Membership FAQs: Everything you need to know about being a Lookout member

Our goal is to create delightful, seamless experience for all Lookout Santa Cruz members so you can fully enjoy the site, content and suite of member benefits. We’ve authored this set of frequently asked questions to help. If your question isn’t on this list, please email and we’ll get right back to you.

Is Lookout’s membership program the same as a subscription?

It’s similar, but not the same, and includes features and benefits beyond a typical subscription. We all buy subscriptions to things we like. In the business, that’s called a transactional relationship. We hope you like Lookout content a lot and that we give you great value for your money.

Membership implies more, and is a better word to describe our relationship with you, our readers, and our community. In Lookout’s case, with our unique “Read, lead and help others” community betterment model, readers get the value of our deeply reported, trustworthy journalism and also tangibly support civic improvement with their membership. It’s a “two-fer”: a good local news product + community betterment. Plus, members receive additional, special benefits such as direct access to our newsroom, insider access to special events and experiences, Lookout merchandise, and more.

What do I get as a member?

A lot! Starting with full access to Lookout’s comprehensive local journalism and 24/7 news report, and the confidence from knowing that your membership directly supports this work. But that’s just the beginning. All Lookout memberships empower community betterment — 10 percent of your membership is contributed to one of five not-for-profit Civic Partners that you choose from, each doing important community-improving work. As a member, you’ll also receive direct access to Lookout’s newsroom, a members-only email newsletter from Executive Editor Chris Fusco, early access to special members-only events and experiences, and more.

The full list of Lookout member benefits can be seen here:

Can I share my Lookout membership?

Memberships are for households, and you are welcome to share your sign-on/password credentials within your household. Since Lookout Santa Cruz is largely paid for by reader membership, we ask you not to share more widely.

Can I give Lookout membership as a gift?

Yes! Simply follow this link, then click the “Gift a Subscription” button near the top of the page and follow the checkout workflow to complete your purchase. Choose monthly or annual and select a Lookout Civic Partner to support through the membership. You’ll then be asked to enter the recipient’s information and can include a custom gift note if you would like.

I signed up for an annual membership. When do I get my T-shirt?

They are on the way, highlighting the logo you’ve told us you love. We’ll notify you as soon as they are ready.

How do I take advantage of the Santa Cruz Insiders experiences?

These are in planning, mindful of current COVID-19 limitations. We’ll have an update in January and look forward to starting them soon.

How does your unique Civic Partners program work? How do I choose a not-for-profit organization to which to contribute part of my membership fee?

Lookout’s Civic Partners program acts on our core belief that high-quality local news and civic engagement are connected at their core. We’ve put this belief into action by partnering with five reputed 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations to enable all Lookout members to support their community-bettering work as they support us.

When you sign up to become a Lookout member, simply select one of the five Civic Partners — Coastal Watershed Council, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, DigitalNEST, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County or Second Harvest Food Bank — and 10 percent of your membership for the first year will do directly to the organization of your choosing. There’s nothing else you have to do. Lookout will take the 10 percent from its own proceeds and contribute it to your chosen not-for-profit on your behalf.

When I sign up to become a Lookout Santa Cruz member, how will I know when my purchase is complete?

When you complete your membership purchase, you will receive an email from Lookout Santa Cruz with the subject line “Your Receipt from Lookout Santa Cruz.” Please be sure to check your email spam folder if it doesn’t arrive in your primary inbox.

How do I know if I’m signed into the Lookout website as a member?

When you visit, you’ll notice that the “Become a Member” button in the navigation at the top of the website goes away, replaced by an icon of a person. When you click this icon, you’re able to access your account and will see a “Manage Subscription” field. This is also accessible by clicking the circular button with the Lookout Santa Cruz logo in the bottom right corner of the page.

If I’m an active member, does this mean I’m automatically signed up for your email newsletters?

