In readers we trust: How our community’s responded to Romania Insider’s membership program
In mid-April, we launched Romania Insider Community Memberships. We were overwhelmed by how many of you responded to our call and chose to support our independent media organization by becoming members, whether on an annual or monthly basis. We've pledged to become even more transparent for our readers, so here's how our community building is going so far and what's in store next.
We should begin by saying that we launched our new membership model six months earlier than planned, as we needed alternative funding sources faster than we thought we would. As I write this, we have now exceeded 210 members. Every day, new members join us – and this increases our ability to provide quality, reliable information from Romania.
One of our members even wrote in to say: "Thank you for starting and running Romania Insider. It's especially helpful for non-Romanians like me who live outside Romania (I live in the U.S.) but would like to stay in touch with the developments in Romania regularly through an English language news site.”
Ever since we started this membership program, we promised to keep our core content free. Our small team is working every day to publish and deliver Romania’s essential stories for hundreds of thousands of website readers and more than 9,000 newsletter readers. We have been doing this for ten years and continue to do so for free, because we believe in the power of making important information freely accessible to all.
To provide even more value for our paying members, we offer several benefits:
members can read the website without any advertising banners;
members receive a host of premium newsletters, including a daily and weekly press review service in English, plus a monthly wrap-up newsletter;
Ultra members enjoy free access to our webinars;
and members also receive access to selected, members-only articles.
For our app readers, we now offer separate subscriptions directly through the app markets. Due to technical difficulties, we had to distinguish between website memberships – which offer banner-free reading on the site and a host of other dedicated content – and app subscriptions, which allow subscribers to read all our content within the app. We know many of our readers like to check our content in the app and we’d like to thank everyone who chose to support our organization by selecting an annual or monthly app subscription for iOS or Android.
Our existing team has already started work on the new ideas generated from the feedback we received from our members so far, in addition to keeping up with our members-only content publishing schedule. With the support of our journalists and freelancers, we'd like to diversify our content even more, adding content from different regions of Romania and improving our English-language content by adding native proofreading to most of our stories.
So far, the majority of our running costs are covered through a mix of online advertising and other online services, service and app subscriptions, events and website memberships from both individual readers and corporate/group memberships.
Our aim is to reach 500 members by the end of May, so we still need almost 300 more members to achieve it. So far, with 200 members, we managed to compensate for about 50% of the ad revenue we had lost. Membership revenues are paid to us in monthly tranches over one year. The more of you who choose to become Romania Insider Community Members, the more you will help us continue to focus on our content, rather than using up resources trying to find alternative ways to fund our organization.
If you would like to support us, head to our membership page here, and check out the different membership options. For group memberships or corporate accounts, please get in touch with me directly.
And if you’re not able to offer us support today, perhaps you’d still like to be kept informed about our journey. Sign up for our free newsletters and, along with the amazing content from our team of journalists, you’ll also continue to hear from me with updates like this one.
Your Romania Insider,
Co-founder & Community Manager