I would say the vast majority of fundraisers I am involved with reach their fundraising goal but what happens when that doesn’t happen.
We all love cheering on the air when the 100 percent mark is reached. It’s been a tough journey during the days of your fundraising. There is nothing like reaching the goal and feeling like victory has been reached.
When the goal doesn’t reach 100 percent, how do you and your staff process that? What do you tell the listeners? How do you celebrate not reaching the goal? Is this a sign your station is failing? All of those are great questions. 1.) You and your staff can process the fact that listeners have made this a great fundraising event, unless you absolutely crashed and only raised 50% of the goal. Just because 100 percent wasn’t reached in three or four days doesn’t mean the goal cannot be reached off air. Through direct mail, social media, email campaigns you can continue to let the need known to your audience. Your station doesn’t raise money only once or twice a year, you should be fundraising 365 days a year. 2.) You share with the listeners that 80 percent of your annual goal was raised in just three days and that is a huge victory. 3.) You celebrate what you did raise from the support received from listeners during your fundraiser. This is not a loss, this is a huge victory to raise what you did in just a few days. 4.) More than likely this is not a sign your station is failing. Again, unless your fundraiser just tanked, this is not a loss. This is a sign that it will take many ways of raising the funds to hit 100 percent and may take the whole year to hit the goal and go over.
Often we walk away from a fundraiser that doesn’t hit a 100 percent with our tails between our legs and we accept defeat. I would encourage you to process where you finish differently. Don’t look at you missed your goal by 20 percent but that 80 percent came into your station within just a few days. Again fundraising should be 365 days a year, not just one or two weeks out of the year, those days are over. If you are only doing one fundraiser a year, look at doing two fundraisers and possibly a year end fundraiser. I have one client that recently added a year end fundraiser in December. They take two days and ask for one time gifts. This is to end the year strong. Last year they raised nearly $500,000 in just one-time gifts and almost all of them were on credit card. You are not burning your listeners out with more fundraisers, your staff may feel the pain but the vast majority of your listeners are not being burned out because you added a fundraiser.
I look forward to seeing many of you this fall on the fundraising trail. Have a wonderful fundraising season.
Bill Scott is a fundraising consultant and coach for ShareMedia Services. Bill has over 30 years of experience as an on-air talent at stations like WCIE, The JOY FM, WAY FM, has produced five syndicated radio programs and has hosted about 700 broadcast fundraising events helping stations and organizations fund their ministries. You can reach Bill via email at [email protected].