As both a listener and host, I was very happy to see our five-day on air member drive succeed in raising as much money as our typical ten-day drive. It was a risky move by our fundraising department, but one that’s established a new model for how we can reduce the time of drives.
One of the biggest problems we face from long fundraisers is the loss of listeners. Like all public radio stations, we take a ratings hit when we’re asking for money. That’s magnified in a market like Southern California, where there’s a second station offering NPR programming.
The greatest value in on air fundraising is connecting with newer listeners, and those who’ve never given before. Once a listener becomes a member, he/she typically renews without need for an on air fundraiser. That’s why I don’t foresee a time when we’d eliminate on air drives. However, I’ll take shorter any day!