Many of you have already met BOB, the Big Orange Box, which occasionally fills up part of the screen at ncpr.org, before settling down in a few seconds over in the right-hand column. BOB is a one-trick pony–only has one thing to say–“Give Now.” BOB was born a few weeks before our Spring fundraiser, and since the drive ended I’ve begun to hear from a few visitors asking:
“What gives? I already gave. The fundraiser is over. You made your goal. Why are you punishing me?”
In response, we have put BOB on a diet–he has slimmed down a little, disappeared from page one, has been dressed up with better graphics, and doesn’t appear quite so frequently.
But BOB is not going to go away, even though we are done with the week-long radio drive. Why? It’s not because we are greedy, or are punishing our fundraiser donors for doing the right thing. We are more grateful than you know. Because you radio listeners have been paying almost all the freight for building and maintaining ncpr.org.
Over the last twelve years, NCPR has built up a whole second audience that rarely or never listens to NCPR on the radio. They don’t ever hear the radio fundraiser, and few of them contribute. The “ask” for contributions on our website has been pretty quiet, too quiet. We’ve concluded that our online-only audience needs some kind of regular high-profile reminder that NCPR is paid for with voluntary contributions by its users. We certainly aren’t shy about asking for donations on the radio.
Hence BOB. He’s big and a little annoying, but necessary. BOB can make a big difference to us and to our radio audience. While 40-50,000 people are regular radio listeners to NCPR, more than a million different individuals used our online services last year. It would take only a small percentage of them, giving a little bit each, to really change the sustainability math at NCPR. As changing media technologies cause more and more people to move online, the art of raising money online will determine whether this service survives.
So, if you are one of the folks who regularly do your bit for NCPR, thank you. Just ignore BOB when he turns up. He’ll get out of your way in 3.5 seconds. If you are one of those who can’t quite remember whether you are reading USA Today, Huffington Post or NCPR at the moment, BOB will set you straight. Click on him to win a free ride to our donation page.