Keep New Naratif Independent

New Naratif needs your support to survive. To be able to continue operating this year, we need to raise a total of US$226,336—that’s 4,353 new members. Please join our movement to create a freer, more democratic Southeast Asia.


New Naratif’s fundraising campaign has ended on Friday, 2 July 2021, 11:59 p.m. GMT +8.

New Naratif is deeply grateful for all your support during these difficult times. We are pleased to announce that we’ve raised a final total of US$117,821.75 through new memberships, donations and three grants. Thanks to you, we will be able to keep New Naratif running for another year! 

In the last days of fundraising, we received a final donation of US$6,500, which has taken us past Checkpoint 1 of our fundraising goals. This will allow us to retain all our team members into 2022. We will also be able to bring on our Editorial team full-time for the next six months, thanks to a generous grant we received in June focused on migration reporting. That means you’ll have more great stories and events to look forward to in the year to come! 

This fundraiser was, in many ways, a big experiment for us. We aimed high with our objectives. We wanted to be 100% member-funded by July. We wanted to increase salaries for our team members, and increase our editorial budget and security spending. In short, we wanted to make our work more financially sustainable, and in doing so, focus all our time and energy on better content for our members and greater advocacy efforts for media freedom. 

These goals have not changed. Though we may not have gotten everything we asked for, we have nonetheless achieved key fundraising goals that will allow us to reach greater heights. We raised 34% more money than we did in 2020. 258 new members joined us in two short months. Our income in May and June increased by 230% compared to April and March. This is all thanks to you—our members, donors and followers. You have shown us that while the road to sustainability may be long, our destination is not impossible to reach. 

Currently, 30% of our expenses are supported by members. According to data from the Membership Puzzle Project, this is the average revenue generated from memberships in much bigger newsrooms. By 2025, we aim to be one of very few media organisations in the world that are funded solely by members.

Going forward, we will continue to strive for sustainability through memberships.

Thank you once again for your support for New Naratif this year!

New Naratif needs your support to survive. 

Total Funds Raised

To be able to continue operating this year, we need to raise a total of US$226,336—that’s 4,353 new members. Please click here to join our movement to create a freer, more democratic Southeast Asia.

With 1 day to the end of our fundraiser, a generous donor will match all donations to New Naratif up to US$10,000! 

From now until Friday, 2 July, 11:59 p.m. GMT +8, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to US$10,000. Help us meet our fundraising goal by making a donation before 2 July and double the impact of your donation! Check out our matching campaign.

We have raised US$91,278.24 from 239 new memberships and 143 one-off donations and a grant.
(per 1 July 2021, 5.30 p.m. GMT +8)

An appeal from our Managing Director, PJ Thum

Here are 10 reasons to become a New Naratif member today:

Our stories change lives. After we reported on the lack of funding for refugee education in Malaysia in January, donations from New Naratif readers allowed at least 14 refugee children to continue their education.

We are under attack. Constant harassment by the Singapore government takes a financial and psychological toll on our team. Our members give us a reason to keep fighting for democracy and free expression.

We are fighting to protect our independence. We are non-profit, ad-free and non-partisan. We do not have sponsored content, and we do not sell your data. We will never compromise our editorial independence for the sake of funding; each of our members makes this one degree easier.

Our work is by Southeast Asians, for Southeast Asians. Everyone on our team is either from the region or has lived here for years. We have published in seven languages. We are not foreign correspondents. We do not do parachute journalism.

We resist imperialism. We are aware that where there is foreign capital there is foreign influence. Our stories highlight the many ongoing struggles to defend the sovereignty of the people of Southeast Asia.

We are a home for Southeast Asian artists. The written word cannot sufficiently express the experiences and aspirations of Southeast Asians. That’s why we pay visual artists a fair rate to illustrate our stories and create original comics. You won’t find this work anywhere else, and we need your support to keep it going.

Our visuals are always on point. Our visual identity is carefully curated and beautifully presented by our one-person Arts and Design Department. We know this gives the impression that we are well-funded, but it is purely a function of our team’s incredible talent and hard work.

Our freelance contributors deserve better rates. Starting 1 May, we will raise our base rate for journalism from US$200 to US$250 per article. We recognise that this does not reflect the labour—reporting, writing, editing, fact-checking—that goes into a piece of long-form journalism. But as long as our memberships increase, so will our rates.

We are a community and a movement. Our readers and members have a direct line to our team via Discord, and we host regular online meetings with members through our Sekolah Democracy and Baca programmes.

We are overworked and underpaid. You would be shocked by the number of hours our 11-person team puts into the journalism, research, comics, podcasts and events we produce across Southeast Asia. This work will never be profitable, but your membership can make it sustainable.

See examples of what we do at
Read our manifesto at

Fundraising Checkpoints

The more memberships and one-off donations we receive over the next two months, the more stories and events we can bring you over the next year. We are aiming to raise US$226,336 from 4,353 new members, but we are nonetheless preparing for three potential outcomes. A detailed breakdown of the budget at each checkpoint can be found here.

1. We raise 51% of our goal—US$117,372 from 2,257 new members. Our salaries will remain unchanged, but our editorial budget and output will be cut by 40%.

