Lighting the match.

Two full days and a half a day on Saturday is what’s left in the drive.  Yesterday was a really good day with the phones ringing all day, and ringing wildly during Morning Edition and All Things Considered (thanks Catherine Lee of Cinema Center and Andy Welfle of Fort Wayne Dance Collective).  That’s how it’s supposed to go and it felt very good!  Thanks, too, to the scurrying people answering those phones!

I think pledge drives are a pretty weird model for fundraising, if I’m being honest, but it’s the model public media has been working from ever since the government stopped providing the lion’s share of support for public radio and television stations.  And sometimes development people from other organizations think it looks pretty great to be able to just talk to the constituency all at once, with a real voice, and that part is great, I admit.  But how about the part where people can take advantage of the service you provide and never identify themselves, never buy a ticket, never walk through your door in person, never shake your hand or speak their name.  We don’t know who’s listening unless they choose to tell us.  It does make it pretty easy for a listener to never, ever give.

Pledge drives are about finding just the right words at just the right time – the words that make someone realize we are talking to them – the words that make them say, “Oh, man, I should give something!”

And it’s about offering a match.  It still amazes me, and really, it is a very good thing, how people will pick up the phone if we have a match available.  Who doesn’t like having their gift doubled, or an extra $25 added to it?  I am so grateful that we have corporate partners who value what we do enough to put up some cold hard cash to encourage the rest of the community to partner with us, too. And yesterday, it was pretty awesome.  We had challenges from Indiana Michigan Power. Sweetwater. NIPSCO the day before and Midwest Quality and every time we introduce their sweet deals, the phones start ringing. 

Match magic.

So those corporate partners provide a bit of lighter fluid for the fire.  Oh, I kind of like that picture.  The fire’s smoldering all the time (people do give, I firmly believe, because of the message) and then once in a while (because we couldn’t possibly offer matches every minute of the drive) we squirt a little lighter fluid on the coals and whoooosh!  it blazes wildly for a while.  And the fire burns brighter for a long time afterward.

So, thanks, corporate partners, for fanning the flames of this important effort this week. You make an enormous difference in the energy of each day, in the way people feel about making even a small gift, and in the final outcome of our drive.

Haven’t called yet with your gift?  You don’t have to wait for a match, but there will be some today. 

Just sayin’ . . .

Joan

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