Not necessarily. If you became a member without registering your email address on the site, click either the person avatar at the top right of your screen (directly next to the “Partners” tab) or the circular button with the Lookout Santa Cruz logo at the bottom right to access your account settings, labeled “My Account.” Then, click “Manage Newsletters,” where you can sign up for both the Morning Lookout newsletter and Lookout News Alerts, and change your preferences.

Is there a Lookout app I can use?

Not at this point. However, there’s an easy way to get to us on your phone.

You can add our colorful logo to your home screen, making your own app-like icon for quick tapping.

  • For iPhone users, you’ll need to use the Safari browser on the phone to do that.
  • For Android users, you’ll need to use the Chrome browser on the phone to do it.

Here’s the detailed explanation:

Add Lookout to your phone

The Lookout Santa Cruz website can function like a mobile app on your iPhone or Android device.

On an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Launch the “Safari” app.
  2. Enter in the URL field.
  3. Tap the icon featuring an arrow coming out of a box along the bottom of the Safari browser.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and tap “Add to Home Screen.” The Lookout wave icon will appear. Click “Add” or “Save” in the upper righthand corner to add it to your homescreen.
  5. Safari will close automatically and you will be taken to where the icon is located on your screen.
  6. For quick check-in reference, you can move the icon around your home screen by holding it down and choosing “Edit Home Screen.”

On an Android phone:

  1. Launch the “Chrome” app.
  2. Enter in the URL field.
  3. Tap the menu icon (3 dots in upper right-hand corner) and tap “Add to Homescreen.”
  4. You’ll be able to enter a name for the shortcut and then Chrome will add it to your home screen.
  5. Move it to your home screen for quick check-in reference.

Bookmark Lookout to your desktop computer

  1. From the web browser of your choice, type
  2. Go to the bookmarks menu. Click “Add bookmark” or “Bookmark this tab.”
  3. Name the bookmark whatever you like. We suggest Lookout Santa Cruz. Those words will now be in your saved bookmarks.

Do you offer enterprise memberships for businesses and organizations wanting to provide Lookout membership for their employees?

We do. Whether you’re looking to purchase memberships for your employees, or offer them special discounted membership, Lookout has flexible plans to meet your needs. Enterprise memberships begin at five individuals or more, and can be tailored per company or organization. Contact Chief Revenue Officer Jed Williams to request additional information:

What is your Founders Circle membership program? How can I participate?

Founders Circle members uniquely understand Lookout’s growing value as an investigative and accountability leader, and want to help grow our reporting impact as quickly as possible by contributing at a higher level.

At a level of $1,000 a year or more, Founders Circle members can see the impact of our accountability reporting, as evidenced by our Access Democracy initiative and more. In addition, these memberships are largely tax-deductible. If you’re passionate about helping Lookout make Santa Cruz County a better place, please consider joining our Founders Circle. Contact CEO Ken Doctor directly at to learn more.

How does your Student Access Program work?

Students, now more than ever, need access to trustworthy, factual, non-partisan news. With Lookout’s special Student Access Program, they get it. Our Student Access Program, first launched for all of Cabrillo College’s 13,000 students, has been funded by generous benefactors who underwrite the program.

Lookout now seeks to expand this program to all UC Santa Cruz and high school students, and other deserving groups. Please contact CEO Ken Doctor at to learn more about this program and opportunities to participate.

If I want to become a member without giving to a specific non-for-profit Civic Partner, can I?

Yes. We want community betterment through support of our not-for-profit partners to be a universal benefit for Lookout members. However, for those who elect not to give to a Civic Partner, simply use this link to become a Lookout member.

If I want to cancel membership, how do I do that?

Simply open your account settings by clicking on the circular button with the Lookout Santa Cruz logo at the bottom right of the screen, select “Manage Subscription,” and click “Stop Subscribing.” Your membership will be canceled.

If I have any other questions about Lookout Santa Cruz membership, who do I contact?

Email us at and a member of the team will get back to you right away.