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It’s fund drive time for many stations. Inspirations, premiums and enthusiasm abound.

Pledge drive fundraising campaigns may feel like a grind for community radio listeners and staff. Here are a few tools to motivate you and make your donations flow.

  1. Current just released a beautiful commentary by NFCB’s Sally Kane that will remind you why you do and support community radio. Read it and choose some stories and quotes for your pitch. A sample: “Through their connections to local service organizations, faith communities and schools, the staff and volunteers at community radio stations stitch the ordinary stories and experiences of people into an extraordinary tapestry that gives dimension and authenticity to the content. They curate narratives that are accurate representations of their communities, and they often serve as important local institutions generating as well as strengthening place. Community radio helps people tell the stories of where they live.”
  2. There are always interesting thank-you gifts stations can offer. From grab bags to chico bags, recipes to pint glasses, gifts are just the encouragement, but they can be fun. Some of the immortals include WFMU’s naming rights premium, giving donors right to name everything from light fixtures to doors. Above all, it’s best to think outside the box — a CD, book or DVD might generate interest, but experiences, something unique and gifts that tap into fun and identity are items that stick with people. There’s a reason why people love those Public Radio Nerd shirts.
  3. Social media during pledge drive is always great. Planning is key. Make sure to schedule posts when you have special programming, premiums or giving hours to promote. Don’t be shy about forward promoting your hours and gifts. Listeners’ video testimonals are fun and compelling. Social media is great to experiment with, so don’t neglect it.
  4. Stay upbeat! No one likes a crabby pledge person, and down energy dampens enthusiasm. Remember that pledge drive is the time for your listeners to share their stories about why they love your station, how you can highlight the wonderful things you do, and why financial support makes this institution able to do even more. Center listeners and their passion during your pledge drive, and remember how fortunate community radio is to have support.

Good luck, community radio compatriots. Go forth and kick butt!

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