WAMU 88.5 : About

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Listener FAQ: About supporting WAMU 88.5

What is membership?

Public radio listeners who make annual contributions and become donors are known as members. Membership programs like WAMU 88.5's imply a subscriber relationship made on an annual basis. A WAMU 88.5 membership contribution is considered an annual gift and membership is valid for 12 months from the receipt for a contribution. For members on a monthly installment, membership is valid for 12 months after the receipt of the first installment. For members giving through our sustaining membership program, membership is valid after the receipt of the first monthly contributions and continues monthly until the member requests a change of amount or cancellation.

Is a membership contribution tax deductible?

WAMU 88.5 is not associated with other public radio or television stations in the area, nor is it an ancillary facility of National Public Radio. A contribution to WAMU 88.5 remains with us, just as donations to other public broadcasting entities remain in their coffers. Because our licensee, American University, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and WAMU 88.5 is a department within the university, a contribution is a donation to a nonprofit organization, and is eligible for tax deduction. WAMU 88.5 is required by the IRS to notify donors of the amount of an annual contribution that is eligible for tax deduction purposes. This figure represents the amount of a member's total annual contribution, minus the value of any and all thank-you gifts the member requested during the year. This information is typically included on a gift acknowledgement letter or - for those who give monthly installments - in a separate letter mailed in January.

Why does WAMU 88.5 hold on-air membership campaigns?

Occasionally, WAMU 88.5 takes to the airwaves with special, week-long membership programs. Our year-round mission is to broadcast the finest in news, talk, and cultural radio programs, but our on-air campaigns refocus our one-way broadcasting medium, allowing us to enter a dialogue with our members. Because there is always a measure of uncertainty regarding funding - due in part to the uncertain economy and its effect on corporations and the challenges posed to grant making organizations and foundations - listeners who contribute are the most reliable and most important source of support for WAMU 88.5 and the public radio system. On-air membership campaigns are the most effective and immediate means of seeking new, community-wide support for WAMU 88.5, at the same time replacing those listeners who can no longer continue their annual support with new or previous WAMU 88.5 members.

How often does WAMU 88.5 conduct on-air membership campaigns?

WAMU 88.5 typically holds three on-air membership campaigns each year. The winter eight-day campaign is usually held in February. In May - at the start of WAMU 88.5's fiscal year - the station holds a five-day, on-air "mini-campaign" to invite new members and to welcome back rejoining members. In October, WAMU 88.5 holds an eight-day drive, which is the largest of the three campaigns in terms of dollars and number of members.

What benefits & "Thank You" gifts may listeners expect as a member?

While we frequently point out that listeners receive benefits by way of our programs every day, WAMU 88.5 shows its appreciation for all $50 and greater contributors by offering additional year-round benefits, including the ability to subscribe to our monthly eNewsletter, "Inside WAMU 88.5", and $5 off CDs of WAMU 88.5-produced programs. To subscribe to the monthly eNewsletter, please send an e-mail message to our Member Service team at membership@wamu.org. Please be sure to include your name. To order CDs, call (202) 885-1230.

For members who make contributions of $120 or greater per year, WAMU 88.5 offers the MemberCard, which entitles the cardholder to two-for-one entrees at more than 250 area restaurants and more than 7,500 restaurants across the continent. Other MemberCard benefits include two-for-one savings and privileges at museums and performances, as well as discounts at bed and breakfasts, specialty online stores, and area factory outlets. This is a year-round benefit to members regardless of when or how their donation is made.

WAMU 88.5 typically offers the majority of unique thank-you gifts during our on-air campaigns. When and if one requests a thank-you gift in return for a contribution made during an on-air membership campaign, we ask for patience. Fulfillment of a premium request can take from 10 to 12 weeks following the receipt of a contribution. To keep our costs as low as possible, we do not "stockpile" our thank-you gifts; we order only what we need.

A special group of generous supporters choose to donate greater-than-typical amounts, and the Leadership Circle was created to recognize those individuals for their commitment to - and dedicated financial support of - the mission, vision, and values of WAMU 88.5. Philanthropic contributions of $1,000 and greater entitle donors to membership in WAMU's Leadership Circle, which offers members with a unique array of exclusive benefits depending on the amount of the donation. For more information about Leadership Giving at WAMU, call 202.885.3804 or send an e-mail message to leadershipcircle@wamu.org.

When does a membership end?

Membership ends on the last day of the 12th month after receiving their first donation, or their last renewal donation. Not all members are prompt with their continuing support. Because our members are the lifeblood of WAMU 88.5, we are systematic in our attempts to help each member remember to continue their support of the station and its programs each year. Members receive their first reminder for renewal in the ninth month after becoming a member, and once a month for five months, or until we receive a renewal contribution. Members may also receive a personal telephone call as a reminder to renew during your final month of membership. To avoid additional renewal mailings and the telephone reminder, we encourage our members to please renew their memberships early. Making a renewal gift early will not "shorten" an annual membership: renewals will simply extend a WAMU 88.5 membership for another full year.

Annual membership aside, how often are members asked to contribute?

From time to time, WAMU 88.5 offers special programs, celebrates anniversaries, and explores new fundraising strategies. Because our members are extremely loyal and generous, many of our members choose to make more than one contribution during the year. As a result, members may receive an additional gift appeal to coincide with some of these events. Please note that additional gifts made by members during their membership year do not affect the original membership expiration date and renewal reminder schedule.

Will WAMU 88.5 honor my preference not to receive additional mail or telephone calls?

Many WAMU 88.5 members plan their annual gift, and request only one letter or telephone call to remind them to renew at the end of their annual membership. WAMU 88.5 will do our best to honor any donor preferences. If a member prefers not to receive a mail or telephone reminder to make an annual contribution, simply letting us know allows us to note that in the membership record. And each member's preference remains in effect until such a time as the member requests it to be removed. Members may send an e-mail message to membership@wamu.org or call (202) 885-1252 to make their preference known.

What if I have other questions?

Please call us at (202) 885-1252 or contact us by e-mail at membership@wamu.org


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