Ah, glorious spring. Flowers are blooming, the shorts are coming out of the drawers, and public radio is interrupting your favorite drive-time shows every 15 minutes with those annoying fund drive announcements.
But if you are a PBS and NPR junkie, you put up with it because you love Morning Edition, All Things Considered, All Tech Considered, Car Talk and all of the other sublime and quirky wonderfulness that keeps you sane in traffic. I consider it mental floss because it keeps the cracks in your brain clear.
So today I was really missing my uninterrupted sessions with my pals Terry Gross, Neal Conan and Michelle Morris, and I had a car moment. I’ve always been a supporter of my public broadcasting station as an individual, but I’d never done it as a business. Eureka!
The “Pledge Central” campaign folks at my local affiliate in Hampton Roads, Virginia, WHRO/WHRV, were begging for callers, so I pulled into a parking lot, called the number, made my donation on my business credit card. Then, I issued a challenge to all small PR and marketing firms in my area to donate the equivalent of one hour of billable time to the pledge drive.
Over the next hour my business name and challenge were broadcast at least twice – maybe more, I couldn’t listen the entire time. Bingo! I just named my own price for radio “advertising” that I would never have been able to afford otherwise, while helping my favorite station reach its campaign goal – faster – with my tax deductible gift.
So I got to thinking – there are LOTS of ways to LOVE your public broadcasting station and spread a little sunshine your way, too. Here are a few:
- Make a donation in honor of a specific client who has achieved an important goal. Use both your business name and the client’s;
- Honor an employee who has done something special. And if your pledge comes with concert tickets or some other gift, give those to the employee as part of the recognition;
- Issue a matching challenge to your employees or competitors;
- Give a specified amount for each year you have been in business – so if your business is 10 years old, for example, you might give $25 or $50 for each of those years, for a total pledge of $250 or $500 (and of course, note the commemoration in the announcement);
- Make your pledge and then offer a discount for your services to everyone who pledges within the next broadcast hour.
In addition to pledging, your station can always use volunteers to help run the fund drive, and I bet if your company sends a bunch of people to help them, they’ll be happy to give you a shout out. Bring food, and you’re in like Flynn.
So what about you? Got any other bright ideas on how to turn the irritating (but necessary) pledge fund drive into a buzz fest? If so, leave below!