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      Givers (Part One of "Givers and Giving")
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes)     A Sense of Community
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) Caveat Venditor
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) The Sign of a Giver
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) Why Stations Succeed (And Other Myths)
  Cause and Catalyst
  transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) The Giving Path
arrow.gif (139 bytes) Stairway to Given

Stairway To Given

Each step identified in this analysis lifts a listener closer to giving. However, some steps are bigger than others.

a98-s10a.gif (4340 bytes)

   The steps in this graphic represent the partial correlation coefficients of the independent variables (e.g. household income) with the dependent variable (current giver status) in a probit analysis that differentiates givers from non-givers.

  • "Listens to the station" means "in the weekly cume."

  • "Relies on the programming" is the combination of a listener's loyalty and years spent listening to the station.

  • A factor (from factor analysis), interpreted as a listener's "sense of community" (shown in red), accounts for roughly one-third of the belief that the station is "personally important."

  • "Funding beliefs" are measured by agreement that listeners support public radio and that government support is minimal.

  • "Ability to afford" is an interpretation of household income.

The first step is the most important.

A person must listen.

This step alone is bigger than the remaining steps combined.

The second step is the second largest.

The listener must rely on the programming.

AUDIENCE 98 finds several indicators of reliance: occasions (the number of times the station is used each week); horizontal hold (the number of different days per week the station is heard); and core (the station is the person’s favorite, used more than any other).

However, a person’s loyalty to public radio and the number of years he’s been listening to the station are, in combination, the best indicators of his current reliance on the programming.

The third step is the third largest.

Personal importance: the listener’s belief that the station is important in his life, and that he would miss it if it went off the air.

AUDIENCE 98’s "sense of community" concept is part-and-parcel of personal importance. Mathematically it accounts for one-third of the personal importance step.

The fourth step is the smallest.

This is the belief that listeners support public radio, and that government support is minimal.

Once a listener has climbed these four steps, only then does his ability to afford (as measured by gross household income) come into play – and even then, only in the wealthiest of households.

This is a fine but important point. Most public radio givers do not live in the wealthiest of households. Their willingness to give doesn’t differ much from one another until their annual household incomes surpass $100,000 – after which their income does positively influence their willingness to give.

Another Way To Look At It

Although movement from a listener to a giver is a process, some steps are more important for some listeners than others. We used our model of listening to ask the question,

If we could just influence one thing, how much would we have to influence it to turn a listener into a giver?

The answer lies in the "probability of giving." The chance that a non-listener is a giver is essentially nil. Indeed, among the sample of listeners interviewed in the Recontact Survey upon which AUDIENCE 98 is based, the chance that a listener lives in a giving household is about 30 percent. That likelihood can be raised above 50 percent by effecting any one of these changes.

Reliance: Your programming would have to increase a person’s loyalty from 40 percent to 70 percent. In essence, if you can make your station a person’s favorite, he is much more likely to support it.

Personal Importance: You can turn a listener into a likely giver by getting him to "definitely agree" that your station is an important part in his life, and that he would miss it if it went off the air. How to do this? By demonstrating to him, in positioning messages and appeals in pledge drives, that he is in fact reliant on the station, that it does add to his daily existence, and so forth.

Funding Beliefs: If you can convince one listener in a household that public radio is listener supported and not significantly supported by government dollars, you will likely have a giving household.

Ability to Afford: For income to have the same effect, the household would need a nearly $50,000 increase in its annual income. This is something over which you have no control. Wealthier households are simply an easier touch.

No Step Stands Alone

As can be seen, no single factor will easily turn the average listening household into a giving household. But relatively modest changes across some or all of these factors will.

For instance, increase a person’s loyalty by 10% and his acknowledgement of personal importance by just a little, and he’ll be a giver more often than not. If you then make him aware that public radio is listener supported and not funded solely by government monies he is extremely likely to become a giver, regardless of his ability to afford.


Raising people up to the level of givers requires a team effort at stations.

AUDIENCE 98’s model estimates that program directors get people literally two-thirds of the way to becoming givers by getting them into the audience and making the program service as reliable and important in their lives as possible.

Funding messages delivered in positioning statements or pledge appeals take listeners most, but not all, of the remaining distance. Raise a person this far and it simply becomes a matter of convincing him the gift is affordable.

 – David Giovannoni
AUDIENCE 98 Core Team


Audience Research Analysis
Copyright ARA and CPB.  All rights reserved.
Revised: September 01, 2000 12:38 PM.