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Bill Scott

The 4 Don’ts For Your Next Fundraiser




Fundraising season is coming quickly.  Most of you would agree it actually never ends, at least it shouldn’t.  I am referring to your next on-air fundraiser.

I am sure the list of don’ts are much longer than just four things but it’s a great start and will make a difference in your fundraising endeavors.


1.      Don’t Forget To Train Your Volunteers:  This is a huge one for any station.  More than likely you have anywhere from 6 to 15 phone operators taking pledges at your fundraiser.  Many stations also have a rollover line to a call center as well.  If you don’t have your volunteers trained, there is a very good chance your station is losing money.  Make sure there is protocol that all volunteers follow when taking a pledge and how they handle the caller.  Keep in mind that the volunteer will represent your station to that listener calling in to make a gift.  It’s so important that your volunteer asks for an electronic gift when someone is calling in.  I would suggest at the end of the call saying something like, “What card would you like to place your gift on?”  You will be surprised at how that will increase your electronic giving and how most donors won’t mind placing their pledge on a card.  If the listener asks, “can I write you a check?”  the response would be, “Of course you can, whatever you feel comfortable with today.”  Whatever you do for your next fundraiser, make sure your volunteers are trained.


2.     Don’t Forget To Keep It simple:  Everything about your fundraiser needs to be kept simple.  You want your website to be set up so a donor can make a pledge from the front page.  The fewer clicks the better.  Making the pledge on the phone needs to be simple for the donor and as short as possible.  Your on-air pitch needs to be simple as well.  What are the levels of giving, why are they giving and how do they give.  People are listening for short periods of time and at best radio is background noise most of the time.  We compete with a lot even once the donors are in their cars.  Be clear as to what you want, what you are asking them do to and how they need to do it.  You have less than 10 seconds to hook your listener so they’ll listen to your pitch.


3.     Don’t Forget Your On-Air Role:  In advance make sure everyone that is going on air knows their role.  When you are about to go to a break, set up what each announcers role is.  Perhaps you have two hosts and someone reporting from phone central.  Make sure everyone knows who is bringing it out of the song, who is setting up the story and who is making the pitch.  Everyone of course gives the phone number. 


4.     Don’t Forget To Give The Phone Number and Website:  You laugh but if you wait until your fundraiser you will start getting calls saying, “Please give the number more.”  Each person in the break, each transition, you need to give the phone number and website.  You cannot give the number to much.  Work the phone number in four or five times per break.  Do not make your listeners wait to give.  Repeat after me…GIVE THE PHONE NUMBER.  I would find some place in the studio to write GIVE THE PHONE NUMBER so everyone sees it.  This reminder will make your station more money.


Bill Scott works for ShareMedia Services and can be contacted at


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