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Membership Drive Information & FAQ

"You've always made us feel a little less lost." - quote from a VPR listener.
Lara Dickson
for VPR
More than half of VPR's annual funding comes from individual members.

Every day, VPR delivers what you need, when you need it—the trusted news, reporting, and music that keeps you accurately informed and authentically inspired. It’s what we’re here to do.

And it's our unique, listener-supported funding model that makes our public service available to all.

VPR's March member drive is March 9-12, 2022. If you are able, please join in supporting our news, music and information by making a gift at VPR.org, or by calling 800-639-6931.

Donate now >>

Listener support is the largest share of the funding for all your favorite programs on VPR, but listener support does something even more important. Listener support creates editorial independence.

No other funding sources come anywhere close to the freedom that listener support gives VPR to report without fear or favor. Our editorial independence matters as much as it ever has, maybe even more. Your support does too. Join our community of supporters now.

Prize Drawings
We're giving away a number of prizes throughout the drive, including iPad Minis, Apple Watches, AirPods with charging cases and the grand prize of a two-night stay at Hotel Vermont in Burlington and a $200 gift certificate to a Farmhouse Group restaurant. By making a donation you're automatically entered in all remaining drawings. See our contest rules for more information and to enter without donating.

Member Benefit: Vermont PBS Passport
Enjoy your favorite public television shows anytime, anywhere when you make a monthly contribution of $5 or more! Vermont PBS Passport provides VPR and Vermont PBS sustainers extended access to thousands of hours of beloved public television programs. The PBS Passport library features episodes from popular programs, including American Experience, American Masters, Antiques Roadshow, Nature, NOVA, and Masterpiece. Learn more about Passport here.

Membership Drive FAQ

I heard you merged with Vermont PBS. How does that affect my membership?
In July 2021, Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS merged to create a unified public media organization to serve Vermont and the region with trusted journalism, quality entertainment, and rich educational programming that is accessible and inclusive to all. Your gift today will help our new, combined organization better serve the evolving needs of our audience. To learn more about the merger, check out our FAQ document.

Why do you have membership drives?
While membership drives aren't our only source of revenue, they are an essential piece of our fundraising mix. Every day there are people listening for the very first time; membership drives provide the opportunity to educate our audience on how our unique funding model works. 

Why do you repeat the same thing over and over during membership drives?
If you’ve heard the same messages again and again, chances are you’re a pretty loyal listener. Keep in mind that others may tune in and out throughout the day or week, so the repetition is necessary to get the message across. 

How often do you have membership drives?
It’s important to regularly remind listeners of how our unique business model works. Over the last year we have drastically reduced our on-air fundraising thanks in part to our 16,000 sustaining members, from about 30 days to 13, but on-air drives will remain an essential part of our fundraising mix in order to power our public service. 

Can’t you raise money another way?
Our organization is a community licensee. That’s public media speak for the fact that we rely mostly on community funding to bring you the programs and services you enjoy. Individuals from across the region make gifts and area businesses underwrite our programs, which add up to approximately 90% of our overall support. Approximately 11% of our funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and we don’t receive any funding from the State of Vermont.

However, like any business, we have fixed expenses, such as the costs of programming and maintaining our broadcast sites. We're proud of our fiscal responsibility and we're dedicated to setting financial goals based on real needs as well as to spending our members' dollars prudently. Our goals are based on our annual operating budget, which is carefully vetted and approved by our Board of Directors. For more details, please review our annual financial reports.

Why do you talk about giving $1,200 or more?  I can’t afford that!
That’s okay! We appreciate any amount you can give. During membership drives we try to mix in many different suggested amounts, knowing that everyone will give what they can. The average gift to VPR during a drive is around $100, so we frequently mention gifts in the $90-$120 range, with higher and lower amounts mixed in. That’s the beauty of public radio; you get to put a dollar value on your listening, and then you get to choose to give. We truly appreciate every gift we receive our members!

Who’s taking my gift on the phone?
VPR works with a company called ACD Direct, located in Salt Lake City, to manage our pledge phone calls. This is a service used by many public radio stations across the country, including New Hampshire Public Radio and WNYC in New York City. We began working with ACD Direct in 2013. ACD Direct is not paid "per pledge" but rather a flat fee for their services. When we took into account the hard and soft costs of using volunteers vs. a call center - including software licensing fees, set up and break down time, and food - it is actually less expensive to use the call center, and it frees up our studios to create the programming you count on.

How do challenges work?
As we prepare for membership drives, we invite supporters to offer a challenge during membership drives. We then use this pool of challenge dollars to inspire listener support at specific times. For example, we may offer a challenge to receive a certain number of gifts during Morning Edition, or we may offer a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge. If we do not meet the challenge, we do not get the funds anyway. We always check in with the donor and ask what they'd like us to do. Sometimes they let us try again on a different day, but it's not a guarantee.

I have another question about fundraising or a question about my membership - how can I contact you?
We love hearing from you. Please contact us anytime here.

Okay, you've convinced me. What do I do now?
Giving is EASY. You can give at VPR.org, call 1-800-639-6391, donate via Paypal, or mail a contribution to 365 Troy Avenue, Colchester, VT 05446. Thank you!

Michelle is VPR's director of marketing & engagement and is part of the team that helps meet VPR's mission of public service by strengthening the visibility, awareness, engagement and value of Vermont Public Radio among existing and emerging audiences.