For four decades the National Federation of Community Broadcasters [NFCB] has been providing essential services for community media makers across the country. Over those four decades the business of providing public service media has changed significantly. The business of operating and funding non-commercial stations has been turned on its ear by changing audiences, nearly unlimited media choices, technological advances and fundamental changes in the way people support public media.
These changes require stations to be more responsive, more efficient and more effective in all aspects of their operations. Community-based, locally-supported media organizations can do this by ‘upping their game’ in the core areas of content, engagement and revenue and NFCB can help. But, more than help, NFCB can teach station leaders to use the best information, best practices and best systems available to re-imagine their operations and make transformative changes that will last.
In 2015, we convened summits across the country to find out what stations were experiencing in their communities. The answers we got aligned with the findings of industry leader, Ted Krichels in his report “Public Media Models of the Future”. He gave this overview:
“Conversations in recent years have often focused on the uncertainties and difficulties that stations face in dealing with financial, political and technological challenges. However, researching sustainable service models has helped demonstrate that these challenges, although real, are not a roadblock to station relevance and success.”
NFCB’s approach to advancing community media is the idea that the collective impact of stations is greater than the sum of its parts and that by strengthening individual stations, we can magnify the collective impact of all stations. NFCB is now addressing those challenges with our Station Accelerator program which offers a menu of services that stations can choose from to build their own capacity to better serve their communities. Some of the Station Accelerator offerings are web-based, others are provided on-site. They include things like training webinars and on-site facilitation as well as collaborative fundraising initiatives and much more.
Check out everything we have available and let us know how we can help you!
CEO – NFCB
What has NFCB learned?
The community media funding model needs a serious redesign (major giving, sustainer programs, mobile giving, and crowd-sourced funding all need to be fully integrated into development efforts).
Operations need to be multi-platform. We need to engage strategically in the digital space, which requires ongoing effort, targeted training, resources, and additional capacity.
Content has to engage listeners in new ways. With a plethora of choices available to listeners, the ground rules for staying relevant have changed.
We all need to build our capacity. We need greater capacity for embracing the morphing media ecosystem. Collaboration is a promising form tool for expanding capacity.
Each member of the NFCB staff has expertise in different areas of station operation, including governance, executive, program and financial management, social media, digital content delivery, underwriting, engagement, strategic planning and fundraising. We offer consulting services at rates that stations can afford.
Our services range from creation of documents and templates for day-to day operations to on-site planning and facilitation as well as many other critical services. We go beyond traditional consulting services by getting into the trenches with station leaders and personnel to help them move their strategic decisions into actions through education, infrastructure setup and hands-on training. We also recognize that stations have limited resources, limited employee pools, difficult governance issues and in some cases, leadership in transition or in need of mentoring. However, most of these can be overcome through thorough assessment, documentation, updated infrastructure, training, mentorship and facilitation.
Most important, we understand the culture of community radio and the kind of change management needed to navigate that culture – honoring and preserving what’s good and changing what’s getting in the way of progress. Members of NFCB are entitled to two hours of phone consulting per year and a discount of 50% off the regular consulting rates for both on- and off-site consulting services. Fill out the form below for get more information about our consulting services.
- Governance, strategic planning, facilitation
- Executive counseling
- Organizational audits
- Underwriting / business support program review and consulting
- Engagement – community-based and digital
- Fundraising consulting
- Membership / transactional / drive planning and implementation
- Major gift work
- Donor stewardship
- Content / programming
- Managing program change
- Program schedule assessment
- Assessment and training for better on-air sound
- Financial management
- Bookkeeping service
- Audit assistance
- Understanding and presenting financial information
Back-office systems and services
NFCB has the expertise to assess, implement and train your staff on a variety of back-office systems and processes. Over the last two years, we have worked with several stations to convert their membership and underwriting databases to the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Package and Click & Pledge online fundraising systems. Additionally, we are providing consulting on QuickBooks Online as well as a variety of business-oriented, web-based systems such as LivePlan (strategic and business planning), SmartSheet (project management); Float (cash flow monitoring), bill.com (payables tracking and payment) and G-Suite (Google’s office productivity tools).
Our approach to this work is to start with an initial assessment of your current systems in order to prepare a detailed work plan for upgrading not just your system, but your policies, procedures, forms, templates, web assets, solicitation and stewardship collateral so that once the new system is in place, you will have everything you need to make it start working for you right away. Following the assessment and planning phase, we work with your appropriate staff, board and volunteers to handle the data conversion from your current system, train the people who will be using the new system and work with them to incorporate industry best practices into their work.
The organizations that have gone through this conversion process have all reported significant increases in drive, sustainer and underwriting revenue as well as increased engagement and stewardship opportunities due to the improved quality of their donor and client information. The stations also report that they now have a full 360-degree view of all the ways that any given contact is interacting with their station, giving them the ability to more responsive to their donors, which encourages higher levels of engagement and support.