Friday, February 4, 2011

Good work: help public radio

It sure has been fun pitching in on the morning volunteer shift for the call-in pledge drive (ending today) at Sacramento's Capital Public Radio. Okay, maybe I'm not as big a help as I'd hoped to be. At times, I feel like a cross between the Verizon guy ("can you hear me NOW?") and a frazzled trainee at a call center in Mumbai ("say again, please? Can you spell that? Smith? oh...").

See, between my phone headset (not the equipment's fault, I'm sure) and the background noise in the pledge room, I can't always hear my callers easily. But they are unfailingly polite, generous, and supportive— especially of Capital Public Radio (which airs National Public Radio and more, including great local coverage). My callers have their faves among programs, including hits like Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me; A Prairie Home Companion; Fresh Air and also local talent and reports (from Capital Public Radio News to The California Report). And I'm really enjoying chatting with them. But I dare not dawdle.

"The last day of the pledge drive can be a real madhouse," says Art, an experienced volunteer sitting across from me. "The calls come in hot and heavy, so be ready." I brace myself, and inadvertently hit the HOLD button. Oops. "One year, we hit the pledge drive goal early," says Bob, another volunteer veteran, "so the staff came in and we popped a few champagne corks. Not the expensive stuff, though," he noted (a non-profit, public radio does watch its expenses).

At the end of my shift, I can say that, it's been a joyful experience for me, if not always for my patient callers. But next year, if I really want to help out, perhaps I'll just send a check instead of showing up and behaving like a bad Lily Tomlin routine ("Is this the party to whom I'm speaking?"). It may help Capital Public Radio more.

Get involved
Donate online to (year-round, you don't need to wait for a pledge drive). Or mail a check to: Capital Public Radio, 7055 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95826. And if you forgo the Thank you Gift (ie. a thermos, DVD, and such); that way, more of your donation goes to the organization.
Or to find/donate to your local public radio station, go to NPR and hit 'Find a Station".

Harder: Volunteer to help take calls during the next Pledge Drives; check online at or to find your local public radio station, go to NPR and hit 'Find a Station".

Disclaimer: Note that we don't endorse any organization, but we encourage you to carefully look into any group to which you plan to donate time or money.

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COPYRIGHT Lora Finnegan 2008-2009

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