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      The Effect of On-Air Pledge Drives
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes)     Bull's Eye
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) Collateral Damage
arrow.gif (139 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) How Many Listeners Are Givers?
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) It Don't Mean a Thing When Those Pledge Phones Don't Ring
  Triangulating On The Effects Of On-Air Drives
  transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) Driving Home The Numbers
  Formats And Fund Drives
  Where Do We Go From Here?

How Many Listeners Are Givers?

  • At this very moment, one in three persons listening to public radio is a giver.   That's 33 percent of the people listening right now.
  • One-in-five persons who listens to public radio during the week is a giver.  That's 20 percent of the people who listen to us in an average week.
  • Although these numbers vary from station to station, they strongly indicate the importance of defining the target audience before crafting an on-air drive.
  • Drives to elicit first-time givers can be designed quite differently than drives to elicit additional gifts from existing givers.
  • The key is to treat these messages like spots in an advertising campaign.  Reach and/or frequency into one segment or the other – givers or non-givers – can be optimized through intelligent, purposeful scheduling.

What Does This Tell Us?

Our own air is a great way to reach givers.   Not only can we reach many of them quickly, we can reach them with a frequency far exceeding that with which we can reach non-givers.

Our own air is also the best way to reach non-givers.  However, non-givers hear messages with only half the frequency of givers.

One of the inherent drawbacks to on-air drives as typically implemented is that they reach givers with a much greater frequency than they reach non-givers.  This is undoubtedly a source of resentment among givers.

However, skillful scheduling of on-air messages can focus delivery to one group or the other.

  • Short drives with a high concentration of spots can blast their message into the giving community quite quickly.
  • Longer drives are needed to reach the non-giving audience.  A lower concentration of spots may minimize the perceived intensity (but not necessarily the frequency) of programmatic interruptus among givers.

The precise strategic balance of reach and frequency into giving and non-giving segments, as well as the intensity and the resulting salience of the campaign among each giving segment, seem to offer a promising area of additional research.

– David Giovannoni
AUDIENCE 98 Core Team

Doing the Numbers

Divide the number of memberships to a station into its weekly cume and you typically get a number between 10 and 20 percent.  Say 15 percent for round figures.

This number isn't too meaningful, though, as most gifts are given at the household level.  The Public Radio Recontact Survey's database tells us:

One-in-two people in public radio's weekly cume lives with at least one other public radio listener.

Assuming that two listeners live in each multi-listener household, the math says that public radio is heard in three households for every four listeners in its weekly cume.  Put another way, an average of one and one-third listeners live in a public radio household.   Do the math, and that 15 percent turns into 20 percent.  Hence this statement:

  • One-in-five persons (20%) who listens to public radio during the week lives in a household currently giving to public radio.

AUDIENCE 98 reports that givers listen twice as much as non-givers (because they listen twice as often).  Therefore, a giver is much more likely than a non-giver to be listening at any time.  Again, math determines that:

  • One-in-three persons (33%) listening to public radio right now is a giver.

For every giver who hears anything when you open the microphone – a time check, an underwriting credit, a pledge break – two non-givers are also listening.


Audience Research Analysis
Copyright ARA and CPB.  All rights reserved.
Revised: September 01, 2000 12:38 PM.