Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

PLEDGE Excerpt: It’s pledging season!

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Defenders of drives often say people continue to listen even though they don’t like drives. But there is plenty of support for the idea that drives actually push listeners away.  While the networks don’t host pledge drives, they pull out all of the stops to support them, ranging from playing up how they can be hilariously fun times to sicking network luminaries like Ira Glass on non-givers.  And though goodies haven’t been conclusively proved to spur giving, because there can be so many pledge drives in any give year, and because when stations ask their asks, they may encounter donors suffering from donor fatigue, they continue to sweeten pots with giveaways .

They do it by stirring up friendly competition with matches and challenge grants in which some members of the community practically dare other members of the community to give as much as they’ve given for the cause. Or, pitchers do it with swag, also known as “premiums”, aka concert seats, wine tastings, wireless speakers, iPads and plane tickets. In other words, promotional items given in exchange for “valuable consideration” like an underwriting credit, or maybe, a bunch of underwriting credits.  This is what academia calls, “transactional giving” and stations don’t like it very much because the idea that someone only gives when they get implies they aren’t really committed to the “cause” of public radio.

Written by Interviewer

May 4, 2018 at 11:37

Posted in Scratchpad

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