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All About the Pledge

Posted by Jonathan Weldon at Apr 08, 2011 12:57 PM CDT
Categories: NPtech

On road trips as a child my dad would frequently joke that if we drove long enough we’d eventually find a pledge drive on a local NPR station. Later in life, when I traveled extensively for my job, I’d call him when the town I was visiting was in pledge and my wife, who travels for her job, loves to do the same with me.

Personally, I love pledge drives, (no not because I’m hoping to complete my collection of NPR Travel Mugs) but because there are so many great examples and unique ways that the Public Media stations are reminding, sometimes imploring listeners, to support the amazing work they do. By no means is this an exhaustive collection, but here are few favorite examples that I've seen recently.

Clearly we have to start with the Alec Baldwin pledge drive promos that hit the air in 2010. According to the website, “Alec Baldwin told producers at WNYC that he'd be willing to do some promos for the upcoming Fall pledge drive, and suggested getting Ira Glass involved. So Ira and David Krasnow and Rex Doane wrote and produced several spots featuring Alec and a bunch of public radio hosts and announcers.” If you haven’t heard these yet, they are flat-out hilarious. But the beauty is they gave NPR a great way to make fun of themselves, all while still making a larger point: Support your local NPR station.

Speaking of local NPR stations, my station KUT-FM, did a great job of promoting sustaining giving during their most recent pledge drive. We all know the importance of building a strong base of sustaining givers but for many organizations, the question is how. Part of KUT’s answer was to promote it heavily on-air, in their direct mail efforts and online, but here was the kicker for me. They are entering sustaining donors into any and all drawings for the rest of the year. So anytime KUT runs a promotional drawing, their sustaining givers will be automatically added. The idea was a huge hit as they added a large number of sustaining givers to their membership (my wife and I included in that group).

As for a totally new idea and not technically in pledge, as far as I know, KQED is the first and only station to offer a GroupOn to build their membership base. I’ve reached out to the team that implemented this offer for additional details but haven’t heard back by ‘press time’. Despite that, what I do know is they have 531 new members from the offer! Considering the list file that GroupOn possesses, as well as their web traffic, in my opinion this was a great way of building their membership base leading up to their pledge drive.

So are there any amazing Pledge examples that I missed or should know about? And I can’t be the only person who loves pledge drives so let me know what you love (or hate) about pledge drives.

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