low clouds cover a mountain
the latest

Eyes on the (Curve) Ball: Long-Term Sustainability Work During COVID

Apr 04, 2020

While Population Media Center brings determination, enthusiasm, and expertise to our media projects, we ultimately rely on donors to fuel our operations.

Individual donors are an important source of PMC’s support. Our relatively small, but loyal donor base makes gifts of all sizes. Some give just $10 per year, while others are able to contribute much more. Suffice it to say, every single contribution is extremely valuable and demonstrably helps move PMC’s work forward. Donations are crucial to the long-term financial health of the organization. Our longstanding relationships and partnerships with bilateral and multilateral funding agencies are also crucial components of our funding engine. All in all, the combination of individuals and institutional philanthropic support has allowed us to do a lot of good work globally and impact millions of people around the world.

For example, in collaboration with national health ministries and other trusted information sources like the World Health Organization, we have moved quickly to respond to the current COVID-19 crisis. Our networks of broadcasting partners and entertaining dramas have served as pre-built, credible content delivery systems to help mitigate the impacts of this terrifying scourge. Epilogues, social media, and our dramas themselves are already being leveraged in the urgent need to communicate public health best practices.

Nevertheless, to strategically expand our long-term operations, it would be empowering to be less encumbered by the restrictions that sometimes come with institutional funding. Individual support allows PMC nimbleness and flexibility in pursuing our work and our mission. So, we are always aiming to grow our cohort of loyal donors. Unlike many mainstream organizations, PMC focuses on human population size and growth as key aspects of global sustainability. This dedication to the population issue, and our proud foundational commitment to human-rights-enhancing solutions to it, sets us apart from many other NGOs.

Yet of the six countries that are projected to contribute over half of the total global population growth by 2100, PMC has ongoing operations in only two of these right now: Ethiopia and Nigeria. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, our programming recently concluded and we are working hard to continue operations there. We are not yet working at all with in-country creative and production teams in Angola, Tanzania, or Pakistan. These countries represent critical tactical opportunities to positively influence the rights of women and girls, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and population growth — and it’s not clear when PMC will be able to get started in them.

While many heavy-hitting funding agencies are interested in supporting work on population, environment, and the rights of women and girls, it might still be several years before the stars align for PMC to work in these countries. If so, it will not be because of a lack of effort on our part. There are simply requests for proposals to respond to, bureaucratic hurdles to clear, and unavoidable red tape to cut. Meanwhile, the combined population of Angola, Tanzania, and Pakistan increases by 137,000 people per week, or about 7.1 million per year. Add in Democratic Republic of Congo, and those numbers increase to 191,000 per week and 9.9 million per year.

Individual donors to PMC are typically well-informed about the interconnected issues of social and environmental sustainability. They value organizations that can show measurable impact and evidence-driven solutions. Moreover, they want solutions that address the root causes of an issue. They want an organization capable of thought leadership on these topics — thinking, writing, and speech that can help them advocate for the causes they care about by sharing valuable content.

Today, we thank you for your interest in Population Media Center. Our flexible, reproducible formula for creating hit entertainment works across people, places, and media environments and is designed to impact multiple social, health, and environmental challenges — allowing us to immediately address urgent issues like COVID-19. Meanwhile, our long-range work helps ensure future generations can enjoy a population that is no longer growing and is, instead, moving naturally towards a better equilibrium with the planet. No matter what we are working on, we engage audiences, change ideas, and empower people to make better-informed decisions.