News/classical station 90.1/WABE-FM concluded its biggest fundraiser last week in the station’s history in total funds pledged ($1,319,973) and number of people who pledged (14,551)
This just beat the spring numbers of $1,299,544 pledged and 14,331 donors.
[UPDATED 11/3/11: The final fall 2011 numbers were 14,618 donors and $1,324,068.90 in pledges.]
Despite the lousy economy, WABE has doubled the number of donors for its fall drive compared to five years ago and has seen actual pledges increase 36 percent.
A year ago, the station was facing heat after National Public Radio fired Juan Williams during its fall fund drive and fell short of its goals for only the second time in the past eight years.
WABE raised 17 percent more money and drew 23 percent more donors versus a year ago.
Its core supporters are being more generous despite the fact the station’s Arbitron ratings are down about 15 percent year over year.
The station in recent years has stopped using a dollar target on air and has de-emphasized free tote bags and other tchotchkes. Rather, it has focused on getting people to donate any dollar amount and emphasizing what it offers in terms of classical music and news/talk programming, that the money donors give goes directly into said programming. That newer approach seems to be working more effectively.
John Weatherford, chief operating officer, said 53.7 percent pledged online and 94.37 percent pledged with a credit card, both up in recent years. About 21.5 percent were new pledges. And the Tony Bennett CD was the hottest item and garnered 462 pledges and blue recyclable lunch box came in second with 396.
Pledges over the past five years:
Fall 2011: $1,319,973 (updated $1,324,068.90) 14,618
Spring 2011: $1,299,544
Fall, 2010: $1,131,122 (fell short) 11,918 donors
Spring, 2010: $1,162,428
Fall, 2009: $1,174,014
Spring 2009: $1,034,385
Fall, 2008: $1,077,000
Spring, 2008: $920,000
Fall, 2007: $1,053,000
Spring, 2007: $835,000 (fell short)
Fall, 2006: $971,000 (7,302 individual pledges)
Spring, 2006: $850,000
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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk