Inside Philanthropy Shifts Strategy and Grows  Revenue by 58%

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Inside Philanthropy (IP) was created with a simple goal in mind - to pull back the curtain on one of the most powerful and dynamic forces shaping society. It’s an often secretive world, where anonymous donors can have huge influence over significant issues in society. Everyday, the Inside Philanthropy team of editors and reporters uncovers how foundations and major donors are giving away their money — and why — to bring more transparency and accountability to philanthropic giving when its impact can be felt around the world.

The Need to Monetize Content to Support the Cause

To help support their journalistic efforts, David Callahan, Founder and Editor of IP, initially implemented a simple metered paywall to generate revenue — reader payments are the main source of company revenue, plus a small amount from their job board. After 5 page views of their articles or research reports, visitors were prompted with an offer to purchase either a monthly or annual subscription to continue reading. The paywall covered both the news articles on IP and the sites background funding guides, which are designed to help nonprofit research grant makers and secure support.

Callahan eventually recognized that a hard paywall, with no free page views, made more sense for IP’s funding guides.

“I realized that the funding guides were the most valuable resources on the site and wanted to ensure that anyone accessing them was paying to do so, whether as a monthly or annual subscriber,” said Callahan. “Also, a metered paywall can be gamed by using different browsers and IP addresses, so I wanted to totally close off that avenue for bypassing payment.”

IP Launches Piano VX + Composer

In January 2018, IP launched its new paid content strategy using Piano’s VX and Composer experience management solutions. Under this new approach, IP kept its news articles behind a metered wall and placed their research material behind a hard paywall. To increase engagement and drive conversions, the team designed new paywall templates and placed them throughout the site. For example, since the site’s funding guides covered a variety of topics and issues, IP created custom templates with language specific to each guide.

The effect on conversions and revenue was immediate — and dramatic.   

"Once we put a hard wall in front of our research materials, we experienced a much larger number of people who were hitting the paywall each day,” said Callahan. “In particular, we ended up with more monthly subscribers than in years past.”

Celebrating Strategic Wins

Since January 2018, IP has seen a 70% increase in new subscriptions and a 58% increase in overall revenue. At the same time, monthly subscriptions also increased by as much as 47% — a record high for IP.

“The ultimate goal for us is to continue to boost our number of subscribers and revenue — and we now have the tools in place to do so,” said Callahan. “We love the spirit of learning that surrounds Piano. It’s something that was appealing to us right from the start. Piano’s migration team helped us seamlessly transition to the new platform and took the time to explain all of the new features and functionality we now had at our disposal. We could not be happier with the platform and the ongoing level of support we’ve received.”

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