[JPL] Average length of pledge drives at your station?

Seymour, Bob BSeymour at wusf.org
Fri Apr 29 01:03:54 EDT 2011

Hi, Ed --

Thought I'd catch up with this thread...

Maybe 3 years ago, we cut back from 3 drives/year to 2, and made a big deal about it.  9-10 days each, in October and March (never on Sunday).

Last fall and this spring, we switched from a monetary goal (recently 400K) to counting pledges (goal of 4,000).  Last month, we did better than ever, with 4,124 people and a total over $465,000.  37% gave on-line, and 43% were  new members.  That high number reflects a format change 6 months ago, when we moved classical music to a new station and went All News with All Night Jazz (local), as well as a large challenge grant from a listener based on new members.  There's been a real buy-in to the idea of counting people, not money, and it pays off in the sound of the pitching.  Breaks are 4-5 minutes, done live, with NPR and local testimonials, and we played those Ira Glass spots a lot.  Every pitch team has a 'case' person and a 'close' person, and the drive evolves from mostly 'making the case' to mostly 'closing the deal' over time.

We have station-logo premiums, but almost never mention them, just include them in the mailer.  That list in the mail includes jazz premiums that we do talk about; we'll buy quantities of 3cd titles and a DVD, generally.  And we do the 'sweepstakes' for a prize, too -- this time a Wait, Wait package with cast party, hotel, etc.

It's apparent the threat to NPR funding has galvanized the audience for now:  we heard from lots of people that they were giving for the first time, or increasing their giving, in response to the defunding threat and the demonization, and without editorializing, we felt free to quote their comments to encourage others.

Bob Seymour
Jazz Director
WUSF Public Broadcasting
bseymour at wusf.org



What is the typical or average length of pledge drives/membership campaigns at your station? A week, a few days?

Second question: how many times a year do you do them?

We've seen some success stories on the list in the past. I'm interested in a wider range of responses. I've heard some stations need only for a few days while others go on for weeks and weeks.

If there's interest, I'd like to follow up with a more in-depth study and see if we can do some benchmarking on the topic and perhaps share some best practices and/or things to avoid.



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