We had a fantastically successful pledge drive show on Oak & Thorn - taking in just over $4,000 in pledges from all sources. (Including at least one Website pledge - perhaps one of you?) For comparison, we used to do about $1,500, and our previous best was last Spring at $2,300. So this was a HUGE jump, caused in large part by a challenge grant: one listener pledged $1,000 (at $84/month) IF and only IF, we could get one more listener to do the same! Well, we did, so there was $2K all at once, not even halfway through the show. That of course created momentum and energy, so the calls just kept coming in.
I take some credit as well, for developing a new style of pitching, focused around the pitches by musicians I recorded at music festivals last year. We had at least one caller cite a specific pitch (from Dougie MacLean) as the reason they called. That's really gratifying, both because I wrote that pitch and because it's fairly rare that a single pitch will actually motivate an individual to pledge. Even without the two big pledges we would have been around $2000, which would have been considered a success (our goal was $1,650).
It was also a lot of fun! My co-host and I have an easy rapport when pitching together, which helps a LOT, and we actually enjoy the process. Especially since we learned the listener-focused pitch strategies, which shorten the pledge breaks, focus on content, and sound better. We go into each 5-minute pledge break with a plan, including an exit strategy, so there's almost no flailing around for something to say. Each pitch is crafted around the show content and/or the community connection, the two most powerful attractions for our listeners. Even loupnoir, who dislikes the beg-a-thons, actually listened to and liked the whole show!