Listening to The WAY-FM this morning I heard the DJ say that if I gave $100 toward The WAY’s fund drive, a South Sudanese refugee child would get food for a month. The website provided more information:
Clicking through this picture, I found a video about a child named Violet and the claim written in bold print:
It’s the perfect time to partner with Feed the Hungry for WAY-FM’s Year-End Pledge Drive. Every gift of $100 not only keeps the ministry of WAY-FM going, but also provides a month of hot meals to these refugee kids – just in time for the Christmas season!
Just in time for the Christmas season, I wrote to WAY-FM and then called the donor phone number to ask how my $100 could keep WAY-FM on the air and feed a hungry refugee child for a month. After my second attempt, a wonderful young woman told me that WAY-FM is partnering with Feed the Hungry and that Feed the Hungry’s food would be “unlocked” by my donation. She assured me that 100% of the $100 would stay with WAY-FM to keep them on the air. She told me they call it “unlocking a door” when a listener donated the requisite funds.
All I could envision was a bunch of locked rooms with food inside and hungry children outside waiting for an American Christian to send $100 to WAY-FM. A month of food held hostage waiting for the $100 ransom.
Later I learned that this arrangement between WAY-FM and Feed the Hungry is similar to K-LOVE’s and Operation Warm’s coat donor illusion.
In an email, a representative from WAY-FM very candidly explained that Feed the Hungry wasn’t withholding food while waiting for WAY-FM donors to give $100. I was informed that the partnership was about mutual benefit and that Feed the Hungry just wanted WAY-FM listeners to feel a part of it.
So bottom line, the $100 helps WAY-FM and doesn’t “provide a month of hot meals to these refugee kids.”
One moral of the story is: If you want to help hungry kids or provide a warm coat, don’t give a donation to a radio station.
Wouldn’t it be really revolutionary if a DJ said during a pledge drive: “Hey, we need money to play music on the radio. If you like what we do, how about donating some cash to help us out?” It would be mind blowing if tomorrow WAY-FM DJs said, “Hey we’re sorry about linking the donation with the month of food for a third world child. Feed the Hungry is going to give that food anyway. We wanted some mutual promotion because both groups are doing really good things for the Kingdom. But we at WAY-FM do need your donations to keep playing music and we encourage you to give to us and Feed the Hungry.”
I would probably give to a station like that. I think a lot of people would because they would just want to reward the honesty — just in time for the Christmas season when we celebrate the birth of the guy we are supposed to be imitating.