Truth in Fundraising – Your Listeners Are Asking for It By the Strategy Team at i58:10 Media
L-R David Harms. Randy Zachary & Scott Michaels
At the beginning of 2018 the Edelman Group released their annual global study that looks at the public’s trust in institutions. It’s a fascinating read. The summary is simple: We’re in trouble. Public trust across all institutions is at an all-time low.
Referenced in the executive summary of this report are a few key quotes that will (and should) shape your upcoming fall fundraiser:
“We find the world in a new phase in the loss of trust: the unwillingness to believe information, even from those closest to us.”
“People have retreated into self-curated information bubbles, where they read only that with which they agree, as if selecting their playlist for music. Fully half of respondents indicate that they consume mainstream media less than once a week.”
“The credibility of ‘a person like yourself’ declined substantially, and peers are no longer the most-believed source of information.”
This lack of trust means donors are increasingly wary of institutions. They are asking questions like, “How do they handle the money?” and “Are they really doing what they say they are doing?” In Christian circles like ours, they might ask the question this way: “Is that true or are they speaking ‘evangelastically’?”
This lack of trust is significant and it will affect your station fundraiser…if you let it. Don’t let it. In a recent research study conducted in May 2018 by i58:10 Media, 77% of Christian radio donors strongly agreed with the statement “This radio station is a station I can trust.” You’re doing well, but you must diligently guard the trust they place in you and your station.
The influence of a society that is increasingly distrustful of institutions will seep into your listener base (and donor base). You must not let their trust in you erode, because in order for them to support you, or keep supporting you, they must trust you.
Here are a few recommendations on how to retain, even increase, the trust of your listeners:
- Be incredibly honest and transparent. You don’t need to get in the weeds of how your station works – as John Frost says “People don’t care how you make the sausage” – but do be forthright and don’t stretch any truth.
- When you can, back up statements with verifiable proof. Invite them to check out your 990 for instance. Most won’t, but even the fact that you offer to do so shows transparency.
- Don’t be afraid to take a stand for what you believe in. And if your GM or owner is articulate in communicating your “stake in the ground” ideals, all the better. When a person in authority makes a public statement the listener now has someone to hold accountable.
There are other factors and trends that will impact your fall fundraisers, just call us and we’ll be happy to pick up the conversation. We have language recommendations and other support that can make your fall fundraiser all the more effective.
i58:10 Media is a fundraising and creative agency based in Wilsonville, Oregon. Our mission is to inspire and activate generosity for a broken world. Connect with us: www.i5810media.com or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org