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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lessons from the Airwaves

Here's a lesson in Business Operations from an unlikely source - the Hawaii Public Radio semi-annual fund drive.

I listen to HPR (usually KIPO) even during their fund drives. I'm that much of a Public Radio junkie (I'm also a "True Believer"). I'm always amazed that they raise the amount of money they need, and they almost always achieve their goal on-time.

That's your first lesson. They set a specific goal, a specific dollar amount that they need to raise, and a specific time frame to reach it. Lesson? Set specific, measurable, achievable goals.

But I was getting worried this drive because they had fallen significantly behind after several days. With the economy the way it is and all the cutbacks and layoffs, it wasn't really a surprise, but it was a concern. But they got back on-track and even managed to reach their goal right on time. Amazing! So how did they do it?

Here's the big lesson. The big, final goal is hard for most people to really get their head around. It's a big number and people don't see how their little, individual contribution puts a dent in it. So what HPR always does, and what they sat down and really pushed and focused on after they fell behind, is break that big, final goal down into smaller targets set for each program or hour of the day. That is, instead of having to think about how your $60 membership (or $120 True Believer or $365 Dollar-A-Day pledge) puts a dent in the $700,000-plus final goal, you can get a really clear picture of how you pledge makes a difference in a $1,200 target during your favorite show. Lesson? Break a big, final goal down into smaller, more easily digestable targets that people can understand and feel good about.

Oh, and donate to your favorite Public Radio station (even if you're not liberal-leaning, the music's great).

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