The Importance Of Integrated Fundraising
On-air fund drives succeed because a single appeal to contribute reaches thousands of listeners. For a station with an Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience of 5,000, opening the mic and asking for money is a lot like mailing 5,000 fundraising letters to potential givers. When the AQH goes down, each appeal reaches fewer people. It's like sending fewer letters.
That's not a problem in some cases. A lot of on-air fundraising is highly inefficient. A station can raise more money by getting better at turning the remaining listening into giving.
At some stations, the audience losses are steep enough (especially among Core listeners) or the on-air fundraising is efficient enough already that they will not meet their on-air goals without adding hours or days to the fund drive.
This is where integrated fundraising comes in. Direct mail and email are underutilized at many stations. They remain cost-effective ways to reach current and potential contributors. They are a good way to make up for fewer "on-air appeals heard" due to lower listening levels.
As many stations approach their Spring fund drives, they would do well to look at their audience trends and their off-air fundraising performance. The answer to meeting the Spring on-air fundraising goal might not be opening up the microphone more often but rather shifting some of that goal to off-air activities.