Friday, January 21, 2011

PLEASE DON'T GIVE- Public Radio's Humorous Fundraising "unPitch" With Alec Baldwin

Time to get serious, it's my local public radio's pledge drive again. And during last year's drive I wrote about the impact of business sponsorship in matching dollar for dollar pledges. Studies have shown that indeed a business that matches pledges dollar for dollar, increases donations during the time period of that offer. It is an excellent strategy for a business to get publicity for themselves, especially in a market where there are no other opportunities to advertise, while at the same time giving back to a worthy cause.

Usually I change the channel, not wanting to listen to the dull, same old, same old appeal. But this year, while driving, I heard the voice of one of my favorite comedic actors, Alec Baldwin, with a pledge message that went something like this:
Hello, this is Alec Baldwin from television, you know television, the dominant broadcast medium of our age.
I have come here to public radio, during your sad little pledge drive with a simple message: don’t give.
Public Radio,with its' lack of hot buxom starlets, its’ deluded sense of seriousness, its’ pathetic faith that ideas still matter, it has no place in today’s current landscape of media.

Let's return all radio to its proper mission, selling advertising and making money.

So please –this pledge drive-DON’T GIVE…
Let Public Radio sputter and die a slow death….

Do nothing, do not call, do not give online.
Help me destroy public radio.
Here is someone to give you instructions on how to pledge-which you should ignore.

If you want to hear the entirety of this hilarious pitch, you can listen to it courtesy of  public radio station KPIU

So did this work? Using myself as a test case, I didn't stop the car and pull out my cell phone to dial their number and make a pledge. But I also, for once, did not change the channel.  I stayed on for awhile longer when they jumped right in with their more serious pledge drive format. 

Following this hilarious pitch came the serious pitches: an oriental rug store that was matching dollar for dollar every pledge within the next 25 minutes, and the proverbial raffle where for an "x" amount of donation you might get a chance to win a technological gadget.

We know that matching dollars works as a fundraising strategy and probably the raffles also attract donations to some extent. But I haven't been able to find any research on whether using humor works for fundraising.  

My response to the humorous approach of this appeal was that it kept me listening long enough to hear about the matching grant and more importantly ( from the business's perspective) the name and location of the business that was offering it.

If I were a business considering supporting public radio with a matching grant, I would think it a good giving strategy to have my public support follow right after Alec Baldwin's hilarious "unpitch".
At least I would know people are still listening.

P.S. Kudos to Public Radio for their idea to use Alec Baldwin as a result of this Saturday Night Live skit.

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