2. We raise 81% of our goal—US$183,422 from 3,527 new members. New Naratif will implement a more equitable pay scale. We will also be able to bring our Editorial team on full-time, for the first time ever since our founding.

3. We raise 100% of our goal—US$226,336 from 4,353 new members. We will implement a more equitable pay scale, bring our Editorial team on full-time, publish at full capacity, raise rates for contributors, upgrade our website, hold monthly events and provide professional psychosocial support to our team.

In the interests of transparency and accountability, we issue transparency reports—including full financial statements—every six months.

Ways to Support New Naratif

Anyone can donate as little as US$1, but our mission for 2021 is to build up our membership base to reduce our reliance on grants and donors. To reach our goal of US$226,336, we need a total of 4,353 new members at the lowest membership tier.

Memberships start at US$5 per month, or US$52 annually. Check out our membership page to see the benefits of each tier. 

Everyone who joins as a monthly or annual member during the fundraising period—5 May to 30 June—will receive the New Naratif Fundraising 2021 Digital Wallpaper Series

Annual memberships are available at four tiers, each with its own perks and merchandise:

Annual Memberships

(US$ 4.33/month)

The Dedicated Member

Full access to New Naratif content.

Access to members-only events, workshops and classes.

Access to the New Naratif Members’ Channel on Discord.

Digital Wallpaper Series.

Digital Certificate with “The Dedicated Member” Badge.


The Friendly Neighbour

Full access to New Naratif content.

Access to members-only events, workshops and classes.

Access to the New Naratif Members’ Channel on Discord.

Digital Wallpaper Series.

Digital Certificate with “The Friendly Neighbour” Badge.

Your membership opens the door to our content for another person.


The Team

Full access to New Naratif content.

Access to members-only events, workshops and classes.

Access to the New Naratif Members’ Channel on Discord.

Digital Wallpaper Series.

Digital Certificate with “The Team Player” Badge.

One New Naratif Artwork Gallery-quality Print.

Your membership powers up five more people with New Naratif content.


The Force

Full access to New Naratif content.

Access to members-only events, workshops, and classes.

Access to the New Naratif Members’ Channel on Discord.

Digital Wallpaper Series

Digital Certificate with “The Force Multiplier” Badge.

Three New Naratif Artwork Gallery-quality Prints.

Your membership opens New Naratif’s content up to ten more people.

Your Membership Matters

When You PayYou Fund One of the Following:
  • Honorarium for one Baca speaker
  • Two photos for a journalism article
  • One journalism article with two photos
  • Two original illustrations for a journalism article
  • Translations of two journalism articles
  • One research article
  • Two episodes of the Southeast Asia Dispatches podcast
  • Events for one month
  • One original comic
  • Podcasts for one month
  • Half of one team member’s monthly salary

Your Donation Matters

What You PayWhat You Fund
US$50One photo for an article
US$150A translation of one article
US$250One long-form journalism article
US$350One month of psychosocial support for our team
US$450Four podcast episodes
US$500One long-form journalism article with illustrations; or one original comic
US$800Legal, editing and proofreading fees for one episode of The Show with PJ Thum
US$1,000One month’s salary for a team member, on average
US$5,000One year’s Freelancer Emergency Fund

New Naratif Exclusive Merchandise

For a limited time, exclusive merchandise is available for those who sign up for an annual membership between 5 May and 30 June!

NOTE: We will inform you about delivery information once the fundraising period is over.


New Naratif Sun Bear Digital Wallpaper and Signal Stickers Pack Limited Edition Series

What’s not to love about sun bears? Every annual membership comes with a limited edition digital wallpaper and Signal stickers pack featuring New Naratif’s beloved mascot, the sun bear!

New Naratif 2021 Artwork Prints

For US$302/year or more, you will receive one gallery-quality print of an artwork (12 x 18 inches) by a New Naratif contributing artist. Artwork options: “Malaysia Class Politics” by Amita Sevellaraja, “Defiance” by Kevin Hlaing, and “Hail Democracy! Quack Quack!!” by Louis Sketcher.

New Naratif 2021 Digital Certificate and Membership Badges

For US$102/year or more, you will receive a digital certificate and a membership badge signifying your level of support. You can print it and frame it on your wall or share it on social media with the hashtag #KeepNNIndependent!

Take Action! Become a Member or Donate

Please Boost Our Campaign!

Help spread the news by sharing it on social media. You can use the image and the captions we’ve prepared for you here. Feel free to use your own caption—just make sure to include #KeepNNIndependent.

Download the original images here.

PREMADE CAPTIONS (select one):

1. Help @newnaratif survive another year! To continue operating this year, NN needs to raise a total of US$226,336. Please join NN’s movement to create a freer, more democratic Southeast Asia. Go to #KeepNNIndependent
Click to Tweet

2. I joined @newnaratif as a member today—you should too! NN needs to raise US$226,336 in order to continue publishing. Let’s create a freer, more democratic Southeast Asia together. Find out more at #KeepNNIndependent
Click to Tweet

3. Support independent media in Southeast Asia! @newnaratif is raising a total of US$226,336—that’s 4,354 new members—to continue operating this year. NN is non-profit, ad-free and non-partisan. Find out more at #KeepNNIndependent
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