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September member drive: your gift provides a book to a local child via the Children's Literacy Foundation

A photo of a boy holding two books, next to text that reads "Your Gift = One Book"
Photo courtesy Children's Literacy Foundation
/
Illustration: Lara Dickson
Your gift during our September membership drive supports your independent, nonprofit source for news and music, and provides a book for a child in our community.

You can support public media while providing books to children in our community. When you make a gift to Vermont Public through Saturday, Sept. 10, an anonymous supporter will donate one new, high-quality children's book to the Children's Literacy Foundation.

Make a gift now to support this effort.

Both Vermont Public and the Children’s Literacy Foundation provide essential support to Vermonters. As students head back to school, our two nonprofits are teaming up, and we’re asking you to join us.

This is a limited opportunity to have an even greater impact with your generosity.

If you are able, please join in supporting our public service by making a gift at vermontpublic.org, or by calling 800-639-6931.

Donate now >>

Member support is the largest share of the funding for all your favorite programs from Vermont Public, but community support does something even more important: it creates editorial independence.

No other funding sources come anywhere close to the freedom that audience support gives Vermont Public 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.

Member Benefit: Vermont Public Passport
Enjoy your favorite public television shows anytime, anywhere when you make an annual contribution of $60 or more (or $5/month)! Vermont Public Passport provides extended access to thousands of hours of beloved public television programs. The Vermont 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

How does the recent merger of VPR and Vermont PBS 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 supports our new organization, Vermont Public.

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 several years we have drastically reduced our radio fundraisers thanks in part to our 21,000 sustaining members, from about 30 days a year to around 10. On-air drives remain an essential part of our fundraising mix, especially when it comes to educating our community about our funding model and welcoming first-time supporters. 

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.

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 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 media; 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?
We work with a company called ACD Direct, located in Salt Lake City, to manage our pledge phone calls. This is a service used by many stations across the country, including New Hampshire Public Radio and WNYC in New York City. VPR 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 vermontpublic.org, call 1-800-639-6391, or mail a contribution to 365 Troy Avenue, Colchester, VT 05446. Thank you!

Michelle leads the team that oversees station branding and marketing, communications, audience services, events and audience engagement initiatives. She joined Vermont Public in 2002 as an administrative associate and has worn many hats in the areas of audience services, membership, marketing and communications.