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swag from fund drive/pledge party

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Yes David Torkanowsky you are right: it is swag.
But it should be about support not about catching prey.

I was working on this one already when Tork gave me the perfect hook.
OZ do you really think anybody would put down $ xx because of a koozie or a "toolkit" or a doubloon ? Today ?

The only one who should catch prey here is OZ !
And for the big haul you -actually we- hopefully make,
listeners are rewarded so overwhelmingly 24/7 !

Can anybody seriously ask for more ?

If you want to get the view from the other side:
Does OZ really believe that anybody would risk OZ not being on the air one day because of a koozie that will be lost soon or torn apart by the dog ??

We've seen two bubbles burst during the last years and at least
the last one affects us all -
could we please come back to reality ?!
Could we please turn off the road of marketing mania and CRM.
OZ is so special and people supporting OZ are special as well.
Fall 2005 OZ got significant support - neither was there a fund drive
nor was there any kind of swag to hunt for.

I even dare to claim if you do the math OZ will be better off with no giveaways at all !
We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch - all the giveaways have to be paid for the one or the other way. And that money could be put to work much better.

BTW this multi contest and multiple giveaway practice starts turning it into a soap opera. We are already at a point where OZ has to do drawing rules and contest rules. To work out all these rules, to write them down, to publish them - all that eats up money.
Meanwhile I ask myself what from every $ arrives at what it was given for.
Is this OZ or a selling party of any known plastic brand ??
Keep it real.
If people get doubts about efficiency of their support [because OZ buys toys and giveaways] support will go down.
Keep it real - if OZ needs support it will get it but if you turn it into a plastic party or a lottery people will turn away. And it is also known, that people hunting for giveaways only give the minimum for what they can get. You will have to add up time over time and your own spell will get you sooner or later.

If you keep it as serious as the music is real music, people will take support serious.
We all benefit from supporting 'our' station.

The only sort of inside info

The only sort of inside info I have on the pledge drive is that I volunteer as a phone operator, but there are certainly people asking "what's the lowest amount I can pay for a CD?". There's also a lot of value in getting that logo out there too. I mean, those bumper stickers\window clings are pretty iconic, and I know I've seen them as far as Connecticut.

If listeners don't want the swag, they can certainly exclude premiums from your donation. But I think the lagniappe often can be the tipping point in a decision to donate a larger amount.

We don't pay much for the swag

Hi L93,
Believe it or not, most of our swag is donated or bartered for. And what we do pay for is extremely inexpensive. We promise, membership dollars are not wasted on stuff like that. And people do want this stuff -- window clings, for example, came about by popular demand.

We produce and record our CDs in-house, and they're extremely important to us and our listeners because they're not available anywhere else.

But we certainly appreciate your concern! If people don't want thank-you gifts, they can choose that option on our membership form.

As a listener (not just an employee), I just threw down a whole bunch of money because I wanted the flag, the CD, and the Mark Andreson sketchbook. Sure, I can grab a copy of the CD any old time. But I really wanted that sketchbook and the flag. And I got to help 'OZ at the same time. Good deal!

I was wrong - swag falls out of the sky in NOLA ? - great

Hi Mike,
never did I say "wasted" ! Can anything for an OZ listener be a waste ?
Just like you I want to help OZ. That is why I pledged immediately when the email arrived on Monday (03/02/09). No waiting what he or she might have in addition.
But there is no criticism for people waiting and see what they can get.
What I did was I asked if this process is efficient for OZ.
Over the years I see the goodies becoming more and even now with the economic situation being harsh OZ keeps adding up. Another miracle ?
I still remember that OZ had to do a membership blitz to compensate the weak results
from last fall.

And btw this giveaway topic is a continuous one and was discussed already on the old board. And there always have been pros and cons among the listeners as well as among the OZ people.

At one point you are talking about thank-you gifts and then about a deal. Sorry you are wrong here: the deal is the membership not the gifts.
I love these CDs - no question, but Mike to me
the "good deal" is to be rewarded with the best music in this universe 24/7 and to share the unmatched knowledge of the show hosts. And almost equally good is the sheer fact to be a part of it, to be one tiny of the so many thousand legs OZ stands on. That is the good deal !
And the focus should be on the real deal not on the giveaways.
Just my opinion...


Hi, Everyone. Thanks for all your input. It’s interesting info. Our members are always great with insight to many things ‘OZ! Of course the number one reason to give to WWOZ is to keep the station alive and kickin’ and we thank each and every person who puts their money where their ears are.

We have folks who love the thank you gifts, we have folks who want more gifts, we have folks who don’t like the gifts and we have folks who don’t want the gifts. What a wonderful mix of folks we have as members! In the process to pledge you can decline the thank you gifts, making 100% of your pledge go to the station, which many members do take that option. For those who want the ‘OZ gifts, we thank them as well and are happy to offer fun stuff. I’m actually looking at the very small stack of leftover grocery totes from the Fall drive…and it’s making me think of all the members I’ve seen using their totes around town…it’s nice to run into another Guardian of the Groove when you’re in the produce isle! As far as the financial end of the thank you gifts, we’ve made quite a bit of progress in the past few years, keeping the costs at a minimal. We wouldn’t want to offer more than 10-15% back in thank you gifts for a donation and I’m very happy to say that we’ve pretty much gotten there with this past drive.

Big D., please feel free to stop by and see me anytime you’re at the station. I’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions with regards to ‘OZ Membership. Many of the giveaways are from local musicians, artists or clubs that want to help out the station, but can’t financially support at the Underwriting Level, so when we can, we try to use those donated things during the drives if possible. As far as giveaways and contests…they are compliant as long as we offer the availability to have your name in the drawing without pledging. Which we do and we do promote. Turns out one of our winners from a December contest was actually entered by email…not by a pledge. So, we keep it straight and make sure everyone has the same opportunity to win.

