[Excerpt from: Toward a Vibrant, Sustainable WBAI (2014) - by Justice & Unity board members and other staff & listeners, in consultation with fundraising experts.]

This proposed plan, based on years of experience at Pacifica and other non-profits, has strong potential to bring in significant revenue within weeks. Its first phase can be completed within 60 days – some of which can bear fruit considerably earlier – followed by a second phase that will take 30 more days to complete (although some of the work will also continue beyond that, and will plant seeds for future relationships). The plan takes into account the very limited paid staff at WBAI, and anticipates additional involvement by trained volunteers. Those tasked with personal outreach to major donors should be experienced in fundraising and carefully chosen based on knowledge and skills.

*Funds will be spent on a pay-as-you-go basis: As a sufficient amount is raised for an activity (say, the first month’s fee for the fundraising/project-management consultant), that activity will begin.


Phase I Action Items - Within 60 Days

  • Develop and implement plan
  • Add direct donations portal to wbai.org
  • Establish and implement dedicated WBAI Recovery and Sustainability Fund to finance

fundraising consultant and other costs of long-term planning and implementation

  • Utilize 6 specially-trained volunteers for outreach to major donors, requesting donations for immediate fundraising efforts and launch of long-term sustainability plan.
    • Before calls, send any unsent premiums
    • Call donors with script – offer and carry out station tours & lunches
    • Send thank-yous to those who donate again
  • Meet with selected major donors to request bridge loans or loan guarantees.
  • Seek bridge loans and loan guarantees from progressive foundations
  • Apply to progressive foundations for emergency grant for sustainability consultant
  • Seek/screen candidates for and, as funds allow, hire fundraising/project-management consultant
  • Call pledgers of $150+ who have not fulfilled pledges and resolve any premium complaints
  • Clean up donor list
  • Prepare for and implement fund-appeal mailing/emailing, as funds allow.

Phase I Estimated total expenses: $7,250 – $8,400

Phase I Estimated total income: $33,750 - $36,250

Phase I Estimated net income: $26,500 - $27,850

Phase II Action Items - 60-90 days

  • Continue calls to pledgers who have not fulfilled pledges
  • Do outreach to progressive orgs re list swap
  • Use proceeds of first phase to finance:
    • sending fund-appeal mailing and donor event invitation to WBAI donors (all levels)
    • sending fund-appeal mailing to swapped list
    • expanding work of fundraising/project-management consultant
  • Send email fund appeal with short video to WBAI donors and people on acquired lists
  • Complete additional tours/lunches with donors, utilizing specially-trained volunteers
  • Hold donor appreciation event for 120-150 people


Phase II Estimated total expenses: $32,690 - $35,690

Phase II Estimated total income: $64,700 - $106,100

Phase II Estimated net income: $32,010 - $70,410


Phase I + II Estimated net income: $58,510 - $98,260


Allocation of proceeds:

  • For Recovery & Sustainability Fund: $27,010 - $31,060
  • For general operations: $31,500 - $67,200


Projected Impact:

This focused outreach to major donors will be the beginning of building ongoing positive relationships. It will have significant long-term value far beyond the (substantial) dollar amounts of the initial donations.

Similarly, the efforts proposed here will produce a protocol for regular fund-appeal mailings both to WBAI’s donor lists and to external lists. There should be ongoing efforts to acquire new lists through additional swaps with progressive organizations, and mailings of increasing size after testing the viability of each list with a small “starter” mailing.

Based on best practices of Pacifica and other nonprofits, both forms of outreach/fundraising should be institutionalized three times annually. If this is done, WBAI will generate major additional ongoing funding streams.

Appendix A:

Proposed Immediate Fundraising Plan:

Detailed Action Steps, Budget, and Goal Monitoring Document

Note: Several steps below are simultaneous, not sequential.


