What You Should Know About How Most Stations Run On-Air Drives

Membership, pledge drive, General Management

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On-air fundraising practices are the very lifeblood of public media. That's why we at Greater Public take a moment every so often to scan the landscape to discover what most stations are doing and not doing; how much, how often, and when. 

We've just released our 2018 On-Air Fundraising Practices Survey. This snapshot includes responses from 101 public media stations from all over the country and reveals how most stations are running their on-air drives. It shows us what practices are nearly universal, and which ones may be trending. 

Here is a glimpse of a few of the findings we captured in this year's survey:

Average Number of On-Air Drives, by Station Size

Survey  Number of on-air drives

Percentage of Total Annual Budget Raised by Membership

Survey Percentage of Total Annual Budget

A larger membership staff can lead to higher gross revenue. This is an important data point to highlight when making the case for additional staff. The cost of hiring and onboarding a new staffer can be offset by incremental revenue.

Pitching On-Air, by Month

Survey Pitching on-air by month

When are stations fundraising?
Many nonprofits rely on December donations to make up a notable percentage of their annual budget. Calendar year-end is simply a lucrative time for nonprofit giving. If your station isn’t holding a December on-air drive, consider adding one!

Weekend Pitching

Survey Weekend pitching

Stations that don’t pitch on weekends should know that the success of weekend on-air fundraising isn’t just defined by audience size or past performance. Consider the fact that weekends offer opportunities for fundraising messages that weekdays don’t. Well-executed weekend pitches that highlight the value of specific programming could lead to great fundraising results.

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