Keep on groovin’ ya’ll. All the best and a very Happy Jazz Fest!


Inexpensive or barter, NOT

I have been around the FUND Drive a long time, and even directed a couple, and "the swag" in not inexpensive, it has a handling cost and is not delivered for free by the post office.

Not too many years ago, 'OZ had a problem in that the computer program used by most fund raising folks had to be rewritten several times for OZ because we included so much stuff to each contributor. The cost of the swag and delivering it was out of hand. And a large amount of that stuff was "bartered for" with underwriting dollars. So much was bartered away that they was little left for actual underwriting purposes. Underwriting was bartered away at huge discounts for stuff that for the most part was not ever used. But the chase for the "best package" was all the game with the 'OZ drive listeners. Most avid listeners knew "wait till the end for the best packages". To this day, they still wait to the end out of habit.

Underwriting is a Community Radio's only "continuous" income stream. If we barter it away for swag, we do not have it to sell to institutional supporters for the time between fund drives.

The paid experts in fund raising told OZ back in 2004, that they were crazy and that a change in paradigm was needed to reduce the cost related to the fund drive. In 2006, as a result of The Bitch (K), that paradigm shift came suddenly, as there was "NO STUFF" to be had. The total focus of the drive was "What OZ means to me and you", and was the most successful drive ever. Since then the swag has made its creeping return to the current mish-mash of levels and inclusions and exclusions and specials and raffles.

In spring 2005 I offered to organize a raffle for a very exclusive item to given away to all who joined, like is being done now. I was told that it was strictly against the FCC rules to offer a game of chance in Community Radio Fund Raising. Did the rules change?

May All Your Blues Be On The Radio.... D

The Spirit

While Big D's information matches my worried fears it also confirms my understanding that people will give if they feel the need. I call that the spirit. As Irma said (Simply The Best - Second Line Medley):"It is not how well you do this...but the spirit that you do it in". And there were touching moments in this membership drive and wonderful performances - but sad enough there were times when it all turned into a selling frenzy.

Please do not make it OZbay ! (even if you got a lot of water around)

While I am thankful to everybody who took part and volunteered no matter how she or he did, I experienced that selling frenzy as unhealthy and definitely not attracting.
Forgive me but do you think we do not have any hats here ?
Or do you wanna set up a new shop on St. Charles Ave ?

But if you continue on that road be consistent:
'Buy a $ 60 hat and get a free membership - you know you don't have to take the lagniappe or can throw it away afterwards.'

That's what happened: some sold the lagniappe and threw the membership after for better or worse.

Also it is now a Pledge Party Drive - not a fund drive or maybe a membership party. Accordingly it says "Come join the party!"
It does not even say 'join OZ' !
Remember the subject still is spirit.

Do not try to tell me that this soap marketing works:
As of March 13th 12 pm 2009 it has only been 48 %. (1441 of 3000 aimed for)

In October 2007 it had been 68% (1500 members of 2200 aimed for).

While the goal increased by 36 % the achieved number is roughly about the same. Note: To lift the goal does not mean to raise the actual numbers.
In this incomplete and limited view it only signals: member numbers are about to come down. Believe me I do not like to see this - it hurts.
And it also hurts the station - our beloved OZ.
I am sure somebody will come along and tell us that everything is ok and we are doing great - I won't buy it.
We should look it into the eye before we drift into even shallower waters.

And when among others Tanya Boutté says "send the money - send all the money" it is so much more real than any hat in this universe can ever be ! It is raw and it is soul - not nylon. Chew on it.

as to inside info

Hey Hunter,

first of all thank you a lot for volunteering on the phone bank !
Appreciate your commitment.

I sure got no "inside info" other than that I spent most of my time in the marketing and advertising circle (or rather circus). If common sense is not sufficient, that works for sure.
I knew your argument would come - so let's look at it.
Of course you can choose not to take the giveaways - but sorry you are missing my point here.
You are right, the common idea is to tempt you into a higher level.
But giveaways have to be bought, they are not just there and they sure do not fall out of the sky.

Let's do an easy example: Take the $ 100 level and say giveaways eat up 10 %. So 10 people pledging $ 100 would be $ 1000 nominal but only $ 900 arrive at OZ to pay the rent. Giveaways are not initial costs like rent or electricity. Now to get the full $ 1000 for the station you need more than 11 people to pledge the $ 100 in our little example.
Easy isn't it ? Or not ? You should know sitting at the phone.
Today is day 6 - the website says 22 % in 5 days (till yesterday).
I know pledge drives do not develop exactly linear but supposed they would it would take roughly another two and a half weeks to reach the goal ! Got my drift ?

In addition the logistics to direct the right giveaway to a given person cost a lot of time aka money. Imagine you could just send out 3000 identical packages or rather thank-you letters.
And OZ could still offer special tickets for Jazz Fest, Tips or any other venue.

Just one more example: Donors (of things or discounts) want to be mentioned at least. While in print media you try to find the least 'hurting' place in the add on radio you have to name = announce them. That is advertising. Advertising time is very limited for OZ (public radio) and so a lot of advertising time goes to the members twice a year.[OZ buys presents for it's members]
You just got to realize how it works.

The question is not good or bad but efficient or not.
For the example $ 100 it used to be the bumper sticker (now window cling), membership card and CD. Not so long ago the doubloon was added.
Well these doubloons have to be designed and produced and another bit of the $ 100 goes.
What will be added next to 'stay attractive' ?

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