Frequently Asked Questions

Member Drive FAQ

How Important are Member Drives?
Why does MPR need Member Drives?
How many Member Drives per year does MPR air?
How long is each Member Drive? How long is each break?
How have MPR’s Member Drives changed in recent years?
How much revenue do these Member Drives raise?
Where does the money go? Am I supporting national programs produced by American Public Media?
If I become a member of The Current, does my money go to News and Classical?
How about a Members-only stream so I don't have to listen to the Member Drives?

General Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Sustaining Membership?
I am a Sustaining Member, how do I request my annual Thank You gift? Is my MPR contribution tax-deductible?
How do I switch the credit/debit card or bank account number for my Sustaining membership?
Why did I get a call from a professional fundraiser? Do they work for MPR?
My MPR renewal isn't due for 2 months, yet I received a renewal notice today. Why so early? Why so many notices?
How do I donate my car?
What is the Archive? I'm looking for a story I just heard, so why can't I find it there?
How do I give a Gift Membership?

Why your gift matters
Member list policy

How Important are Member Drives?

Each year, MPR receives funding from a variety of sources, including regional businesses, events, foundations and institutional sponsors. The largest source of that funding is contributions from individual members and donors like you.

In order to continue the high quality programming you’ve come to expect from the stations you listen to – and improve upon it in the year to come, MPR is hoping to receive 154,000 Member Gifts in Fiscal Year 2016 (July 2015 through June 2016).

These Member Gifts come from multiple sources, see the chart below for full details.

You can join the team of Members who make MPR an invaluable resource in your life – and this community – by making your Member Gift today at mpr.org/donate or by calling 1-800-227-2811.

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Why does MPR need Member Drives?

We do Member drives because we are different than other media organizations. We believe in a direct accountability to our audiences, and drives provide regular opportunities for our audiences to support what we do. We trust that as we create value for audiences and invite them to support what we are about and what we create, listeners will want to be a part of helping to fulfill our vision to be an indispensable resource for our audiences and an essential public service for our communities.

On-air fundraising is the least expensive and most efficient way for MPR to acquire new members – and 4 out of 5 of our listeners are not members. While MPR does receive revenue from other sources – state and federal grants, foundations, local businesses, and events – members provide the largest and most reliable piece of the pie.

Members' investment in MPR – at any level they can give – means that we can stay independent, weather uncertain economic climates, and consistently improve and expand our offerings.
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How many Member Drives per year does MPR air?

MPR holds three drives per year – fall, winter, and spring.

You may know that many of the shows you enjoy – like All Things Considered, Morning Edition and more — come to us from National Public Radio (NPR). Twice a year, public radio stations get their bill from NPR, and drives are a large part of how they pay it (hence the timing and cycle of drives).

In addition to the bill for NPR, MPR has the added expenses of running a robust regional newsroom and two stellar music services (Classical MPR and The Current), plus an increasing number of digital products, including free apps, listening streams and podcasts.

On occasion, MPR has needed to fundraise for a few days at other times due to budget shortfalls. When this happens, we communicate the need to members and listeners transparently.
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How long is each Member Drive? How long is each break?

A typical drive takes place over a nine-day period (but we do not interrupt weekend programming for fundraising). On a weekday during the drive, about four five-minute breaks per hour are devoted to fundraising.

Fundraising always takes a backseat to breaking news. During the events of the Arab Spring, for instance, we suspended fundraising for several hours during the drive to deliver breaking news as quickly as possible.
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How have MPR’s Member Drives changed in recent years?

In recent years, we’ve been especially focused on trying to create more listenable Member Drives. Some of the changes we’ve been able to make have been buoyed by the growing number of Sustaining Members.

  • We currently fundraise fewer days than we did five years ago (21 days annually, versus 27.)
  • Our fundraising breaks are, on average, about 2-3 minutes shorter than they used to be. They’re also some of the shortest in the industry.
  • We got rid of a lot of the extra “noise” associated with public radio drives (like music playing behind our hosts)
  • For the last five years, we’ve been committed to not swapping out programs during drives – you’ll hear exactly what you came for.
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How much revenue do these Member Drives raise?

Member Drives account for about 20% of overall membership revenue. That may seem small, but drives are still vitally important, as they're our single best way of acquiring new members.

We think of Member Drives less in terms of revenue-gathering, and more as way to broaden our base of support for the future.
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Where does the money go? Am I supporting national programs produced by American Public Media?

Money raised during Member Drives goes into MPR's unrestricted general operating fund. This fund pays for everything from reporters to equipment to some of the organization's shared staff and services, including engineering, marketing, operations, membership, finance and human resources. Read More

For every dollar donated to MPR, 75 cents comes back to you in the programming you enjoy, and the rest goes to support these shared resources.

American Public Media programs, like A Prairie Home Companion, get their revenue from national distribution (public radio stations airing their shows), from underwriters and from listeners who chose to donate directly to the show.
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If I become a member of The Current, does my money go to News and Classical?

To provide any of our radio services, we draw on the resources of the entire organization.

This means that when a listener contributes to The Current, that contribution becomes part of the operating resources for all of MPR. The support is not restricted to just The Current.

Many Members listen to more than one service, and many listen to everything. Our goal is to have a family of healthy, growing radio services that continue to be worthy of your support.
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How about a Members-only stream so I don't have to listen to the Member Drives?

