Romea’s Strategic Pivot: Monetising Community Engagement

Case Study

Name of the media:



Vladimira Dorčova Valtner

Founded in:



The business plan 

Romea is a Czech non-profit media outlet, centred on the Roma community. Through its dedication to journalistic excellence, Romea has established itself as a trusted source for news, features, and commentary, offering nuanced perspectives on Roma culture, history, challenges, and achievements.

The business plan, which emerged from collaboration with their mentor Vladimira Dorčova Valtner during the “Deepening Digital” project, had two primary goals. The first one was to monetise from the community by focusing on crowdfunding. The second aim was to define and create strategic documents around side business development.

The idea was that crowdfunding campaigns and side business services, such as filming, editing and streaming events, will enhance the existing business model of the media, and make Romea more financially sustainable.

Addressing the need for a clear strategy

With a commitment to ethical reporting, Romea is challenging stereotypes, promoting understanding, and advocating for social justice. By elevating Roma narratives and shedding light on issues of discrimination, inequality, and cultural heritage, Romea contributes to a more inclusive and informed society in the Czech Republic and beyond.

The newsroom faced challenges in monetising their media community effectively. Despite having a sizable audience, the lack of a strategy and a clear plan when it came to their sustainability prevented them from monetising their work. Reliance on traditional funding sources had the potential to limit their financial stability and inhibit their ability to expand operations or invest in innovative projects. Also, without a clear plan or direction, Romea struggled to maximise the potential of additional services and fully capitalise on their expertise in video production.


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Commitment to innovation

Despite its longstanding presence in the industry spanning over two decades, Romea recognised the need for a change. It was imperative to accurately define its current situation and develop strategic plans for future growth and diversification of income.

Central to this realisation was the recognition of the untapped potential within their community. Their audience represented not just passive consumers, but active participants whose engagement could be monetised. This involved establishing a social media team, hiring a social media manager and defining and implementing internal guidelines for social media production. Also, it included preparation and implementation of a crowdfunding campaign.

Romea donations page. Source:

Furthermore, Romea identified the need to develop a side business services strategy and timeline as a means of diversifying their income streams. They understood that relying solely on traditional funding sources was no longer sufficient. After scanned internal and external capacities and needs and leveraging their expertise and resources, Romea aimed to offer valuable services such as video production, which could complement their core journalistic endeavours and contribute to their financial sustainability.

This transformation underscored Romea’s commitment to innovation, adaptability, and the ongoing pursuit in serving its community and fulfilling its mission.


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As a result, the media outlet has experienced a more than 75% growth on average on social media, particularly on Tiktok, Linkedin and Instagram.   

Despite changing reader habits, efforts to maintain the number of website users have been successful. From June 2023 media outlet marked the growth of the website visitors between 78% and 520%.

This period was also marked by several important achievements – Romea launched a crowdfunding campaign, reaching 50% of their goal. The editorial office crafted comprehensive guidelines for social networks, outlining best practices, tone of voice, and content strategies to optimise their presence and engagement across various platforms. Simultaneously, they developed detailed Terms of Reference (ToR) for a salesperson, delineating roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators to ensure clarity and alignment with organisational objectives.

The Foundation for Independent Journalism (NFNZ) has published a new update of MediaRating, which evaluates the quality and transparency of Czech media. The news server achieved the highest grade.

Finally, Zdeňek Ryšavý, editor-in-chief of Romea, received the Human Rights Advocate Award at the end of 2023. received the highest grade from The Foundation for Independent Journalism. Source:

Planning and logistical challenges

One of the main challenges during the planning of the crowdfunding campaign was a lack of clarity regarding the campaign’s target group. Delegation of work within the newsroom also proved to be an obstacle.

Despite this, the newsroom exhibited resilience and adaptability. One key strategy involved adjusting the campaign “on the fly,” recognising the need to pivot and refine tactics as new information and insights emerged. This flexibility allowed the team to respond quickly to changing circumstances and optimise their approach in real-time. Moreover, the newsroom extended the duration of the campaign, providing more time to engage with their community and generate support for their cause. By recognising the importance of persistence and perseverance, they demonstrated a commitment to achieving their goals despite setbacks or initial shortcomings.

Romea found motivation in celebrating small internal victories. While the crowdfunding campaign may not have reached its intended target, the team acknowledged the significance of the funds raised from their community, specifically for media and information purposes. By adjusting their approach, extending the campaign duration, and celebrating small victories, they were able to make meaningful progress towards their goals and strengthen their bond with their community.


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“We cannot praise the work with the mentor enough. We received a lot of useful information. If we felt that the progress was not going as fast as we would like, the mentor proposed a path that was compatible for us. It was a very friendly and professional environment.” – Romea team