When is the Most Advantageous Time to Donate to the WNYC Pledge Drive?


If you listen to enough public radio to recognize the vocal ticks and habits of your favorite NPR reporters and hosts, then you’ve also probably heard enough pledge drive programming to recognize their patterns too: the guilt trip (“If you’ve never pledged before, I’m talking to you!”), the manufactured sense of urgency (“We’ve only got 10 minutes left to match this donation!”), the incentive gifts… And, at the start of a new pledge drive, maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “Mmm, yes, Brian Lehrer, the eco-tote does sound appealing, but is it smart to pledge quite so early? What wonders await me later in the week? Might you make me a sweeter offer on, say, Sunday?” These are fair questions.

Which is the best day to donate to WNYC’s fund drive? It depends on your motivation. Are you trying to angle the best possible pledge gift for your money, hoping to squeeze the maximum sense of altruistic satisfaction from your donation, or some combination of the two? Either way we’ve got a chart for you!

Cash value
Gift-wise, Wednesday is best day to pledge. On top of the standard offering — the KeepCup, the New Yorker subscription, the date with Carl Kasell — on Wednesday, donors get a bonus gift too: a book, a CD, tote bag, travel mug or poster (although you won’t know which until after donating). On Tuesday and Thursday, the potential cash rewards are the highest — those are the days the station is raffling off $2,000 and $4,000 gift cards.

Altruistic value
Magazine subscription? ChicoBag? Who needs ’em! What you really want is the satisfaction of feeling like you are not just a benefactor for your local station, but a steward, preserving access for your fellow listeners as well. In that case, your money will go the furthest on Friday, when whatever dollar amount you pledge will be doubled. (For the curious: we calculated the altruistic value by taking a standard $75 donation and either subtracting the cash value of that day’s bonus pledge gift, or adding to it if matching funds were offered.)

On the next page: the full WNYC gift schedule.

Here’s the full WNYC gift schedule:

Either a book, a CD or a WNYC tote bag, travel mug or poster…but you won’t know which until you pledge.
Retail: ~$25

One listener will win a $4000 Tekserve gift card.
Retail: $0 or $4000

$1 for $1 match.
Retail: $0; Altruistic satisfaction: Double

A can of Brooklyn Roasting Company WNYC Blend.
Retail: $13-$15

One-year subscription to Wired or The Atlantic if you donate online.
Retail: $14.99 (Wired) or $24.50 (The Atlantic).
Bonus gift: No on-air pitching

Pledge match.
Retail: $0; Altruistic satisfaction: high

One listener will win a $2,000 Whole Foods gift card.
Retail: $0 or $2000

Pledge match.
Retail: $0; Altruistic satisfaction: high

To review: