The NET Foundations for Television and Radio have exceeded a five-year, $25 million capital goal for their “Inspire Nebraska” campaign. “It was a major-giving campaign, but members grew tremendously,” said foundations Executive Director Jeff Beckman. “And, even more important, we are now positioned to raise more major and planned gifts in the future.”
Since the push began in 2007, NET membership revenue has grown by 50 percent, the number of members has increased 35 percent to nearly 25,000, and assets of the endowment have topped $10 million, Beckman said. The campaign concluded June 30. The campaign will fund both television and radio programs, including NET News and NET Sports productions, which cover more than 200 hours of local high-school and collegiate sports annually.
At least 10 public television stations could be at risk of losing vital CPB community service grants this fiscal year and next because they have not raised the required minimum of $800,000 in nonfederal financial support.
During pledge drives, public television stations routinely ignore one of their biggest audience draws — the daytime PBS Kids block — deeming the meager returns not worth the effort of disrupting the viewing habits of children who watch each day. But ongoing financial challenges at many stations have prompted some to test new approaches for tapping into the strong affinity for the shows.
Next year’s Public Media Development and Marketing Conference, the annual event organized by pubradio’s Development Exchange Inc., will include a new track for pubTV professionals, produced by PBS. The conference runs July 12-14 in Seattle. The track will focus on pledge practices, fundraising and community engagement around children’s programming, and television-specific research. DEI and PBS announced the collaboration in a statement Dec. 6.
New Hampshire Public Radio was cited for outstanding performance in fundraising. NHPR, based in Concord, ranks among the most efficient public radio outlets in converting listeners into givers, and it raises more net underwriting revenue per listener-hour than peer stations, according to DEI’s Benchmarks analysis, which evaluates fundraising performance across the public radio system. The New Hampshire network’s achievements in major-gift fundraising are especially impressive, according to Joan Kobayashi, g.m. of KMFA in Austin, Texas, who announced the award this summer during DEI’s Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Pittsburgh. NHPR’s program for soliciting donations of $1,000 and higher has increased its revenues 60 percent over the past five years. The gains are especially notable because New Hampshire ranks near the bottom of all 50 states in charitable giving, she said.
... Management can support responsible behavior, however, by designing compensation systems that reward it. These techniques include offering a livable base salary augmented by commissions ... and using a year-end bonus to reward such activities as assisting in philanthropic requests....
Having witnessed the damaging one-round knockout of NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller in March, public radio’s development pros are working to adapt the lessons they’ve learned about ethics and prudence into a set of best-practices guidelines for use throughout the field. But they’re already tiptoeing around a clear discrepancy between the major ethical code of professional fundraisers and a common practice in public broadcasting — paid commissions on underwriting sales. DEI, the national agency for pubradio fundraising that convenes its annual Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Pittsburgh later this week, has assembled a group to draft ethical standards for fundraising in nonprofit public media. DEI is leading the re-evaluation as part of its CPB-backed Leadership for Philanthropy project, which aims to help stations improve their major-gift fundraising. The main starting point for DEI’s advisory council is the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which prohibits commission-based compensation for nonprofit fundraisers.
Nonprofit fundraising arms of the state-owned network in West Virginia and the school-board-operated stations in Miami are under fire as public officials scrutinize longstanding financial relationships that underpin their operations. West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Miami’s WLRN-FM/TV, like many other public radio and TV operations owned by state and local governments, rely on sister nonprofits, often called Friends groups, to raise as much as 40 percent of their annual budgets. These private 501(c)(3) nonprofits around the country differ in many details but typically have separate governing boards and sometimes their own staffs.
A major reason for their existence is also cause for the complaints: They give pubcasters more flexibility and speed in purchasing and contracting than government procedures usually permit and they can pay for programming or other mission-related activities that the stations couldn’t otherwise afford. Friends of WLRN, for example, was able to contribute funding to continue the station’s editorial partnership with the Miami Herald when the newspaper’s new owners were cutting costs in 2008, according to Janet Altman, chair of the friends group.