What is the CDP?
The Contributor Development Partnership is a multi-station collaboration charged with leading a vigorous agenda in donor/member development for US public television stations. This is a station-focused effort to increase membership and net income by harnessing the power of stations' collective fundraising experience and initiating new high-yield practices and shared efficiencies. This new partnership provides the public television system with the leadership to develop and promote techniques and practices that advance the overall effectiveness of system-wide fundraising efforts for the sustainability of public television. All public television stations are encouraged to become Station Partners.
How is this funded?
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is funding the pilot stage of this important project. Boston public broadcaster WGBH will receive funding of approximately $500,000 over two years, and WGBH will itself contribute $250,000 in matching funds. The aggregate funds will support the establishment of a new fundraising partnership for public television stations called the Contributor Development Partnership (CDP). This emphasis on a stronger system-wide collective is recognized by CPB as an essential component to a healthy financial future for public television, as stations achieve greater success acting together than acting alone.
Clearly we live in a particularly challenging time. Public television stands at a crossroads in further developing its audience and its community-based support as content and services expand onto new digital platforms and competition intensifies. At the same time, financial resources have become increasingly limited, forcing public stations to make tough choices—not the least of which is how to respond to increasing fundraising costs with limited (likely, declining) resources. Stations are adjusting their staffing levels and strategies and at the same time responding to unprecedented demands to distribute content and related services on new digital platforms—all the while needing to be more accountable to donors. The result is an ever-growing need to increase efficiencies and improve effectiveness.
In our current environment we must acknowledge that no one station has the capacity to do it alone. The CDP will benefit the entire public television system, as it will help address critical development issues confronting all public stations: declining contributors and prospects, erosion in the effectiveness of traditional fundraising channels, and limitations of current online fundraising practices.
Who developed the CDP initiative?
The CDP initiative results from the work of WGBH and the Public Television Major Market Station Group (PTMMG) over the past two years, including a working group of station development professionals convened by WGBH to review worrisome trends and examine strategic opportunities. This exercise led to the launch of a formal station collaboration that would focus on overall standards and practices for contributor development. The PTMMG and the station-working group recognized that public television's efforts in development are not well scaled and lack both timely reporting methods and fundraising standards that are essential to informing industry-wide strategies and fostering success among stations. The group addressed prevalent fundraising challenges within the system—among them, lack of coordination and standards, duplication of effort, declining membership, and the timely identification and adoption of successful practices. Since making these early findings, WGBH and the PTMMG stations have briefed a range of public television executives from major affinity groups so that the CDP is positioned to benefit the entire public television system.
What stations participated in the early working group of station development professionals to develop the Contributor Development Partnership?
More than two years ago, WGBH convened a group of station development professionals to review fundraising trends and examine strategic opportunities. The official working group consisted of: WNET, KAET, TPT, WETA, HoustonPBS, MPTV, KQED, KPBS, KCET, WGBH, and WGBY. Advisors to the working group were Chuck Longfield and Carol Rhine of Target/Blackbaud, PBS, and Strategy Consultant Richard McPherson. The work of this group led to the creation of the contributor development proposal.
What is the mission of the CDP?
The CDP mission is to help public television stations create and foster the adoption of stronger fundraising practices, add new prospects and contributors, and reduce fundraising costs while adapting to the changing fundraising landscape. Securing the financial future of public television requires that stations adopt a more collaborative fundraising model and share proven best practices. Assessing individual station success and adopting these successful tactics across the system are the keys to sustaining public broadcasting.
Where does the idea come from?
This is not a new idea: the notion of new collaborative fundraising efforts among stations has been discussed since the Funding the Vision Task Force in the 1990s. We in public television have good intentions and good fundraising ideas, but we have not had the aggregated data set and additional staff resources to actually focus on proven practices and change station behavior. Thanks to the CPB funding, this partnership can become a reality.
Who can participate in the CDP?
Public TV stations and joint licensees are encouraged and invited to join the CDP as Partner Stations.
How will stations be involved in the CDP?
Public television stations can join as Partner Stations who agree to exchange benchmark data and proven contributor practices. Partners will share strategies and tactics through the Station Advisory Group, working groups, meetings, webinars, chat groups, and e-communications. This collaboration will identify key fundraising practices, map strategic and tactical trends, and gather data and information on donor behavior. Station managers and fundraising professionals will be better informed of opportunities for prospect development and increased net revenue.
Will the CDP have a staff?
The CDP will have a full time Project Director. The CPB grant is covering half of this position; the other half is funded by WGBH. The Project Director will manage a collaborative effort to increase individual contributions for public television. The leadership of this Project Director is critical to the success of the project. This Project Director will be recruited from within the public television community. The Director will facilitate day-to-day operations, oversee the development of a system-wide Contributor Data Reference File and the Quarterly Report: the Revenue Opportunity and Action Report, lead a station rollout, and advocate adoption of revenue opportunities at scale. The Director will work closely with the data and system analysts and propose new initiatives that address the CDP's goals of building the contributor file and driving proven practices at economies of scale. The Project Director will oversee the Station Advisory Group and with the Group's input will set the project agenda and strategic timetable. The Project Director also will coordinate closely with the development work undertaken by PBS and other system organizations.