Phase I Action Steps - Within 60 days

  1. Develop implementation plan for 60- and 90-day efforts: Set goals and objectives, utilizing Goal Monitoring Document with week-by-week work plan (see template in appendix). Identify persons accountable for each part of plan. Develop script for conversations with major donors, including specific “asks” (such as hiring fundraising/project-management consultant and postage/printing for fund appeal). (2 weeks)
  1. Arrange for WBAI webmaster to add direct donations portal on wbai.org – separate from give2wbai.org – to make donations easier (requiring fewer clicks). (2 weeks)
  1. Implement WBAI Recovery and Sustainability Fund as separate internal account restricted for revenue-producing projects in this plan, as well as implementation of the Long-Term Sustainability Plan. The Fund will be strictly monitored, with a detailed accounting statement published every 90 days. (1 week)
  1. Generate list of major donors and send premiums to those who are owed them – or send donor a letter with date by which requested or substitute premium will be sent. (3 weeks)
  1. Recruit and train six carefully-chosen volunteers with fundraising experience to do outreach to major donors, with specific fundraising goals. (2 weeks)
  1. Call identified major donors (with script) – Start with highest donors, and work through lists as time allows. The approach:
  • Thank them for their most recent donation
  • Identify and resolve any unresolved premium issues
  • Invite them to the station for a personal tour and lunch
  • Invite them to a donor-appreciation event later in year
  • If receptive but unable to meet in person:
    • Let them know what WBAI’s specific needs are
    • Ask for new donations earmarked to the Recovery and Sustainability Fund.
  1. Arrange donor visits to the station followed by lunch (2-3 visits per volunteer per week; total of 25 lunches); ask for donations and/or loans/loan guarantees. (3 weeks)

Estimated cost - $3,000 (for lunches)

  1. For selected major donors, arrange station visits and lunches to focus on requesting a bridge loan or loan guarantee to enable rapid hiring of fundraising/project-management consultant.
  1. Follow up on donor contacts with thank-you email or letter. Ensure that all promised premiums have been mailed to donors. (3 weeks)
  1. Work with volunteers to call $150+ pledgers within 2-4 months of invoice, seeking pledge fulfillment and resolving any premium complaints. Use script, checklist, and recordkeeping protocol. (ongoing)
  1. Seek, screen candidates for, and hire consultant (as funds become available) to coordinate emergency fundraising and begin planning and implementing long-term sustainability projects. (3 weeks)

Estimated cost: $4,000-$5,000 (one month, 20 hours/week, as funds become available)

  1. Meet with progressive foundations, banks, and/or credit unions seeking bridge loans or loan guarantees totaling $50,000-$100,000 for one year to cover expenses of WBAI Recovery and Sustainability Fund (with specific repayment plan based on current financial prospects). (3 weeks)
  1. Prepare and submit grant proposal for fundraising/project-management consultant ($25,000 as seed money – usually the maximum that foundation staff can approve without board review). (3 weeks)
  1. Clean up station’s donor list – use outside service such as melissadata.com to:
    1. compare against USPS’s NCOA (National Change of Address) and MCOA (Multisource Change of Address) lists, and update lists
    2. identify and eliminate duplicates

(1 week)

       Estimated cost: $250-400 (depending on size of list submitted)

  1. Prepare for fund-appeal mailing/emailing (2 weeks) (see list of specific steps below)
  1. Begin contacting local and national progressive organizations to inquire about swapping mailing/email lists and ongoing relationships. (2 weeks)

Phase II Action Steps - 60-90 days

  1. Continue working with volunteers to call $150+ pledgers seeking pledge fulfillment. (ongoing)
  1. Continue contacting progressive organizations re: swapping lists. (2 weeks)

  1. Use proceeds of first 60 days of fundraising (or sooner as funds allow) to:


  1. print and mail fund-appeal letter and donor- appreciation event invitation to WBAI donors and acquired names (3 weeks; see appendix for specific steps). Proceeds to go to WBAI general operating account.

Estimated costs:

  • $21,000 (postage, printing, and processing to 21,000 addressees @ $1)


b.    expand work of fundraising/project-management consultant (4 weeks)

                     Estimated cost: $8,000-$10,000 (one month, 40 hours/week, as funds

                     become available)

3. Send out email appeal with video link to WBAI donors and acquired names. (1 week)

4. Complete 12 additional tours/lunches with donors. (4 weeks)

Estimated cost - $1,440

5. Plan and hold donor appreciation event (preceded by reception with prominent people

     for $100 donation), with slide show and entertainment. Auction off donated items at

     event. Proceeds to go to WBAI Recovery and Sustainability Fund.

