May 09

Should Wikipedia Follow NPR Pledge Drive Model?

This post was originally published on May 13, 2009.

KQED is having its spring pledge drive – and I hate pledge drives.  I wish there were a way to avoid it, but they do serve a purpose: 1) to hear the variety of reasons why you should donate and 2) to interrupt the regular programming so that you realize how important it is to you.

The pledge drive did make me think about other things which are free and that I take for granted.  I could live without most of what I came up with, but I felt that Wikipedia is an exception.  I don’t use it every day, but it shows up often enough in searches, I have a Wikipedia app on my Blackberry, it’s great for ending the never-ending debate at a bar.  And yet they only asked for money that one time in December 2008.

Unfortunately, donating does not end radio pledge drives on the spot, but I think that Wikipedia could have ‘rolling pledge drives’ that interrupt my use of its site to just remind me that I’ve been using it for free.  Say for example that I use the website a few times within 30 days, I might get a pop-up to ask for a donation.  Then I can donate what I want, and the website won’t bother me until 90 days have passed.  You can play with the model a little bit, but using an occasional guilt trip with reinforcing positive feedback wouldn’t be a bad thing.  I think this would be more successful than the micro-payments model that Rupert Murdoch wants to pursue.

Btw, I did donate to KQED and Wikipedia [I’m not being snooty – I’m just saying…].  If you use Wikipedia, why not donate too?

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