I so appreciate what Jon Hull shared in his recent HisAir article. He’s a mentor in the industry and has more experience under his belt that I will ever have. As a guy who is on the road almost every week of Spring and Fall serving station partners, I wanted to chime in here with some thoughts.
1-Fundraising IS an “all year affair.”
The challenge is after the fundraiser is over, most stations move back to the other “priorities,” concerts, in studio guests, music logs, underwriting, staff issues, the list goes on. But we have to understand, we can’t compartmentalize ‘fundraising.’ Everything we do at our stations affects fundraising.
Our PRIORITY DETERMINES CAPACITY. I came across an interesting Scripture the other week.
Ephesians 5:15-16, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Some translations say, “redeeming the time.” In the original language, it means to buy something valuable in the marketplace. The word “time” is really not fitting, because it’s not talking about chronology, it’s literally talking about “Opportunity.” So the verse really is saying, “Make the most of the [God-appointed purpose] of your opportunity.”
When we PRIORITIZE the importance of fundraising, it will be reflected in all that we do.
2-Thinking about the future means doing something different in the present. I agree so much with Jon here. We live in a day and age where most of our listeners were never educated about tithing/giving and then we launch into our 3 day fundraiser (or 15 days…or 30 days…) expecting for all of our listeners to be sold out believers who are ready to give -over and above their gifts to their churches- (which statistics tell us most aren’t giving to their churches) to our station fundraiser. We have to take on (fortunately or unfortunately) the responsibility of teaching biblical stewardship and you have to do that all year long.
3-I get the privilege to be a “consultant” for a handful of stations that I am honored to serve. And I’m not a fan of the word “consultant.” As a matter of fact, much to Jon’s point about familiarity with the station (its message, brand, heart, community, staff, etc.), it’s why I made an intentional decision years ago to not serve stations if the request was for me to simply show up for a Spring/Fall fundraiser. All of the stations I am honored to serve, I am doing life with each month in some capacity; I believe it’s made a difference. (If this is a model you’d like to talk about with your station, I am happy to send you some references.)
4-Jon reminded us correctly about the purpose of fundraising and ultimately, the purpose (I believe) of Christian radio-to point people to the glory of God. It doesn’t mean we have to be “preachy” or sound “overly spiritual.” (Honestly, I think that’s a major disconnect with our listeners anyway. I think we have forgotten what is important to the average listener, but that’s another topic.) It means allowing the Holy Spirit to communicate through us and our station to achieve our mission.
The best comments I have heard from our station fundraisers where I serve are comments like:
“I didn’t want it to end; I was so encouraged to hear what God is doing in our community.”
“I couldn’t turn off the station, hearing how God used my small gift of support to change the lives of others was awesome. It sounded like a celebration!”
If we aren’t hearing comments like these, at least occasionally, we may want to listen closer at our on-air fundraising events.
Thank you, Jon Hull, for your heart for our industry and the way you are allowing God to use you to challenge all of us to be better!
Jack Eason is the President of The Heart Share Group, an organization dedicated to helping organizations reach their full potential through leadership development, brand development, and partnership development. Heart Share serves Christian radio through donor development strategies, fundraising initiatives (including on-air campaigns and major donor support), and creative partnerships. Contact Jack at [email protected]…