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Fund-raising and Developement
Excerpted from The Minority Report

If ever there was a mantra for board members, it is that the board should concern itself with fund-raising. “FUND-RAISING, FUND-RAISING, FUND-RAISING!!! This needs to be on the top of our agenda. We need to come up with between $30,000 and $60,000 before the end of the business year (July, 2005). This will take ALL of our creative time and energy!” says Centrist Cummings.

One might ask, if fund-raising is the most important board issue, why hasn’t one of the Centrists taken charge of the fund-raising committee?

Could it be that other committees, the more political ones (like the Programming Policy Committee, which Johanna Cummings chairs) are actually more important to the Centrists?

Fund-raising is obviously an important part of board work. Furthermore, it is quite clear that the success of fund-raising depends greatly on several things, including the vitality of the programming, the attitude projected by the staff and board, and other factors. It follows that improvements in these areas are as important as fund-raising alone.

Fund-raising is also closely related to increasing the membership, which, as previously noted, has not grown significantly for some time. Currently, our membership includes a large number of politically progressive, ecologically minded folks. According to our mission statement, we should reach beyond our current membership and find ways to engage the rest of the population. However, this is a controversial idea, since many of us, Centrists and Egalitarians, feel that it is fine for the station to cater to the progressive subculture.

If we choose to broaden our base, we need to analyze the existing social structure and determine what circles (people who associate with each other regularly) do not listen to us, and find out what we can do to pique their interest. This doesn’t mean changing our views, it means opening our airways to opposing points of view. Some people think that bringing in new and different voices makes more exciting and compelling radio.
Our major fund-raising operations, aside from pledge drives, have been on-air auctions, the Wild Iris (folk) Music Festival, and special speakers, like Amy Goodman. Some of these events are extremely labor intensive and not worth much in the way of income.

There are also the major donors—the large givers who have to be cultivated and maintained by the GM or fund-raising Board Members.
As for the current $30,000 crisis, I have suggested that we should increase what we raise at pledge drives, work on increasing membership, and look at a big fund-raiser within the larger society that will bring in new members from the missing circles. For example, blue-collar workers and young people might be brought in by a country music or rock-and-roll festival (with big names, like Willie Nelson or Jackson Brown).

These are just thumbnail sketches that will require a lot of discussion and work if they are to succeed. But it seems obvious that our chances of raising serious money, would be greatly increased if we mined the membership for ideas.

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Your comments are welcome.

King Collins
king@greenmac.com

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