Thursday, August 02, 2007

More Expense, Less On-Air Fundraising?

Listeners’ dislike of on-air fundraising is in the industry news again. Much to no one’s surprise, participants in NPR’s underwriting research project took the opportunity to tell NPR how annoying on-air pledge drives can be. NPR is responding by conducting more research, some of which will be available in January.

Addressing listener annoyance with pledge drives might prove to be more difficult now than ever before. Programming expenses, including the fees stations pay to NPR, PRI, and APM, continue to rise. Stations are also being urged to invest more money in social media and local news.

Our experience is that stations tend to add pledge drive days when costs go up. It will be a challenge to get stations to cut back on pledge drives without an alternative source of cash.

We’ve always been advocates of doing as little on-air fundraising as possible and of embracing public radio’s core values, including great production, when producing on-air drives. So we hope NPR will go beyond publishing research results that say “do less on-air fundraising” and choose to help stations raise money more efficiently by providing new fundraising tools and services.


Click here to learn about reducing an entire pledge drive to one day

Click here to learn about raising a day's worth of money in one hour

Coming soon: How to raise all the money in half the time

Click here to read the Listener-Focused Fundraising Report: a comprehensive study on listener response to on-air and off-air fundraising strategies and tactics

Click here to read the Listener-Focused Fundraising Focus Group Report by Walrus Research

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Blogger Aaron Read said...

I'm sure the study corrected for this, but I'll say it anyways just to highlight the point:

People always say they'd rather pay less in taxes.

But when asked if they'd like their subways to run more reliably, their roads paved more often, their streets plowed when it snows, their food inspected for safety, and their neighborhoods patrolled by police at night...well, those things they're all in favor of, too.

Of course, when you tell them it's their taxes paying for all those things, they still grouse and complain...but they cough up the taxes.

It's little different with public radio and pledge drives; we remind them they need to pay in pledge drives to get the public radio programming they like...and they grouse and complain, and hopefully enough of 'em still cough up the pledges.

Obviously the logical conclusion here is to find a way to get people to pledge without realizing that they're pledging; at which point they'll merrily pay through the nose without even realizing it. I imagine it'd have to be lots of little things insinuated into everyday life.

For example, how about convincing a gas station to set aside one pump for "public radio fans" that charges an additional 50 cents per gallon, but donates a quarter of that to the station, and the rest to some carbon-offset program?

10:29 AM  

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