             Estimated costs:

- $500 (room rental)

- $750-$1,250 (food & drink for special reception)

- $1,000-$1,500 (food & drink for main event)

Specific Steps For Fund-appeal Mailing/Emailing

  1. Create plan for mailing appeal letters (using list broker or mailing house) and for sending email appeal with video link.
  1. Draft, review, and produce two fund-appeal letters (one for current WBAI donors, one for acquired names) and well-designed thank-you flyer with invitation to donor appreciation event.
  1. Draft, review, and produce fundraising appeals for email, Twitter, and Facebook (including photos and link to 1-2-minute YouTube video to be produced by volunteer).
  1. Identify list of all donors over past 2 years, but exclude those with undelivered premiums; determine timetable to mail their premiums. If funds are limited, cross-match overall list with available email addresses (under-$500 donors only) and send those appeals via email.
  1. Outreach to local and national progressive organizations re: list swapping and relationship-building:
  1. Ask producers to forward suggestions with contact information
  2. Check free lists of nonprofits at www.melissadata.com
  3. Begin calling/visiting nearby organizations about building ongoing relationship, starting with swapping mailing/email lists.
  4. Develop a follow-up plan targeting organizations elsewhere in tri-state area to seek potential relationships.
  1. Print and mail (using mailing house and/or list broker) fund-appeal letter and thank-you/event invitation to all WBAI donors over past two years, plus names obtained via swaps. (Note: For past national and local station mailings to longtime supporters, the return rate was 10%, with average gift of $50-60. Given the large number of WBAI members who are new, estimate 5-7% return rate for member lists, with average gift of $50-60. Return rate for swapped lists from progressive organizations has been similar.)
  1. If test mailing of 1,000 addresses drawn from progressive organization’s swapped list has a strong return, prepare for larger mailing to names on that list after Phase II.
  1. Three weeks after mailing, send out email appeal with video link to WBAI donors and

acquired names.

Estimated Budget: Immediate Fundraising Plan

("Pay as You Go")

(Note: Projected incomes are estimated ranges based on historical experiences at Pacifica.)

Phase I - First 60 Days   Low Estimate   High Estimate
Grant for fundraising/project-management consultant   $25,000   $25,000
Major Donor Outreach        
Phone Outreach   2,500   3,750
25 donations over phone – via credit card or check        
     @ $100-$150        
Personal visits/lunches   6,250   7,500
25 donations during tours/lunches        
     @ $250-$300          
      8,750   11,250
Total income   33,750   36,250
Consultant     4,000   5,000
(one month, 20 hours/week, if funds allow)                      
Personal visits and lunches   3,000   3,000
(25 @ $60 x 2 people per lunch)        
Mailing list clean up   250   400
Total expenses   7,250   8,400
Phase I Net     $26,500   $27,850

Phase II - 61-90 Days   Low Estimate   High Estimate
Major Donor Outreach        
Phone Outreach   $1,200   $1,800

12 donations over phone – via credit card or

check @ $100-$150

Personal visits/lunches   3,000   3,600
12 donations during tours/lunches        
@ $250-$300        
      4,200   5,400
Donations from mailings        
From WBAI list – 20,000 letters @ 5-7% @ $50-60   50,000   84,000

       From progressive org - 1,000 letters

           @ 5-7% @ $50-60

  2,500   4,200
Donations at/after donor appreciation event        
Special reception – 40-50 @ $100   4,000   5,000
Main event – no charge, but silent auction        
             & follow-up calls – 80-100 @ $50-$75     4,000   7,500
      8,000   12,500
Total income   64,700   106,100
Fundraising/project management consultant   8,000   10,000
(one month, 40 hours/week, if funds allow)        

Fund Appeal Mailings (printing, processing and



To WBAI’s last-2-year-donor list

     (20,000 letters @ $1)

  20,000   20,000
       To progressive org's list (1,000 letters @ $1)   1,000   1,000
Lunches with major doors   1,440   1,440
(12 @ $60 for 2 people)        

Phase II - 61-90 Days   Low Estimate   High Estimate
Expenses (Continued)        
Donor appreciation event        
Room rental   500   500

Food & drink for special reception

(50 people @ $15-25)

  750   1,250

Food & drink for main event

(100 people @ $10-$15)

  1,000   1,500
      2,250   3,250
Total expenses   32,690   35,690
         Phase II Net     $32,010   $70,410
         Phase I + II Net   $58,510   $98,260