Five top-performing members of the Station Resource Group: WBEZ, Chicago, WBUR, Boston, WRKF, Baton Rouge,
WUWM, Milwaukee and Vermont Public Radio working with SRG consultant, Results Group International for
Collaborative project to raise annual, renewable, and unrestricted gifts of $1,000 or more by adding major gift
activity to station fund raising repertoire. Funded primarily by CPB's Future Fund with supplementary station
Launched Spring 1996. Wrap-up Summer 1998.
Soliciting major gifts is relatively new for most public radio stations. But it can create a significant
supplement to basic level listener support. It can also be the basis for more ambitious, large gift campaigns
to build new facilities, to obtain new distribution channels or to establish endowment funds.
Major gift fund raising involves new, energizing roles for station management and governing advisory board
members. These efforts can produce new net revenue as well as increased involvement by community leaders in
the life and future of the station.
Very few people actually like to ask for big gifts and usually must be trained to do so. It is also a matter of
making the time to meet potential donors face to faceónot simply talking to them from behind the microphone or
in writing. The General Manager is the linch-pin. He or she must articulate the need for major gifts, set the
pace for matching station needs with the interests of potential donors, and be ready to work in tandem with
board members and development staff in meeting annual major gift goals.
Teams of board and staff at all Leaders Partnership stations are learning how to do this. All of them say that
at the beginning of the project they didn't realize how demanding this process would be in terms of their own
time and the station's infrastructure. GM's and Development Directors now seem genuinely enthusiastic about the
prospect for solid net revenue gains and their role in making that happen. They understand that major gift work
requires discipline in working through annual goals, adhering to a timetable, managing board members' time
wisely and evolving their own, pivotal role.
Making the case for gifts of $1,000 and up has also helped Leaders Partnership stations clarify the station's
role in their respective communities. The project has provoked analysis of station staffing and, in some cases,
adding of a full-time major gift staff position and/or use of local consultants.