Panhandle PBS turns to puzzles to involve millennials in fundraising

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Puzzle-solvers and scavenger hunters in Amarillo, Texas, are counting down to the third annual Big Idea Challenge for Panhandle PBS.

The fundraising event targeting 20- to 40-year-olds brought in $34,000 last year. Dozens of teams and hundreds of participants raced to solve puzzles, while local businesses doled out clues.

The goal is to raise money for the station, accumulate points and qualify for a live final challenge April 29. The event launches April 1 (of course) at the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. The final challenge takes place atop the Happy State Bank parking garage.

The idea appeals to an important younger segment of the audience, Jason Boyett, the event’s marketing director, told the local Amarillo Globe-News. “We were looking for something more than a pledge drive,” Boyett said. “This builds social interaction and employee team building.”

And puzzles are tough enough to make a team approach necessary. Here’s one from last year. Huh?

Of course, intimidation is also effective in the competition, so teams can record smack talk to scare off lesser participants.

The station has even suggested a social-media post to extract donations: “Dear friends from whom I have purchased jewelry, cookie dough, dryer balls, monogrammed purses, Girl Scout cookies, Boy Scout popcorn, baseball travel mugs, kitchen gadgets, coupon booklets; or sponsored your walk, bike ride, or run. My time has come.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Jason Boyett’s first name. The post has also been updated to clarify that Boyett is marketing director for the event, not the station.