Tag Archives: Pledge Drive

HPR – Challenge 2009

The semi-annual pledge drive is an interesting phenomenon. It's Hawaii Public Radio's major money making effort and occurs in April and October of each year. On one hand it is viewed as a necessary evil, something that needs to be done but not everyone likes it. Listeners want regular programming and staff feels apprehension going on air to ask for money. On the other hand it is a remarkable community event that exemplifies the community in community radio. This was my second pledge drive and although I do not commit anywhere as much time as the staff do, I try to pitch in. In addition to our show on Wed, I usually help as a guest on Pledge Central and also bring in a Bytemarks crew to work the phones on Saturday from 12-5pm. It's a good excuse to call my friends and ask them to pitch in. That act alone helps to build community. People hanging around a table, talking story, eating food and answering the occasion phone pledge. The flow of people in and out of the station indicates the broad community base that HPR relies on. I see familiar faces that I would otherwise rarely see if not for HPR. Given the state of the economy, I was concern the drive would take longer than the 10 day period. In the previous Oct 2008 drive it extended one day and I could see the stress in people's faces and their voices. To my surprise, this drive ended one day early, on Thursday, 5/30. The drive started on Wed. 4/22. To me this showed how committed the community at large is to supporting HPR. The drive ended right around 4:30pm on Thursday during the popular All Things Considered show. As soon as the pledge came in that put us over the top, the drive ended. No more calls were taken, no more soliciting and back to normal programming. Whatever normal was at that point! The energy as very high and people were elated. It felt like running a race and finishing first. I put this 30 sec video together with some shots I took but it does not compare to the excitement in the air. There were lots of hugs, handshakes and champagne to go around. Again this was a great show of a community coming together and accomplishing a goal. It was a bonding event. It almost felt like it shouldn't end. But it needed to so we could go back to regular programming. All in all, the pledge drive was all about community and the event itself is a community building one. Call me strange but I'm actually looking forward to the next one in October.