Membership Drive Information & FAQ
Listener contributions are the most powerful part of VPR’s funding base. Everything you hear on VPR is produced with the generous support of listeners. With so much essential reporting ahead, your strong support for VPR means we’ll be ready to respond to the great unknowns ahead.
VPR's short March membership drive is March 11-13, 2021. If you benefitted from having VPR here over the past year, you were able to do so because of our members. If you are able, please join in supporting our news, music and information by making a monthly gift at VPR.org, or by calling 800-639-6931.
Throughout the unending roller-coaster ride of these many months, you have relied on VPR to straighten out the twists and turns of the news. You have turned to VPR for deep and essential coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rollout of vaccines, the huge economic challenges we face, the contentious election process, the great disruptions to education, the renewed focus on justice and equity, and much more.
At every step, VPR has been here to bring you the essential facts, crucial context, and insightful analysis these unprecedented times require - reporting you need to make the most informed decisions about daily life in your own household.
As we look to the future with fresh hope, promise, inspiration and ideas, staying informed will continue to be vitally important as we work together to reconnect so much that has been broken apart.
VPR's listener-supported funding model gives us the capacity to create our news and programming, drive our growth and secure our future. More than half of our annual funding comes from individual listeners, with approximately 27,000 members making individual donations of all sizes. Join our community of supporters now.
Membership Drive FAQ
Why does VPR have membership drives?
While membership drives aren't the only source of revenue for VPR, they are an essential piece of our fundraising mix. Every day there are people listening to VPR for the very first time; membership drives provide the opportunity to educate our audience on how our unique funding model works.
Why do you repeat the same thing over and over during membership drives?
If you’ve heard the same messages again and again, chances are you’re a pretty loyal listener. Keep in mind that others may tune in and out to VPR throughout the day or week, so the repetition is necessary to get the message across.
Can’t you do fewer membership drives?
It’s important to regularly remind listeners of how our unique business model works. Over the last year we have drastically reduced our on-air fundraising (thanks in part to our 16,000 sustaining members!), but it will remain an essential part of our fundraising mix in order to power our public service.
Can’t you raise money another way?
VPR is a community licensee. That’s public media speak for the fact that we rely mostly on community funding to bring you the programs and services you enjoy. Individuals from across the region make gifts to VPR and area businesses underwrite our programs, which add up to approximately 90% of our overall support. Approximately 10% of our funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and we don’t receive any funding from the State of Vermont.
However, like any business, VPR has fixed expenses, such as the costs of programming and maintaining our broadcast sites. We're proud of our fiscal responsibility and we're dedicated to setting financial goals based on real needs as well as to spending our members' dollars prudently. Our goals are based on our annual operating budget, which is carefully vetted and approved by our Board of Directors. For more details, please review our annual financial reports.
Why do you talk about giving $1,200 or more? I can’t afford that!
That’s okay! We appreciate any amount you can give. During membership drives we try to mix in many different suggested amounts, knowing that everyone will give what they can. The average gift to VPR during a drive is around $100, so we frequently mention gifts in the $90-$120 range, with higher and lower amounts mixed in. That’s the beauty of public radio; you get to put a dollar value on your listening, and then you get to choose to give. We truly appreciate every gift we receive from our 27,000 members!
Who’s taking my pledge on the phone?
VPR works with a company called ACD Direct, located in Salt Lake City, to manage our pledge phone calls. This is a service used by many public radio stations across the country, including New Hampshire Public Radio and WNYC in New York City. We began working with ACD Direct in 2013. ACD Direct is not paid "per pledge" but rather a flat fee for their services. When we took into account the hard and soft costs of using volunteers vs. a call center - including software licensing fees, set up and break down time, and food - it is actually less expensive to use the call center, and it frees up our studios to create the programming you count on.
How do challenges work?
As we prepare for membership drives, we invite supporters to offer a challenge during membership drives. We then use this pool of challenge dollars to inspire listener support at specific times. For example, we may offer a challenge to receive a certain number of gifts during Morning Edition, or we may offer a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge. If we do not meet the challenge, we do not get the funds anyway. We always check in with the donor and ask what they'd like us to do. Sometimes they let us try again on a different day, but it's not a guarantee.
I have another question about fundraising or a question about my membership - how can I contact you?
We love hearing from you. Please contact us anytime here.
Okay, you've convinced me. What do I do now?
Giving is EASY. You can give at VPR.org, call 1-800-639-6391, donate via Paypal, or mail a contribution to 365 Troy Avenue, Colchester, VT 05446. Thank you!