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CKUA’s Spring fundraising goals

Marc's Mailbag

This spring we are again setting a fundraising goal of $1,000,000.

“Why?” you might ask, considering we have missed the $1,000,000 mark for the last couple of campaigns. It prompted an interesting conversation with a donor the other day. He commented, “When you don’t make your fundraising goal, there’s no consequence. So, what’s the point of a goal?”

1) First, the goal:

The goal is our stated need. To determine the goal, we first factor in all other revenue sources and then we look at what else we must generate through our fundraising campaigns. The goal isn’t what we think we can raise. It’s what we need to raise. And that goal goes up over time because everything gets more expensive, just like with every business and household. For example, if you pledged $1.00/day to CKUA 20 years ago, that same amount would be the equivalent of approximately $0.47 cents/day in today’s terms.

The temptation is always to set a lower goal that we can easily surpass and celebrate the win. The problem is that people then start to think we need less money than we do to stay in business. The alternative is to be transparent with our budget and ask you, our listeners, to start a monthly donation or make a one-time donation. What this means is you help to ensure CKUA is financially strong and viable when you support our community as a donor.

Here is our cash budget breakdown from the start of the fiscal year in general terms so you get a sense of how this campaign fits into the bigger picture:

Our fundraising campaigns are our best shot at generating the revenues we need to serve you. They are the best way of identifying who our engaged and loyal audience members are. Remember, radio is an invisible medium and free to access—we don’t know who is out there unless we ask. When we don’t make our goal, we must find operating revenues in other ways and find cost savings by decreasing program offerings and/or delaying necessary investments in people, technology and infrastructure.

2) What are the consequences if we don’t make our goal?

There are many consequences if we don’t make our goal.

Decreased programming. We didn’t go to summer festivals the way we used to last summer in part because we were projecting low revenues after the campaign. This is a consequence that garnered a lot of opinions from people.

Program cancellations. Cancelling programs would diminish the CKUA experience for our listeners and supporters and inhibit CKUA’s strong ability to help independent and emerging artists to flourish. A consequence: cancelling programs puts CKUA at risk of not living our values, delivering mission, achieving charitable objectives and meeting regulatory obligations.

Delaying necessary investments in people, technology, and infrastructure. Behind our 33 hosts and every hour of programming are skilled professionals that contribute directly or indirectly to making, distributing, promoting, and paying for 126 hours of curated content every week, 52 weeks per year to serve the province of Alberta and a global audience. Our people are not expendable, nor is our technology and infrastructure. CKUA is like a band. It’s one part people and one part instruments. So, we also look at our technical infrastructure investments. After 97 years, we have a lot of old and well-loved instruments in this band. Of course, if they fail, so does our programming. A consequence more avoidable with successful fundraising.

The consequence of not making a fundraising goal is CKUA. It is about not being the CKUA that is as relevant and connected to our listeners and communities as I know we could be, and that many of our listeners and donors want us to be.

Relying upon our Spring and Fall fundraisers is not a complete business model, nor is our growing dependence on the critical need for increased donation revenue from new monthly sustainers and one-time givers. Without reliable and stable funding, CKUA is at the whim of the market and the responsiveness of our listeners. We believe the giving potential of our listeners surpasses what we currently raise through our fundraisers. If we could tap that potential on an ongoing basis, it would be a game-changer for CKUA and your listening experience.

Thanks for listening and donating. As always, we welcome your feedback at