka maker Stoli, Prudential Financial and Toyota Financial, among others.

“NLGJA has had non-media sponsors at its convention for more than a decade,” Tune said.

According to NLGJA’s fundraising policy, the organization seeks out companies that have a history of working with the LGBT community and a good track record of workplace fairness.

Another new sponsor this year is One Personal Lubricants, which might surprise some convention attendees.

Christensen said she approved of the new sponsorship.

“This particular sponsor is Boston-based, and we were happy to find local support for our mission,” Christensen said. “This is an FDA-approved product that is showcased at health fairs and has a company mission that is complementary to ours.”

The company also donates a portion of its sales to HIV-prevention programs in Boston,  Christensen said.

In short, it takes a variety of funding sources to maintain NLGJA’s financial stability, she said. If a company shares common goals with the organization, then they will be accepted as a sponsor.

“We feel like NLGJA has such an essential mission — promoting fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community and providing networking opportunities and professional development for our members,” Christensen said. “Funding, of course, helps us to achieve this organization’s goals.”

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