Member Drive FAQ

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 Minnesota Public Radio – and improve upon it, MPR relies on financial support from members. These gifts come from multiple sources including sustaining members’ monthly giving, member drives, email, mail, phone, web, donor advised funds, vehicle donation, and more!

You can join the community of Members who support this essential public service by making a donation today at mpr.org/donate or by calling 1-800-227-2811.

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 our work. We hope that listeners will help fulfill our vision to be an indispensable resource for our audiences and an essential public service for our communities.

On-air fundraising is the 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.

How many Member Drives per year does MPR air?

MPR holds three drives per year – fall, winter, and spring. Twice annually, we do additional fundraising on air – in December and in June - the end of our fiscal year.

Each drive is timed with other fundraising efforts, and collectively, they provide the funding required to provide a robust regional service with a trusted news station and two stellar music stations as well as the streams, apps, and podcasts that over one million Minnesotans rely on.

On occasion, MPR needs 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.

How long is each Member Drive? How long is each break?

A typical drive takes place over a seven to ten-day period. On average, about four four-minute breaks per hour are devoted to fundraising.

Fundraising always takes a backseat to breaking news. We will suspend the Drive to share breaking news and deliver on our mission to keep you informed.

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 to acquire 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.

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.

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 The Splendid Table, 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.

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. Our goal is to have a family of healthy, growing radio services that continue to be worthy of your support.