A year ago on this spring Saturday morning I would have been at my desk at NCPR during the crazy rush of the closing hours of our on-air fundraiser. But instead I am enjoying a day off at home. Thank you for that, as well as for the thousands of generous gifts that will ensure another year of doing what we do at NCPR, to the best of our abilities.
As you probably know by now, we reached and passed our goal Wednesday morning at about 8 am after only two days and two hours of “classic” public radio fundraising. Taken with last fall’s even more successful effort (only two hours of “old-school”), that completes a full year in which NCPR has shifted its fundraising strategy away from week-long intense stretches of interrupting programs to raise funds, to a “quieter” method more respectful of the integrity of the public radio journalism and entertainment we are asking you to support. So this is good time to take stock of how that is working, both for NCPR and for our listeners.
We had an all-staff meeting yesterday to look at how it went from our point of view. From the financial point of view, complete success–two goals, two scores. Looking at the business model transformation, incomplete success. Our aspiration was no program interruptions. But David Sommerstein summed it up best: In one year we went from 12 days of on-air fundraising down to two days and four hours. That is, as the car dealer ads say, “He-YOU-juh!”
But we also feel that there can be some tweaking. Three weeks of “quiet” fundraising with brief messages, lots of email and social media–could that be shorter? The fact that in both drives we had to go on-air old-school to close the deal–does that mean we should just build some of that, maybe in brief bursts, into the strategy? Some program interruption, but planned and produced to be better radio? A lot of possibilities were brainstormed around the table.
You folks have all been at the receiving end of this effort. So how does it feel from your perspective? What worked and didn’t work for you? Is there some other approach to raising the funds we need that we just haven’t tried? What was it that made you give, when you did? Just as we have crowd-funded the station for another year, maybe we can crowd-think better ways to do the necessary business of public media. Let us know in a comment below.