Funder Perspectives: Assessing Media Investments

Funder Perspectives: Assessing Media Investments

The greatest challenges media funders face in evaluating the impact of the productions and campaigns they support are lack of consensus in the field about what constitutes "impact" and lack of clarity about methods and measures, a report from finds. Based on responses from a survey of foundations that awarded five or more grants or grants totaling more than $250,000 between 2009 and 2011, the report, (22 pages, PDF), found that media funders vary widely in their investments in terms of funding strategies, issue areas, platforms, types of projects, and outcomes sought, with the latter ranging from "educating audiences" (70 percent) to "increasing awareness of a particular issue or topic" (67 percent), "changing media users' attitudes or behavior" (20 percent), and "empowering media users to express themselves" (20 percent). That diversity of approaches may prove to be a strength rather than a weakness, the report concludes, enabling small groups of like-minded funders and grantees to develop and test tools and methodologies specific to their shared goals.