It’s Fall Fundraising Season and many stations are in full swing for their fundraisers. The Heart Share team will be supporting many phenomenal stations over the fall season. And we have already had several fruitful/successful events!
Here’s some things we are seeing/hearing/learning:
1-Principles work across the board; The execution, however, should be different at each station.
The #1 rule of communication is to know YOUR audience. Your audience at your station is not the same audience at Station WABC. You may say, “but they are all listeners.” While that is true, the type of listeners vary from station to station. If you don’t understand that, you are going to struggle trying to use the same execution at your station that another station may use. There are a lot of differences from station to station that affect listenership: the personality of the on-air team, the blend of music, the content of the breaks, the location of the station, the population/cume, etc. Just like my church has a certain “look” as far as the congregation, so does your station. And that “look” dictates HOW you execute things on the air. You can’t take a playbook from station WABC and use it at your station. The stations that I hear struggling on the air sound like they are using a playbook from another station.
2-Be real. Maybe a better way to put it is be Raw. The fluff appeals won’t move the needle at most stations. If they do move the needle, it will be because there is enough cume to get by with using the fluff. Keep in mind that we have just come through 18 plus months of the pandemic. People are tired, frustrated, disgusted with the government (on both sides of the aisle) and weary at hearing a bunch of fluff that never matters to anything.
What your station is delivering (I hope) is the very essence of what has helped people get through the last 18 months: HOPE. And not just the HOPE that’s like a WISH on a star, but the REAL FOR SURE HOPE of Jesus. Remind your listeners of that. Remind them how much it has been needed. Share stories/testimonies (audio on air/video on social media, if possible) of the impact of that hope. When I hear on air hosts that say, “Your gift will keep WABC keep doing what we do, so call now,” you are falling short of the real motivator for people. It would be better said, “Your gift will help keep the HOPE of Jesus forefront in people’s minds, hearts, and lives THROUGH the ministry of WABC.” It’s not about your station. It’s about HOPE.
3-Listen. It’s great to have a plan during your on air event. But, it’s even better to LISTEN to how your listeners are engaging (or not engaging) with the event. I often say that the listeners (in partnership with the Holy Spirit) are the “producers” of the event. For example, at one event, we had a gentleman call in and say how convicted he was through one of the songs he heard on the radio, and that he as a man needed to step up and lead in his home and with his giving. We could have said, “Thanks to Jim for his $500 gift” and moved on. But we LISTENED, read his comment, and felt moved to challenge other men who could relate to Jim to call, and several phone calls later (all from men), over $10,000 had come in over a fifteen minute period. We need to learn to listen.
These are just a few “suggestions” that come to mind as we roll into the Fall Fundraising Season. Our team is praying for you and your station. Your community needs the hope you provide.
If we can serve you in any way, join our Heart Share Facebook group or email [email protected].
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]…