One of the most significant issues I see in the world of fundraising is the lack of deadlines. I love what Brant Hansen said, “If people are motivated by deadlines, let’s give them as many deadlines as possible.” Ok, I know by quoting Brant I now owe him a royalty of some kind.
Many times you see a station only have an hourly deadline. I wouldn’t say that it is terrible all the time, but I would say that it’s bad 90% of the time. I don’t believe you are training your audience to wait for the last minute, but you have found out a deadline cuts through all of the distraction that faces a listener and motivates them to give in that moment.
Keep in mind you are doing two sales pitches on every break. The first sales pitch you are reminding people why they need to give to your station with a heartfelt message. The second sales pitch you are telling them why they must call now. If you don’t complete both, your response will not be all it should be.
Your listeners are busy and often wait until the last minute to get involved in your event. I am sure many of your listeners have decided to give in their hearts, but they put it off for a more convenient time to make the call. When they hear a deadline and that you are not going to make the challenge, they stop their busy schedule to help. Your deadline cuts through all the clutter in their life.
I suggest we give them as many deadlines as we can. How many is a good number? I always do at least two deadlines per hour but love it if it’s possible to get in three deadlines. Your audience is changing every 10 to 15 minutes, so keep running those deadlines and perform them like it’s the first time you have done one on the air. Most of your listeners will only catch one or two deadlines.
Some are asking, do deadlines work? Great question, and the answer is 99% of the time if done correctly. I can remember being at one station, and we had raised about $8,000 in an hour. We had two deadlines in the hour. As we were about to end the hour, we were about four people away at a current amount of giving to hit the goal, and time was up. I asked for 60 seconds of grace with a stopwatch to count us down. The phones went crazy during the 60-second countdown. During that 60 second countdown, we raised $11,000! Why? Because the countdown cut through the clutter, and everyone wanted their station to hit the goal.
A deadline is always your friend and a fantastic tool. I use deadlines in direct mail, social media, and on-air when it comes to fundraising.
In closing, I have three words for your next fundraiser: deadlines, deadlines, and deadlines.