What is the role of the Station Advisory Group?
The 12-person Station Advisory Group represents a tremendous depth of public broadcasting experience and fundraising expertise. The Group will offer high-level counsel and recommendations on initiatives, areas of opportunities, and issues of scale. This group of general managers and development professionals will help the Project Director shape a focused agenda that fosters growth and helps to develop collaborative fundraising practices. The Station Advisory Group will discuss priorities, opportunities, and challenges; assess practices, trends, and diagnostic tools; and help recruit station partners and develop plans and goals. This Advisory Group will represent Partner Stations with a unified voice and advocate support for issues of industry-wide concern with other stations. The Station Advisory Group will convene throughout the year; at least two of its meetings will be held on-site, with the others through teleconference or webinar. The Station Advisory Group will have several working committees, and Advisory Group members are expected to participate in at least one working committee. These are task-oriented committees focusing on specific strategies and fundraising activities.
What is an Expert Advisor?
Many individuals and organizations are working with the CDP to achieve its goals. These "Expert" Advisors represent both for-profit and non-profit organizations (DEI, PBS, CPB, Blackbaud, Convio, Salesforce, etc.) interested in developing new sources of revenue for public broadcasting. These Advisors will be called in to work on specific projects with the Project Director and are valuable resources for the Project Director and Station Advisory Group. The Expert Advisors occasionally may be requested to attend Advisory Group meetings.
Who benefits from this new partnership?
Every Partner Station will benefit. Given the high cost of fundraising, there are many cooperative ventures worth exploring, ranging from data management to internet services, printing collaborations, and other valued member benefits. Public television needs to continue to identify successful strategies and practices, and we must challenge whether a fundraising strategy should be separately initiated at each station or executed at scale throughout the system. The CDP will serve in the best interest of stations.
What's in it for "me"?
Across the public broadcasting system, development staffs are being asked to do more with less, and to produce greater results. In this critical time, the CDP is an opportunity for stations to identify new channels for members; realize efficiencies; compare their success to other stations and organizations in a timely manner; and identify high-yield revenue areas. When it comes to evaluating your development efforts and allocating budget dollars, your station will know whether your program is in line with other stations your size, with PBS stations overall and, as appropriate, with other non-profits. The CDP will foster a climate where public broadcasting support can flourish. This project can help you reduce costs and increase net revenue. Long-term, it can free station staff to focus on planning, building relationships with members, and implementing new strategies that will ensure the success of your programs.
What does a station have to do as a Partner Station?
The Station Partner signs a letter of agreement that specifies that they will participate in the system-wide Contributor Data Reference File and the Quarterly Report: the Revenue Opportunity and Action Report. Each station must give permission for data downloads. Stations will be required to upgrade to a version of their software that includes the automated download of data to the Reference File. Stations utilizing member software (Team Approach, Memsys, Allegiance, Raiser's Edge or custom software) will be responsible for providing the data in a format that confirms to desired specifications. Once these conditions have been met, Station Partners have access to CDP reports, meetings, workshops, website, and webinars.
How much does it cost to join?
There are two types of Partner Stations: "Early Adopters" joining the CDP before June 30, 2011 will be exempt from membership fees for two years. Partner Stations joining after July 1, 2011 will pay an annual fee, which will be calculated based on station size.
How might this partnership help with specific fundraising activities?
The top priority identified by stations is building the membership base. The Project Director will work with stations to identify new tactics to build a prospect file, as well as strategies to turn prospects into new members (with a special emphasis on proven practices for the Web), and to maximize the potential of corporate matching gifts and sustainer giving programs. The Project Director will lead a review of proven tactics and strategies and develop consolidated management of matching gifts and sustainers for interested stations. This can lower administrative costs and enable both consistent customer service and faster launch time.
Key to successful fundraising efforts is research; contributor research can be conducted more efficiently by pooling data, analyzing segmentations, and demonstrating results. Therefore, this collaborative effort will provide interested stations an opportunity to collectively make the most of limited research funds. The CDP will provide a consolidated view of research and practices.
The Project Director will review each station's core fundraising competences on specific strategies and match them with stations that are less strong in these areas. By sharing these findings, Partner Stations will be able to opt in to become part of the collaborative solution on each fundraising strategy.
What is the Contributor Data Reference File?
The Contributor Data Reference File will be a simple data set across participating stations that will serve as a system-wide resource. It will facilitate future merge-purge capabilities and provide each Partner Station with an easier, more affordable way to participate in collaborative efforts. This collaborative Reference Data File will provide stations with opportunities to reduce costs, and it will encourage the wider adoption of proven fundraising practices. This Reference Data File will provide a system-wide, comprehensive view of giving data and a position from which participating stations can identify trends and drive thoughtful analysis of new techniques and fundraising strategies. The data will be managed by list and privacy protocols. All Partner Stations will be required to participate in the Contributor Data Reference File. Chuck Longfield and Target/Blackbaud Analysts will oversee these data-driven activities.
