A note on our upcoming funding model
We have had some feedback this week that some of our supporters thought they were helping us provide free accommodation for media trainees.
Our full pricing model is a little more complicated than that, and we are in the process of switching from the pilot model to the sustainable post-launch model. We have developed this model in conversation with many of our past interns, current hosts, and media organisations.
We have put a price on accommodation for four reasons:
so we can cover the cost of having the most stringent safeguarding measures
so we don’t enable long unpaid placements
so we make it clear that D&I is not a charitable endeavour but a business imperative that requires investment
so that we are not dependent on grant funding and can keep helping people without worrying about where our funding is coming from.
Funding Model Accessibility
PressPad aims to provide affordable accommodation, and our hope is that this cost is never covered by interns unless they are being paid. There are actually three levels of support, based on need. You can read more about that here.
Short placements of 1-2 weeks will have no charge. Everyone will be hosted for free for the first two weeks.
For those on longer placements, from 3 weeks onwards there is a cost of £150 per week for those who can afford it.
For those who cannot a means-tested bursary fund is available (we are still working out the details of that means-testing with D&I experts. It takes time to get it right).
Media companies can purchase credit to support their interns by subsidising the cost of accommodation
This information was there in the FAQs, however, based on some of the feedback we’ve had in the last couple of days we realise that going forward we need to be more explicit about the details of the new sustainable model. We now realise we could have prioritised putting that information more front and centre on the website and we will be doing so in the coming months before our launch of the new website and sustainable business model in April.
A note on the deposit
The £300 deposit is only for those being hosted for longer than two weeks and who are paying, not those on the bursary scheme. It is to make sure that a spare room is not wasted and unavailable for someone else if there are frequent last minute cancellations.
We understand that there are situations outside an intern’s control such as illness, health conditions/disabilities or a death in the family. Please be assured we always intended to make exceptions and in these circumstances the deposit will be fully refunded. We will make this clear on our website and in our model.
The deposit also goes towards the final cost of hosting so it is not an additional cost and won’t disadvantage those who cannot put aside an extra £300 for it to be held by a third party.
Information on our website
We have been meeting with a lot of funders and sponsors in addition to the crowdfunding to ensure PressPad has a future. This has taken time and resources away from updating our website and, as such, we have not been as clear about the new sustainable model as we would have liked to have been. We apologise unreservedly for that. We are a very small team of either freelancers or volunteers working on this as our passion project on top of our day jobs.
Our hope is that those who can pay into the system do, either because they’re being paid or because they have the means, and that allows us to help more people who cannot afford it by covering our overheads and contributing to our bursary fund.
Our intention has never been to price anybody out, quite the opposite. We will always commit to matching those most in need first – that means those on bursaries or discount credit will get priority over those paying the unsubsidised cost of hosting. This is a non-negotiable part of our model. We will also keep applying for grants for our bursary and all money donated specifically to the bursary fund will not be used to run the platform.
An important point: We have always said that this new sustainable model is in development and we are open to changing and tweaking it. Coming up with sustainable social innovations to address crucial problems isn’t easy: we’re aware – as all start-ups are – that it’s going to be a rinse/repeat process. As media experts we know our industry well but we’re also on a journey to grow a new and innovative social enterprise and are learning as we go.
It’s crucial for us to listen to everyone’s concerns to make sure PressPad can be the most effective model possible. It’s also crucial for us to be sustainable because if we are not, we don’t have a generous endowment to fall back on or a large team of staff to keep applying for grants to cover basic costs and we will simply stop existing. If that happens, we can’t help anyone.
For anyone concerned, hopefully the fact that Natwest – a bank with a rigorous system of checks and balances – backed us financially as a result of us meeting our target during the Back Her Business crowdfunder, should provide the necessary reassurance that our model is transparent and ethical. In fact, we look forward to being able to publicly announce more well-known corporate supporters very soon. Four of those, The Financial Times, the BBC, The Sun and Metro, came on board at our launch party. They have all seen our business model, scrutinised it and felt it was worth supporting.
But – this issue has certainly brought something home to us. Things have moved very quickly here at the end of 2019. We’ve gone from no money, to more financial support that we dared hoped for. We think that’s a really positive sign. We have clearly hit on a project that people feel passionate about. We thank you all, again, for all your interest and passion and support. Particularly those who have put their own money in.
Now we have funds to do the necessary work that was previously neglected, our priorities are no longer trying to fundraise to save the scheme but rather to make sure we communicate ahead of the new sustainable model launch in April and that we deliver our projects to the satisfaction of our supporters, interns, media orgs, grant funders and sponsors.
We will now update our website copy to make the permanent, post-launch model as clear as possible. And we will continue to take any questions you still have about how it is going to work and, in due course, we will be making our financial accounts public for your scrutiny.
Thanks so much for all the questions and comments. We are listening.