Pledge drivin’

Things are humming in the office and it’s not just the buzz from the transmitter.  We’re closing in on spring pledge drive – March 20 – 27 – and that always means lots of activity, even more this spring than usual.

We don’t always use a “theme” because there’s always an underlying theme — now’s the time for listeners to invest in what they hear.   This time, though, we really want to think about what it is we’re supporting when we give.  “I choose to support public radio because . . . ” is the leading line for much of what we’re doing.

To encourage all our listeners to think about the particulars of what they value, David Hunter, our membership manager, and Lea Denny, our events manager, have been asking all sorts of folks who happen to be in the building to step back into the studio and tell us what they are supporting when they give.  What fun this has been and good for us, too, to be reminded of what it is we provide to the community. You’ll hear these spots all throughout the drive and then during regular programming all year long.  Nice to hear these unique thoughts about why pub radio matters so much in the life of this community.

Pledge drives are not everybody’s favorite time.  Some of you tell us that, honestly, during pledge drive you listen to another station or pull podcasts of NPR programs, or just plug in the ipod and do the music thing.  We get it and understand.  If that’s you, just don’t forget to tune us back in — and don’t forget to make your gift.

The real value of an on-air effort is to make the case to people who listen, but don’t give, that public radio isn’t free but is a shared community resource that needs support from, well, the whole community. During any given week, between 40,000 and 50,000 different people spend at least a little time tuned in to WBOI/WBNI (and each year about 3,000 make a gift). Until a listener identifies him/herself, we don’t know them, so can’t invite them to give, unless we do it over the air.  People who give regularly do give regularly and we know you don’t really need an on-air appeal to motivate you to support.

Our goal this spring is an optimistic $150,000.  Yes, it is higher than usual but like many organizations and businesses, this is a challenging year and we need to challenge ourselves and you to stretch.  Really, though, and this is just me, it seems like we ought to be able to do this easily.  If half of the people who listen every week sent in ten bucks, that would be $200,000.  Many, many of you do way, way more than that on a consistent basis so shouldn’t we be able to just blow the top off this goal?

Anyone who’s been around me much knows that my goal is to get to the place where we can have a couple two- or three-day drives every year and spend the rest of the time producing and airing the news, information, and music you count on from us.  We’d all be pretty happy with that scenario and think that you would be, too.

Let’s see what we can do this spring to move in that direction.  You are important, valued, and appreciated all year-round  – you listeners and members – and especially during this pledge drivin’ time.  Thanks for the part you play.  We’re going to get it done as quickly and enjoyably as we can and look forward to talking to you on the phone or hearing from you through the online giving option.

And we’re always glad for ideas about how to do it better.



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