Everywhere I go, people are congratulating the radio station for, by far, the fastest million dollar fund drive in history. I always try to make the point that it is not the WAMC staff and board that deserve the kudos but all of you who made it happen. The amount of money that came in before the drive even started was astounding. A few weeks out we had about $300,000 in the magic locked (or lox or lock) box. We announced that number on the air and within days, we had $417,000 in the box. Every penny that came in before the drive that was marked for the box was accounted for and added to the total and used to shorten the drive.
The on-air portion of the drive started early on a Monday and four and a half days later we were finished. Astounding! Even with all the money that was in the locked box, people were incredibly generous. Working together, as WAMC’ers always do, we were averaging over $100,000 a day. On the last day we needed a little less than $150,000 to end the drive and we by noon, it was done. Can you imagine? The drive was over in four and a half days! A million dollars. Who would have thunk it possible?
It was particularly helpful when a lot of the people who put money into the locked box reached out during the drive and said, “Here’s a little bit more for my radio station.” This is yet more proof that WAMC is a community and when a community forms and marches ahead, people have a stake in its progress. We can only hope that now that we’ve had such a great start, we can keep it going.
So why do people put money in the locked box? Of course, there are any number of reasons but the first and most obvious is that people love their regular programming and don’t want to lose it to a fund drive. The second is that folks really love the staff at WAMC and recognize that although we love our work, including the fund drives, we work even harder than usual during the fund raising. I can’ tell you how many people have come up to me and asked, “How do you do it?” I think it can be explained by adrenalin. We produce enough adrenaline to get us through the marathons and it stays in the body for as long it is necessary. After the adrenaline leaves the body, though, there is an inevitable crash. I was delighted that after this last four and a half day drive there was almost no crash. That’s really extraordinary. In the past when drives approached ten or eleven days, the crash was huge. There have been times when the effects of the crash have left me feeling like I could push a marble across the floor with my nose.
People also put money in the locked box because they don’t want to forget to contribute once the drive has begun. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they are relieved of potential guilt feelings because they know their money is in the box.
I say to everyone who put money in the locked box or during the on-air portion of the drive, “Thank you!” People tell me all the time that the fund drive is their favorite time on the station. They say that they love the common effort we are all making and they love hearing from their friends and neighbors. I love that part, too. And, of course, I love and thank all of you who understand what this is all about.