Oh brother! Oh sister!
Here comes the fund drive. We did amazingly well in run-up to the drive but now we all have to show our stuff. A lot of people put money into the locked box -- some because they want more regular programming and less on-air fund raising and some because they will be out of town.
Some will give in both places. No matter what the premiums or incentives, we all know that the reason people give money to the station is because they value it. Everywhere I go, people tell me that the station is “a lifeline.” They tell me that when they moved away from New York City or Boston where there is great public radio, they were astounded to find a station that was even better.
The fact that you collectively put a million dollars into the kitty during every fund drive is one big reason why the thrice yearly fund drives are so important to us. Let me also tell you that from the very beginning, any amount of money that you give entitles you to be member of WAMC. People will always give what they can. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “When I was a student, I gave you five dollars because it was all I could afford. Now take my hundred dollars or thousand dollars.”
Not only that, there is another reason. When we reach out to foundations and grantors, we know that the more members we have, the more likely it is that we can get grants. Sometimes I worry that there are folks out there who do not make even small contributions because they are embarrassed about not having more to give. I always tell the story of long passed father who made a hundred dollars a week. My mother, a community activist, got him to go with her for a fund-raiser for a Jewish communal group.
Back then, they did something called, “Reading the cards.” Everybody at every table would be asked to fill out a card, saying how much each individual donor would give. My father proudly stood up and pledged $100, a week’s salary, but the others at his table laughed at him. I’ve never forgotten that and it’s the reason why you will never hear me read amounts. There are times, of course, that someone will give a large challenge. These folks expect us to tell how much but people always have the option of being anonymous. The whole point is that everything helps and no amount is too little. And of course, there are always people who have been fortunate enough to do more and if you are one of them we humbly ask that you do what you can.
WAMC is here because each of us has done something. Recently someone named Casey called in to a program we were doing on current events. She made my eyes wet because she really got it. She said that when people do nothing to preserve institutions that they depend on, they are, if fact, helping to kill them. She certainly got that right. I was struck by the passion in her voice, she wasn’t kidding around. Sure, there will always be premiums and other things that we give out. That’s because so many businesses treasure WAMC that they give us things to give to you. But, we all know that’s just icing on the cake. There is only one good reason to give to WAMC and that’s because you recognize the value of what you get from the station.
So, dear friends, please be with us as the fund drive starts at 6 in the morning on Monday, the first of June. We are, as always, nothing without you. I thank you in advance for what you are about to do.