provided through franchise agreements, and funds solicited directly from the public are usually supplemental. This means that communities are being offered a service for which they do not have to pay, except in the form of costs that may be
passed along by local cable operators. This would seem to make public access television an "easy sell" to communities and to local officials, but such is rarely the
case. Fund raising has been identified as a problem by most nonprofits, and this
survey offers clear evidence that this problem is compounded in the field of public access cable television.
Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook 1998, vol. 2 (New Providence, NJ: R. R. Bowker, 1998): xi; and U. S. Code, vol. 47, sec. 541-42.
David J. Saylor, "Municipal Ripoff: The Unconstitutionality of Cable Television
Franchise Fees and Access Support Payments", Catholic University Law Review 35
(Spring 1986): 676-77.
U.S. Code, vol. 47, sec. 542
Linda K. Fuller, Community Television in the United States: A Sourcebook on Public,
Educational, and Governmental Access, ( Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994), 2; and Ralph Engelman, Public Radio and Television in America: A Political History, (Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1996), 260.
See, e.g., Davis Community TV, Santa Fe Public Access, DATV -- Dayton Access
Television, Redding Community Access Corp., and Mid-Peninsula Access Corporation, Community Media Resource Directory, ( Washington, DC: Alliance for Community
Media, 1994), 13, 27-28, 179, 184, 197. Perhaps the most important fund raising tool that
nonprofit organizations have is their nonprofit certification, bestowed by the Internal
Revenue Service ( IRS). This certification allows donors to deduct contributions from their
taxes. How much one can deduct depends upon the type of nonprofit organization (the IRS
has several categories), the organization's tax bracket, and other variables.
In 1996, a total of $150.7 billion was given to nonprofit organizations in the United
States. Of this figure, individuals gave 85.5 percent or $130 billion. ( Ann Kaplan, ed., Giving USA 1996, Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 1996, [ Norwalk, CT: AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy, 1997], 16-17.) The reasons people are so generous,
according to Michael Seltzer, a pioneer in nonprofit management and fund raising, fall into
six areas: to act on their values and beliefs, to help create and maintain a sense of community, to increase their sense of personal worth, to leave something for posterity, to have
fun and create pleasure, and to feel good. Typical sources of funding include individuals,
corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Although there is a tendency to think
of foundations and corporations as being the biggest contributors to nonprofit groups, as
mentioned earlier, almost 90 percent of the total private (nongovernment) dollars given to
nonprofit organizations comes from individuals. Therefore, except for nonprofit agencies
such as Head Start that are largely supported by government, most nonprofit fund raising
efforts should be directed toward individual donors. ( Susan A. Ostrander, Money for
Change: Social Movement Philanthropy at Haymarket People's Fund, [ Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995], 13-14; and Michael Seltzer, Securing Your Organization'sFuture
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Public Access Television:America's Electronic Soapbox.
Contributors: Laura R. Linder - Author, Douglas Kellner - Author.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 68.
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