In 2014, our station realized that in order to reach our revenue goals we would need to add an additional fundraiser to our existing calendar. However, we didn’t feel comfortable asking more from our listeners without offering something in return. Thus, the Community Service Fundraiser was born. Kicking off in late-November each year, the campaign runs up until New Year’s Eve taking the place of a traditional year end fundraiser. What makes this unique is that for every $500 raised in support of WERS, we donate one hour of volunteer time at Rosie’s Place – the nation’s first ever shelter for poor and homeless women, located just miles from our Boston studios. One gift, double the impact – that’s our WERS holiday tradition.
Starting with a simple but heartfelt letter to listeners in December 2014, the campaign has turned into a cross-channel, multi-media fundraising campaign complete with direct mail, email, social media, as well as on-air spots, liners and pitching. And the result has been extraordinary. Listeners of the station have stepped up and given generously in support of our mission and in turn, sponsored hundreds of hours of service. Even more impressive was the show of generosity when WERS students, staff and listeners went above and beyond by serving more hours than sponsored in order to best help meet the needs of the shelter. This generosity of spirit and sense of community has showcased itself year after year, with volunteers stepping up to serve lunch for an entire week during the shelter’s time of greatest need – the winter and spring months following the rush of holiday volunteerism.
A typical day volunteering at Rosie’s Place includes making all the food to be eaten by the women and their children, serving in the dining room, helping clients choose personal hygiene and family planning products, and cleaning up afterwards. Volunteers regularly remark that the experience is powerful, moving, and that they look forward to joining us in the future. In fact, many have been joining us since we started serving three years ago and look forward to it year after year.
The opportunity this fundraiser affords us at the station to step back, work alongside our listeners and serve a mission that truly makes a difference is invaluable. Something we like to say is that “music is there for you in good times and in bad” and so is Rosie’s Place. It is our honor to use our place in the community and our power of the microphone to serve them.