I spent a couple hours with the folks at CKUA Radio Network this summer talking about social media. They’ve been quite successful with it already, amassing more than 7500 fans on Facebook and more than 1500 followers on Twitter (and more importantly they have fairly high levels of engagement). While I was there, they invited me to check out the fall fundraising campaign, an offer I finally took them up on this morning!
CKUA started in 1927 at the University of Alberta, and has undergone a number of changes since that time. It has existed in its current form since 1994 when Access sold the network to the non-profit CKUA Radio Foundation. Though it went silent for a month in 1997, the network has been going strong ever since. The history is evident throughout their downtown studios, with lots of black and white photos on the walls.
Though many of the callers were from Alberta (CKUA has 17 transmitters in the province) there are a significant number of donors from around the world. CKUA started streaming its broadcast online on February 29, 1996, the first radio station in Canada to do so. There’s an updated list of cities from which donors have made pledges here in PDF.
While I was there, Allison Brock and David Ward were on-air. They’re one of the popular announcer teams of the campaign, an Allison in particular is known for her ability to really drive donations (as much as $25,000 in a single hour). Just before I left, Allison announced Double Your Dollars (DYD), a really popular hour during which any new donations are matched by an existing pool of DYD funds. As soon as she said it on the radio, every phone lit up!
Most of the volunteers answering the phones have been volunteering for years. They’re dedicated and efficient! Every time a new donor calls, everyone around the table rings a bell to celebrate. It certainly adds to the energy in the pledge room!
The current campaign started on October 14 and finishes tomorrow at midnight. The goal is $625,000, and so far CKUA has raised just over $410,000 (you can see the updated amount on their website). You can donate online, or you can call 1-800-494-2582.
Thanks to CKUA for letting me go behind-the-scenes this morning! You can see the rest of my photos here.