For sure, these are uncertain times, but don’t make a mistake and underestimate your listener’s generosity.
I’ve been in radio and fundraising for decades and have seen challenging times. My good friend Todd Isberner and I did a pledge drive during 9/11. I know you are thinking, impossible. The first day of the pledge drive came to a screeching halt when the attack happened, and we, of course, shut down the event. We were in Montana and knew we couldn’t come back to help them if we didn’t finish the event. We spent the first day with updates and on-air prayer all day long. The second day we came back and explained that the fundraiser couldn’t be rescheduled and that our heart was to be there for the listener during one of the most tragic times in our country’s history. Listeners came alongside the station, understanding, and the generosity was extraordinary. We had a powerful fundraiser (warning: don’t try this at home.)
I have seen fundraising shortly after George Bush Jr announced we were at war and, of course, during the recession. Every time I was amazed at the listener’s generosity. During tough times people begin to look at what they value most, and often Christian radio is at the top of the list.
If you are going to do a fundraiser this Spring or early Summer, then go all out. Don’t hint that you need money. Don’t do a “more music” pledge drive. Go all out. This doesn’t mean you are deaf to what is going on around you. People value your station, and they are ready to give. Share that you know this is a crazy time for a fundraiser, but your heart is to keep hope alive. Mention, if you are out of work, sit this fundraiser out, but if you are in a good position, you are needed more than ever before.
I’ve been watching all the different fundraisers going on. The stations that are doing a full-blown pledge drive are seeing great results. Again, don’t be deaf on what is going on, but don’t be afraid to boldly ask for donations. I realize that 15% of folks are out of work across the nation, but that also means 85% are working.
As I write this article, I am doing a CURE drive, and we are seeing fantastic generosity from the listeners of WAY FM. We are not doing anything for Covid-19, we are raising money for kids to receive surgeries in other countries. This is day three of five, but the first two days kept up with last year, and some of the day-parts have done better than last year.
People are ready to help, they just need to know how to help. If you are connecting with your listeners, there is no reason you shouldn’t expect a great fundraiser. I love what Jon Acuff recently said in a video, “Pivot don’t panic.” You can see the full video of what Jon had to say on our Facebook page for Vidare Creative.
Please let me know how your fundraising is going this Spring. I am excited to hear great things.