Here at CIR we are as concerned about a sustainable future for investigative reporting as we are about producing high-impact journalism that is important to you. For more than three decades, CIR has relied largely on foundations to support our reporting. We are hard at work now to identify more diverse funding sources, including building our individual donor base. We know that our readers, viewers and listeners are a diverse group and that, if you chose to support our work financially, you will have equally diverse goals for your giving.

Some of you may be able to contribute $100, $500, or even $1,000 a year to support our hard hitting investigative work (you can do that over here. Others may be interested in supporting a specific investigation, like the Civil Rights Cold Case Project or The Price of Sex. Still others of you may want one simple way to support a variety of sites you like and depend on.

Introducing Kachingle, one of the first crowdsourcing services that you can use to support your favorite online news sites and blogs. Kachingle is simple, user-centric and user-controlled alternative to cumbersome subscriptions, paywalls, and pay-per-article plans some media outlets are considering. It requires virtually no effort on your part – you just become a Kachingler, giving $5 a month through PayPal, and then click the Kachingle medallion on the sites you want to support. No credit cards, no passwords. Kachingle will keep track of your visits to each of the sites you’ve selected and at the end of each month, your monthly pay-in to Kachingle (minus small service fees) will be distributed proportionally among your chosen sites based on your visits.

We hope you will become a Kachingler, helping to support journalism’s future online, including the time and resource intensive investigative reporting that CIR produces. Your support alone won’t save investigative reporting but if enough people decide to start supporting the journalism they care about, collectively we have the power to help ensure that this kind of reporting thrives in the future. Once you become a Kachingler, you can share which sites you support with colleagues, friends, and family (and soon Twitter followers and others), and turn them on to the sites you visit.

Join Kachingle — and start supporting CIR and the other sites you like today — by mousing over the medallion to the right of this blog post.

Christa Scharfenberg

Christa Scharfenberg is CEO of The Center for Investigative Reporting. She joined CIR in 2003 as communications manager and has been a leader in its growth from a small nonprofit news organization, producing a handful of stories a year, to a multiplatform newsroom that reaches millions of people monthly through public radio, podcasts, documentaries, social media and the web. She managed the launch and growth of Reveal, CIR's Peabody Award and duPont-Columbia University Award-winning national public radio show and podcast, produced with PRX. She has been an executive or senior producer of documentaries for CIR, including the Academy Award-nominated film “Heroin(e),” numerous FRONTLINE co-productions and the independent film “Banished,” which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Scharfenberg is a member of the Poynter Institute's National Advisory Board and was a 2014 Punch Sulzberger Program fellow at Columbia University Journalism School. Prior to joining CIR, she was associate director of the Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco. She is based in CIR’s Emeryville, California, office.