Knock, knock. Who's there? PBS!

Posted: Nov 29, 2011 7:46 PM by Andy Koen
Updated: Nov 29, 2011 7:56 PM

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COLORADO SPRINGS - If you hear a knock at the door this week, don't be surprised to see someone from the local PBS station standing on your porch. The public broadcaster has begun going door-to-door to try and increase membership in Colorado.

Amanda Mountain, station manager of affiliate KTSC-TV in Pueblo, says her organization depends heavily on memberships, grants and donations to pay for the local shows they produce.

"Canvassing has been a really great, low-cost, high-yield way to raise memberships," Mountain said.

Since the canvassing began in August, Rocky Mountain PBS has signed up some 1,993 new members and around $116,930 in pledges. While publicly subsidized through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Mountain points out that less than 10 cents out of every $1 in their budget comes from taxpayers.

In fact, she views the canvassing as a means of getting personal feedback from viewers and doesn't worry the approach will come across as begging.

"The people who are our canvassers are our members," Mountain said. "They aren't there to knock on the door and do some heavy selling, they're there just to ask you what you love about Rocky Mountain PBS, to get your feedback and then ask if you're interested in becoming a member."

Rocky Mountain PBS operates 5 affiliate stations in Colorado including Channel 8. They are the first in the country to use canvassers for fundraising. The door knockers are not PBS employees but rather contract workers hired by Rocky Mountain Voter Outreach. At a cost of around $4.60 per new member, Mountain says the price is much lower than putting together a pledge drive. That said, the canvassers will not replace the larger and more lucrative pledge drives.

"There is always a need to figure out how to best serve our communities," Mountain said. "That was the impetus behind figuring out more and innovative ways to connect with the people face to face."

The canvassers are currently visiting neighborhoods in downtown and north-central Colorado Springs, as well as in Old Colorado City and the West Side. They are required to wear a polo shirt with the Rocky Mountain PBS logo on it. Mountain says they will also be carrying a clip board and should provide homeowners with an identification number upon request.

Topics: PBS, public broadcasting, KTSC-TV, Channel 8, news, Colorado, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Amanda Mountain, station manager, door-to-door, canvasing, Rocky Mountain Voter Outreach