At this point, we don't have a members-only stream in the works – but we do have some great online streams that we keep drive free, such as:

Classical Choral Stream: 24/7 choral music from around the world
Local Current: all Minnesota music
Radio Heartland: the rootsier side of The Current
Wonderground Radio: music for kids and grownups alike
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General Frequently Asked Questions

Sustaining Membership

A Sustaining Membership is an unrestricted annual gift that you can pay in a convenient, ongoing way. Each month, we will charge your credit or debit card or withdrawal from your checking account the amount you specify. Your Sustaining Membership will automatically renew each year unless you choose to cancel or change it. You can increase, decrease or stop your donation at any time by calling us at 800-228-7123. Sustainers are crucial to providing an ongoing base of community support that we can rely on, so you can continue to rely on MPR.
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I am a Sustaining Member, how do I request my annual Thank You gift?

Sustaining Members can request one Thank You gift a year. Call 1-800-228-7123 to request yours.
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Is my MPR contribution tax-deductible?

Absolutely! MPR is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your contribution to Minnesota Public Radio is tax-deductible after subtracting the value of any thank-you gifts.

Members who contributed $60+ during a calendar year will be mailed or emailed a confirmation of their contribution. If you do not receive confirmation of your contribution by February 15, please please fill out this form.
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How do I switch the credit/debit card or bank account number for my Sustaining membership?

Here's an easy form to update your information, or you may call Member & Audience Services to make the change. We are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central Time at 1-800-228-7123.
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Why did I get a call from a professional fundraiser? Do they work for MPR?

We work with a professional fundraising organization, based here in Minnesota, to call Members on our behalf. This is just one of the many ways that we raise money in support of MPR.

Many people prefer to give over the phone than through mail or online and this is an effective way to contact those people.

Using a professional call center assures us a level of quality control, efficiency and it also ensures the security of your information.

And if you'd rather not be contacted by phone, call Member Services at 800-228-7123 and we'll adjust your membership record accordingly.
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My MPR renewal isn't due for 2 months, yet I received a renewal notice today. Why so early? Why so many notices?

We send renewal reminders out 3-4 months ahead of your membership expiration date so Members have time to plan for their renewal donation without a break in membership.

We understand that you're busy and remembering when it's time to renew your MPR membership is probably not on the top of your list – and that's why we send out multiple reminders.

Again, if you prefer few/no emailed or mailed renewal notices, please contact us. We understand some Members prefer one way or the other.
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How do I donate my car?

We have a vehicle donation program that makes this process really simple and takes care of all of the details for you. There is no cost to you, and we'll take care of everything – from picking up your vehicle, to processing the paperwork to sending you a receipt for your taxes.

Our vehicle donation form can be found at mpr.org/vehicle, or you can call 866-789-8627.

Car donations are just one of the more ways you can give. Find out more.
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What is the Archive? I'm looking for a story I just heard, so why can't I find it there?

The MPR Archive, at archive.mprnews.org, is home to nearly 5,000 stories dating back to 1972.

These stories were digitized from reel-to-reel tapes. This project is by no means complete, and our archivists are regularly adding content. So keep checking back!

If you're looking for something you just heard on the air, stories are organized by program, date and time. Check the MPR News Weekly Schedule to see what program you heard, and from there you’ll find links to each program's page.

For Classical MPR and The Current, refer to each service's playlist to view what pieces or songs were just played.

Still can't find what you're looking for? Try the NPR Program Archive.
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How do I give a Gift Membership?

For information on how to give a Gift Membership, please contact Member & Audience Services at at 800-228-7123.

Why your gift matters

Your gift makes a big difference! Member support provides nearly half of the operating budget for MPR, which includes regional program services MPR News, Classical MPR and The Current.

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Member list policy

Individuals are Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media (MPR)'s single most important source of support, and MPR's relationship with its Members is the highest expression of our mutual commitment to the MPR mission: to enrich the mind and nourish the spirit, thereby assisting our audiences to enhance their lives, expand perspectives, and strengthen their communities.

Using Member Names

MPR does not rent, sell, or exchange the names, mailing addresses, email addresses, or telephone numbers of its Members or former Members with other organizations or individuals.

MPR does hire third-party contractors/vendors who to assist MPR with management of Member information, processing of Member payments, making and answering Member calls and for other Member-communication services. In every case, these contractors/vendors are strictly prohibited from retaining Member information or using it for any purpose other than that specified by MPR.

  • TO OPT OUT OF MAIL OR TELEPHONE REQUESTS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS, members may contact MPR's Member Services team at 800-228-7123 or send an email message to mail@mpr.org.
  • TO OPT OUT OF E-MAIL REQUESTS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS, members can use the Unsubscribe link which appears at the bottom of each message, or send an email message to mail@mpr.org, or call Member Services at 800-228-7123.

Using Names From Other Organizations

MPR does not sell, rent, or trade its own Member list. However, in order to build our base of support, MPR periodically rents or purchases lists from other organizations to reach prospective members.

MPR does not, and will never, rent or purchase lists from political parties or candidates for political office.

MPR does not, and will never, rent lists from organizations where such an association may harm the goodwill and trust between MPR and its members.

Compliance With Laws And Standards

In its fundraising practices, MPR complies with the laws and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service, the Communications Act, the policies of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the laws of the State of Minnesota, and the regulations of the United States Postal Service.

(This statement was last reviewed January 5, 2016.)
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