This spring, public radio stations across the country will begin their traditional on-air pledge drives. While they will be raising critical funds necessary to serve their communities, they will also be interrupting programs for a full week (or more).
We think there's a better way. Last spring, VPR eliminated an entire pledge drive because fans and friends across the region contributed before the scheduled start of the on-air drive.
The feedback was tremendous! We heard from listeners who applauded this new approach and appreciated the fact that regular programming would not be preempted for fundraising.
So, the question is…can we do it again?
That’s all up to you. Our promise is simple — this campaign will end when we meet our $425,000 goal. If we meet this goal by March 31, the traditional membership drive - complete with program interruptions - won’t even begin.
You can pave the way for our continued success and minimize program interruptions for fundraising by donating right now.
We’re serious about changing the way we raise critical funding because we know it’s important to you. Please donate now to eliminate the spring pledge drive.
Thank you in advance for your generous support!
So, when is a pledge drive not a pledge drive?
We still need to raise a certain amount of money each year to stay on the air and keep the programming coming - there's no getting around that. And a direct appeal over the radio is the most cost-effective way for us to reach listeners – including new listeners and supporters who may not know how the public radio funding model works.
However, in recent years, listeners have been challenging us to find another way that is less disruptive to listening. Last year, we succeeded at our first “eliminate the drive” campaign after hearing about the success of several stations around the country.
So….how does it different from a traditional drive?
The difference is that an eliminate-the-drive campaign preempts absolutely no programming. All the on-air mentions you hear are scheduled during normal breaks in programming when you normally hear what’s coming up later on Fresh Air, or about a new project at VPR.net – that sort of thing. Compare that with a traditional on-air membership drive, when we preempt up to 20 minutes of programming per hour during some parts of the day. We think that's a pretty good trade off!
Is this the new norm?
We certainly want to continue this trend of fundraising that's less disruptive to our listeners – but in the year since, we’ve also learned that traditional on-air drives have their place as well. For instance, we tend to get more first-time contributors to VPR during traditional drives. We’re committed to reducing on-air fundraising, but we will likely always have to strike some sort of balance between methods.