Sunday, 22 September 2013 | Glenn Mitroff
WORT’s on-air pledge drives are truly amazing events, only possible and successful because of the participation of literally thousands of people from throughout the community.
Overall responsibility for organizing the drive is coordinated by WORT staffer Jim Goronson, the station’s Listener Sponsor Development Director who schedules each drive in consultation with the staff and research which includes dates to avoid such as home football games and religious holidays. A theme for each drive is selected from ideas brainstormed by staff. Jim then seeks out a volunteer graphic artist to design art work for the drive. For each drive a limited edition fine art print or poster is created. Jim also researches and orders thank you gifts to offer: t-shirts, hats, pint glasses, mugs, flying discs, digital radios, tuners, etc. WORT program staff help with procuring other pledge premiums. Music Director Sybil Augustine solicits donations of CDs and concert tickets and moves unused CDs from previous drives into the browse shelf. News Facilitator Molly Stentz working with volunteers in her department procures thank you gifts such as magazine subscriptions, books and DVDs relating to issues being covered on-air. We are also contacted by individuals and groups that want to donate goods and services to offer as thank you gifts. All items offered as pledge premiums then need to be entered and/or updated in our pledge premiums database.
A month or so prior to the drive we update and post the on-line sign up for our pledge phone volunteers, a joint effort between Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Glenn Mitroff and Infotech Coordinator Tom Christie. For our biggest drives (fall and winter) we need to fill 216 pledge phone volunteer shifts! Through on-air announcements (produced by the Promos, our promotional announcements volunteer production team and scheduled by Music Director Sybil Augustine) email and social networking we work to fill all of the volunteer shifts during the drive. Volunteers receive an automatic email response when signing up on-line. Then several days prior to their shift, they receive a reminder email or phone call from Glenn. Sign up for pledge phone shifts directly from the home page of WORT’s web site.
For the fall and winter drives, Business Foundation Director Raechel Pundsack solicits donations from local restaurants and businesses to provide food for volunteers working during the meal times. She schedules the donations, sends out reminder post cards and makes pick-up arrangements. (During our streamlined late spring drive, we only provide snacks and don’t solicit donations from restaurants.)
Prior to each drive, Jim Goronson organizes pledge rapping workshops for the station’s on-air programmers and their assistants from the community. Jim also organizes a training for the staff and volunteers who process the pledge folder and thank you letters from each show. Jim and his volunteers assemble a folder for each show which includes premium lists, pledge rapping tips, station facts and a tally sheet.
On-air programmers put a lot of time and effort into planning their pledge shows from scheduling special guests and organizing theme shows, procuring unique thank you gifts and lining up fellow volunteers or members of the community to assist with pledge rapping.
Finally, Operations Coordinator Norm Stockwell hooks up the pledge phones in the lobby and we’re ready to begin. The pledge drive is underway and the phones start ringing with listeners happy to support the station and its remarkable programming. Volunteer receptionists field calls from listeners to the pledge phone volunteers who write up the 1500-1800 pledges during a two week drive!
Listeners and businesses are thanked on-air, pledges are processed, thank you letters are mailed.
The work continues after the pledge drive ends with on-air thanks to businesses, processing of payments and pickup of premiums. Truly, WORT’s pledge drives are well-oiled machines, fueled with countless contributions of time, energy and finances from throughout our community (which includes the global community of listeners on the web.) Our community understands the importance of WORT and the need for us to work together to support the station so that it can continue fulfilling its mission.