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A breakthrough year for MinnPost

In 2010, MinnPost ran its first surplus.

A $17,594 surplus on spending of $1.261 million may not sound like much. But this is tremendous vindication for our business model, because it resulted from 18 percent revenue growth, not budget-cutting. 

We ran deficits of $605,000 in 2008, our first full year of operation, and $126,915 in 2009. (We were spending down the start-up funds we raised in 2007.) So it has taken us just three years to reach break-even.

Most notably, our advertising and sponsorship revenue rose 42 percent, from $217,734 in 2009 to $309,508 in 2010. That’s on top of a 35 percent increase the previous year.

Revenue from individual and corporate donors and from MinnRoast increased a more modest 5 percent, to $482,190. But in a sign of strong community support, 631 new donors joined the MinnPost family, an increase of 37 percent, bringing the total donor base to 2,338. And 170 donors gave more in 2010 than they had in 2009.

We launched a new Corporate Leadership Circle in 2010 with donations from the Medtronic Foundation and the General Mills Foundation, to support coverage of issues critical to the future of Minnesota.

We continue to benefit as well from strong support from major Minnesota-based foundations (McKnight, Blandin, Minneapolis, Bremer and now Bush) and from national foundations (Knight and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation).

Can we continue to grow? We are optimistic that we can. Here’s one impressive indicator: We have already booked more than $130,000 of advertising and sponsorship revenue for 2011. That’s twice as much as we had booked in advance for 2010. That’s why we feel confident about increasing our spending on both journalism and technology in 2011. 

Our revenue growth is very much tied to the popularity of our site, and that, too, is trending up strongly. In the second half of 2010, we saw substantial growth in traffic to Visits by Minnesotans (which we consider to be the most important measure for us strategically) rose 18 percent over the same time period in 2009. In the last quarter of 2010, we averaged more than 450,000 visits (up 14 percent) and more than 850,000 page views a month (up 16 percent).   

 Other healthy signs:

  • We have more than 8,800 followers on Twitter, an increase of about 70 percent from last year.
  • Our main Facebook page is liked by 3,500-plus readers, more than double last year’s number.

And of course, the popularity of the site is a direct result of outstanding journalism:  Every day, MinnPost provides some of the best reporting and analysis of public affairs that can be found anywhere in Minnesota. The MinnPost annual report [PDF], from which this summary is taken, has a two-page spread on the journalism highlights of the year, on pages 2 and 3.

Heartfelt thanks to our hard-working staff, contract and contributing journalists, Board of Directors, Advisory Council, Greater MN Advisory Group, large and small donors, MinnRoast sponsors, comment moderators and other active volunteers. We’ve listed donor names starting on page 6. Please let us know of any omissions. And if you haven’t yet become a donor, please consider this a personal invitation.

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Comments (2)

Congratulations! You took on a huge challenge and you have managed it admirably. It's taken much more dedication and hard work than most of us realize, and a good dose of creativity, too. I'm delighted with your success.

Congrats MinnPost! I love reading Borzi, Brauer, Aschy, Jay and my favorite Steve Berg every week. I have been reading since day one, donated in 2009, unfortunately couldn't this year because of financial constraints but I made sure to click-though ads instead.