FriendRaiser Reflections

The JOY FM recently held our annual FriendRaiser and if you are a loyal listener, you heard all about it. Maybe you even gave during that week and helped us reach our goal. If you did, THANK YOU!

All of the “action” for our FriendRaisers and Shareathons takes place at our Florida studios and I got to go this year and take part for the first time.

FriendRaiser-2023You, the listeners, hear all the on-air stuff. The big asks, the challenges, shockamotos and the stories coming in from all the people giving. I too, all these years, only knew what I would hear coming through the speakers but I want to share a little “behind the scenes” look into FriendRaiser through my experience while I was there.

We arrived in Sarasota on Monday and headed straight to the station for a staff meeting before the big event starts on Tuesday. We got some good preaching and inspiration from Johanna, some love from Carmen and cheering and encouragement from our President, Jim.  I had missed the phone room training earlier that day and quickly got assigned to work with Ashley to get a crash course on taking calls from our listeners.

Monday is a reunion of all our staff who haven’t seen each other in while. There’s lots of hugs and catching up.  Some spouses and children are there and some of the stations newest little additions too!

Tuesday through Friday are long days and most of the staff are there from start to finish. My day began each day at 5:30am, going in and helping Nancy from our Alabama office get breakfast ready, coffee made, and then get on the phones.

Jennie, Jacqueline and the rest of the Donor Relations team have the phone room working like a well-oiled machine. The IT team makes sure all the technology is working as it should and handle any hiccups along the way. Just before 6am, the phone ops flock in, get their coffees and start taking calls. There are ladies that take vacations from their full time jobs, just to come and work the phone room during our fundraisers! I met some incredible ladies that love the Lord and love The JOY FM too.

The air staff are working multiple shifts each day. It is not uncommon to see a sign on an office door that someone is taking a midday siesta to refresh before another air shift. They are long days!

And even though it was a fundraising week, the Promotions show must go on. They had to come in and help answer phones, prep for events and go out to concerts and parades; working crazy hours. Concerts don’t stop during FriendRaiser! Kudos to the Promotions team; Liv, Sandy, Kelly, Bryan, Rich and Verlin!

One of the best parts of the week was Benji’s birthday. Carmen had someone run out and get cupcakes and an email went out to meet at a certain time to sing happy birthday to Benji. When everyone arrived, Benji was in the bathroom. When I tell you that these guys all shared one brain…. Without even discussing it, they all quietly surrounded the bathroom door and waited for him to come out. You should’ve seen his reaction when he opened the door and found a whole group of people standing there singing to him! We all had a good laugh!

For all our long hours and hard work, the station rewards us with great food all week! There’s always the smell of something delicious coming from the phone room every day! In between meals, there are plenty of snack options too.

In between work shifts, I got to visit and spend time with coworkers I don’t see often. I was able to sit and eat and get to know some folks better, hold babies, and some of us went out to a Tampa Bay Rays game, and did some golfing after work a couple times. It was late and we had to get up early again the next day, but you only live once right?

All in all, it was an amazing week! Some of the stories I heard from listeners while working in the phone room, I may never forget. It was humbling to hear that room buzzing with calls from people that love us enough to make a financial commitment to the future of the station. Stories of illness, family members that have passed, children that gave from their piggy bank, and the folks giving the last few dollars in their bank account. Many times, I found myself with tears in my eyes while speaking to these hurting people that are faithful to the Lord.

The big finale in the studio, removing all the stickie notes and throwing them everywhere was definitely a fun experience!

Thank you for being part of The JOY FM community! You all blessed me that week as much as the station blesses you too! I love being a part of The JOY FM Family!