Every public media station is changing how they approach on-air fundraising in this moment. The drive structure, duration, and tone that worked so well a few months ago are being reassessed. What remains constant is the message of public media’s critical service, whose value is perhaps more important than ever.
A recent project in the newsroom at KPCC in Southern California captured that value in a way that could serve other stations, particularly during this time of change for on-air drives.
In 2019, KPCC newsroom leadership asked all reporters and producers to write mission statements for their work.
The project, the brainchild of KPCC’s executive editor, Megan Garvey, has been documented in various places.
But, the reporter mission statements had an impact beyond the newsroom.
Deanna Archetto, membership manager for on-air fundraising at the station, says the mission statements played a huge role in how reporters prepared for and executed their pitching shifts.
“It really helped them improve their pitching, [and] feel more confident talking about why member support is important,” Archetto says.
Identifying their own mission statements made it easier to connect back to the mission statement of the organization. Archetto posted reporter mission statements throughout the pitching studio, to serve as a reminder of the great work done by the newsroom.
When pitching, the reporters talk about their missions and then about the stories they reported that deliver on that mission.
“All the reporters have this in their arsenal to fall back on,” observes Danny Sway, digital membership manager at the station.
“They are talking specifically about the listener or the reader in their pitches,” Archetto adds. “Now the general assignment reporter can say ‘I bring you the scenes and stories that Angelenos are talking about and how it affects them,’” quoting the reporter’s actual mission statement. Archetto says the exercise without a doubt changed the sound of their pledge drive.
The mission statements also made their way into some fundraising emails, and other on-air station branding promos.
The sense of mission that has always fueled public media fundraisers, reporters, and audiences has only intensified while our nation and the world navigate a global pandemic and its consequences. Stations may find that capturing that sense of mission, and using it to connect with audiences during fundraising, may be a meaningful tool to not only raise revenue, but to reinforce the importance of what we do.