I receive internal communications from a few community radio stations. The most common communication I see is usually about pledge drive with details about everything from how to sign up for shifts to when the direct mail is going out. I’ve noticed a few things that can be easily remedied at any station.
Coordinate the direct mail to land on the day the drive starts or a day or two before. Why, you may ask? Because our challenge isn’t getting people to renew in community radio – it’s getting new supporters. Your over the air pitching should be focused on acquiring those first-time donors – let the mail do its job and bring in the people who need to renew or make an additional contribution.
Consider an entirely taped effort that drives traffic to your online form. This series would have a very specific message over the course of a 7-day campaign. You can use it to generate awareness about a specific effort: buying new equipment so the DJs CD players don’t skip, additional support for community coverage, increasing the number of monthly donors or the number of major donors. Experiment with a very focused message with a couple of hard goals and then report back when it’s over to let your audience know the outcome.
Don’t break your backs getting the overnight programmers set up. I can remember the days when we would divvy up staffing overnights over the course of a 14-day drive. It is not the product of intelligent design. You can organize things so they have a couple of phones and a stack of forms to take the few calls. And to cultivate those relationships with overnight programmers, consider throwing a pajama party one night of the drive. To make it fair, put the names of the overnight programmers in a drawing and pick one for each drive.
One person should be dedicated to take a picture of the food donated to your drive and thanking the restaurant on social media. It’s a little thing that goes a long way.
I’m sure many of you have volunteers who’ve been answering phones for years who are noticing that they aren’t ringing as much. Remind them that online giving has skyrocketed and that monthly giving is growing. That means the phones don’t ring as much…and that’s a good thing. The silence of direct deposit is golden. You may find you don’t need as many phone answerers. This is a great opportunity to think about how your station can involve people in a different way. The best thing they could do to help the station? Join the phone bank to call the list of people who gave during the drive and personally thank them as a devoted volunteer of the station. They feel needed and people who are personally thanked are more likely to increase their contribution.