Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fundraising Bad Libs

My company provides stations with on-air pledge drive scripts. Some of those scripts have blank spaces for local information. The Morning Edition host at a client station recently commented that the scripts looked like a Mad Lib. I just couldn't leave that idea alone. Here are two Fundraising Bad Libs for your enjoyment. Feel free to make up and post your own.

Fundraising Bad Lib #1

Just 10 more ____________ (plural noun) and we will meet our goal for this hour. Meeting that goal earns us a very special ____________ (noun) from a ___________ (adjective) ____________ (station call letters) listener. Just pick-up the ___________ (noun) and talk with one of our _____________(adjective) volunteers. We need to get them busy or they will _________ (verb) all of the ____________ (a type of food). It’s so _____________ (adjective) to do. And remember every ______________ (a word that begins with “D”) makes a difference.

Fundraising Bad Lib #2

Everyone who gives _______________ (plural noun) now is automatically ____________ (verb, past tense) into a drawing for a _________ (adjective) ________________ (noun). This is your chance to _____________ (verb) the programs you _________ (verb) on this station. You don’t have to ____________ (verb) to enter, but we hope you will anyway. Remember, your gift to ___________ (call letters) helps _______________ (verb) for the _____________ (articles of clothing) of people such as _______________ (public radio host) ______________ (public radio host), and _________________ (person playing Fundraising Bad-Libs).

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Fundraising 911

June marks the end of the fiscal year at many university licensee stations. It seems that there are more stations running "make-up" pledge drives this month than in past years. I have no way to verify the numbers, but I'm hearing a lot of "we're normally not here at this time of year asking for money but..." as I travel and listen on the web.

It makes me wonder whether public radio is getting worse at fundraising, if budget demands are outpacing fundraising capacity, or both.

It also makes me wonder what listeners think when they hear these messages. Do they perceive it as transparency or bad fiscal management?

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Fundraising Catalyst or Competition?

There was a time when soliciting donations from listeners was strictly the domain of local stations. That's changing fast.

Recently, the radio program Open Source turned to listeners for helping covering the loss of a subsidy. PRI (Public Radio International) takes contributions from individuals on its website while also encouraging listeners to give to their local stations. Independent producers and program producers also take listener contributions. The Kitchen Sisters and The Splendid Table are just two examples. And, of course, stations will compete with one another for listeners' ears and dollars through streaming and podcasts.

We can hope that the independent solicitations of producers and distributors will grow the overall giving pie rather than simple shifting donor money around. The industry doesn't measure overall giving to all public radio entities.

We do know that having two or more stations in a single market generates more overall giving to public radio than having just one station in the market. That's a good sign for the future but past performance might not be an indicator of future behavior. It's something to be mindful of.

In the meantime, it would be helpful to figure out how to create economies of scale for all of this fundraising. A lot of effort is replicated. Those dollars would be better spent on programming.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Wrinkle Free PTV

One of my local public television stations was peddling anti-wrinkle cream as a pledge premium last night.

And all along I thought the plan was to attract a younger audience, not make the current audience look more attractive.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

1-Day Fund Drives

A few weeks ago, I posted that we'd put some resources on-line for stations thinking about trying a 1-Day fundraising drive. The 1-Day Drive was pioneered by Carol Young at WSKG in Binghamton, NY. It was replicated in places such as Scranton, Erie, and Homer, Alaska.

A free 1-Day Drive resource kit is now available at It's free. No registration is required. Parts of the kit, including sample audio promos, are on-line. Be sure to download the PDF as it includes sample direct mail, promos, scripts, and pledge break planning materials.

Sonja Lee, former Program Director at KBBI in Homer, Alaska helped produce several successful 1-Day drives and helped put this kit together. She is available to help stations who want to reduce their drives to just one day of traditional on-air fundraising. We think this will work best for stations with goals of up to $100,000 per drive.

Many thanks to Carol Young at WSKG and Jonathan Coke at KBBI for providing materials and advice on creating the 1-Day Drive kit.

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