Best of Public Radio 2008 Update
As of 6p (et), the special, hosted by Wait Wait Don't Tell Me's Peter Sagal and Performance Today's Fred Child, has generated 1,597 contributions and $130,006 for stations through a special website, www.givetopublicradio.org.
Many stations reported increased contributions at their local websites and some stations were receiving pledges over the phone. We do not yet know how much came in through other sources in response to the special, though it appears to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
The special was part of a larger end of year campaign that included direct mail, eblasts, and on-air spots promoting web giving. Some stations reported increases in YTD end of year giving of up to $10,000 through these channels.
We didn't know what to expect from this experiment. The on-air fundraising special was very different from most pledge drives.
- All but 6 minutes of each hour was national content, with Peter and Fred doing most of the asking.
- The special preempted regular programming with "best of" moments from 2008.
- It's a holiday weekend.
- It was a web-based fundraiser, promoting on-line giving. On-line giving represents about 1/3 of revenues received during regular fund drives.
- The website was new to listeners.
- All gifts had to be made with a credit card. No invoice pledges were accepted. Today's totals represent money in the bank.
- There were no premiums, challenge grants, hourly goals, or sweepstakes.
Some stations did exceptionally well. Others received very little response at all from the same programming and fundraising messages.
The average gift, from the same on-air appeals, ranged from around $40 to $127. The overall average was just over $80, which is what we typically see at stations that don't use premiums.
Technically, the day went extremely well. There were very few glitches.
There's a lot to review and a lot to learn from today's special. We'll report back to you as we have more information.
I believe we can build on today's success to create better fundraising for stations in the future. Thanks to NPR, PRI, APM, Public Interactive, DEI, Peter Sagal, Fred Child, Ira Glass, the Car Guys, Matt Martinez (our producer), Jay Clayton, and Sonja Lee for their help.
And many thanks to the more than 70 stations willing to try something new.