Why do we need a system-wide Contributor Data Reference File?
A consolidated Contributor Data Reference File allows for new membership services, including analysis, general system-wide membership comparisons, and scalable costs for the purchase of appended data on members. Data can be consolidated, and each individual station will retain control over its membership list. Because of the scale of the operation, significant cost savings can be achieved. For example, continual experimentation, advanced file segmentation, appended data, and other techniques currently are not easily accessible by all stations. This Reference File is an invaluable platform and empirical reference point from which stations can focus their efforts to improve performance.
Who is overseeing the CDP Contributor Data Reference File?
Chuck Longfield and Target Analytics/Blackbaud have been selected to oversee the system-wide Contributor Data Reference File and the Quarterly Report: the Revenue Opportunity and Action Report. Team Approach Software is currently deployed throughout most of the major market group public television stations, as well as in many other small and mid-sized stations. Approximately 70% of the Public Television member files are maintained in Team Approach/Blackbaud systems. The Project Director and the Blackbaud staff will work with the CDP Advisory Group and other system development leaders to get input on standardizing data fields, source codes, reporting metrics, and system-side analytics. Over the years, many stations have built a strong relationship with the Target Analytics/Blackbaud, and in particular the company's chief scientist, Chuck Longfield.
How will the consolidation of the CDP Contributor Data Reference File happen?
Each major fundraising software vendor will create an automated and standardized download process to pull and transmit a "simple set" of data to Target. Target will maintain this system-wide Contributor Data Reference File and provide stations with analyses and outputs.
How will "my" data be used?
Partner Station data will be used to benchmark key metrics, in comparison to other stations and, where possible, other non-profits. Station and Average Values will be derived from compiled data. Specific donor information will not be shared. The reporting will be timely and at a minimum will be done on a quarterly basis. The data also will be used to calculate high-yield revenue opportunities for specific strategies. Stations will have the opportunity of opting in to participate in the working groups for collaborative net revenue solutions.
What safeguards are in place to secure the Contributor Data Reference File?
Blackbaud has a comprehensive security policy framework that governs procedures and operations and meets third-party audit requirements such as PCI compliance, SAS70 Type II certified, and SOX-ITGC. Security procedures include a centralized network identity and access control system, adaptive security and intrusion prevention systems with regular log analysis and reporting, and enterprise-level anti-virus protection. Under no circumstances will the CDP or Blackbaud share, deliver, or export any data or list from the compiled reference file without the express consent and permission of the individual station/list owner.
What is aggregate data?
Aggregate Data means station data that has been processed by Target Analysis/Blackbaud so that it does not identify any individual person or organization.
What is the Quarterly Report: the Revenue Opportunity and Action Report?
The Revenue Opportunity and Action Report (ROAR) report will start with about a dozen key metrics. These metrics will be normalized for overall fundraising averages and adjusted for geographic differences. Station progress on these metrics will be reported quarterly. Key metrics being considered relate to sustainers, corporate matching gifts, online fundraising, planned giving, retention rates, percentage of donors giving $1,000 or more, size of prospect file, and percentage of recaptured lapsed members. We expect the number of metrics to grow over time. All Partner Stations will participate in the ROAR report.
When will the Quarterly Report: the Revenue Opportunity and Action Report (ROAR) start?
The first beta ROAR will be issued by the third quarter of 2011.
Is the CDP related to the PBS Online Fundraising Initiative?
No. The CDP is independent of PBS. Where appropriate, the CDP and PBS will complement development services.
When will the first webinar be available?
The first webinar on the Revenue Opportunity & Action Report is scheduled for late February or early March. All early adopter Partner Stations will be encouraged to participate.
Is the CDP sustainable?
The proposed plan is near term, a two-year project. During these two years the Project Director, Advisory Group, CPB and WGBH will evaluate results and enlist the help of supporting stations to develop a long-term strategy and pricing model. Long term, the CDP will be a station-supported initiative. If you have suggestions the Project Director would be happy to hear from you.
What is the difference between the Contributor Data Reference File and the Annual donorCentrics Report distributed by Target Analytics?
The Contributor Data Reference File will track only a dozen key metrics (e.g., viewer penetration, first-year renewal rates by source, percentage of sustainers, percentage of online revenue, percentage of matching gift revenue), whereas the Annual donorCentrics report tracks hundreds of more detailed metrics. Also, data from the Contributor Reference File will allow for quarterly reports comparing metrics between all participating stations. Lastly, the focus of the Contributor Reference File will be on business practices that lead to optimal outcomes; the Reference File will quantify the net revenue opportunity for each metric tracked. Stations involved in the CDP Contributor Data Reference File will have the opportunity to strategize and collaborate in ways that will realize net revenue gains.