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Bill Scott
iBelieve Magazine

The 7 Doníts For Your Fundraiser



As you know fundraising is always changing.  Take it from a guy who is out the majority of the year raising funds for radio stations through ShareMedia.  As often as I am out, I constantly learn new things, sometimes on a weekly basis.  When you have boots on the ground at a different station each week you learn the latest in programming, leadership, promotions and of course fundraising.  After 600 fundraisers I am still learning.  I believe that is the advantage to having someone like ShareMedia helping out along with the Bill Scott Group at your station.  Ok, on to my list.


1.)  Never Turn Off Your Transmitter:  Donít laugh.  I have been to at least two different stations that used to try and teach their listeners a lesson.  I remember the announcement from the GM one day, ďThe last 20 minutes was brought to you by those listeners who care and give to this station.  The next 20 minutes is brought to you by those who donít careĒ and off went the transmitter.   This is for real.  Ok, be honest we have all thought about it right?  When you only have on average of about 3% of your listeners giving, it can be very frustrating.  Control yourself and keep the transmitter on the air.  At the end of the day, you lose if you try to punish your listeners.  For most of us that goes without saying.


2.)  Donít Lose Your Integrity:  I have actually seen this happen.  Some stations use pre-pledge money for their challenge fund.  Listeners have agreed to allow their money to be used.  At this point you cannot call it a matching fund.  The money is already in.  A matching gift has to be money at risk, youíll lose the money if not raised.  However, you can have a challenge fund and even do a dollar for dollar challenge.  You can say we have a group of people who have given and want to see if you can match this $3,000 in the next 30 minutes.  You cannot say the money wonít be added in if you donít hit the goal.  By all means, do not say we have someone here in the studio with a $3,000 check and he wants you to meet or beat it.  I have seen that done and there is no one in the studio, they are using challenge funds, the story is made up.  At times folks slide into that with all the excitement during a fundraiser but at the end of the day we all have to be very careful not to get caught up in the moment.  I think this goes without saying but never make up a match.  I had a station manager ask me to do a $10,000 match once, when I pressed him as to who gave the money, he said no one.  He wanted me to do a fake match.  Needless to say my answer was no.


3.)  Thou Shalt Not Beg:  You have to admit by day 3 or 14 you are ready to beg.  For the love of God and all that is righteous in the world today, PLEASE GIVE NOW!  Iíve often thought about saying, ďFor every song that goes by and no one calls, a puppy dies.Ē  You can laugh all you want but you know that youíve had that thought too.  Keep it positive all the time.  Remember, during the slow times you are planting seeds.  People are listening and theyíll give later in the day.  My good buddy Frankie from WPER shot me a text after I finished a huge morning drive at a station, ďBill, God created mid-days to keep us humble.Ē  I laughed pretty hard as I was going for three calls during that mid-day hour.  Always keep the sound of your fundraiser positive and not desperate.  Your listeners want to be a part of a winning team.


4.)  Do Not Top Each Other:  This is something we push like crazy at ShareMedia.  Itís so easy for hosts to top each other with stories.  Its something that isnít done on purpose, itís done out of excitement.  You have a host talk about a very moving story and than another host shares another story they found moving and at times yet another host throws in a story.  You have now destroyed the whole break.  Each time you introduce a new story you erase the last story.


5.)  Donít Hype 24/7:  No doubt fundraising is about the energy, deadlines and goals.  The vast majority of the time having great energy is needed.  There are times when you can actually step down and minister, go deep and really connect with the listener at a different level.  You can have goals and deadlines but it has a ministry feel to it instead of just hype.  Example, go after 15 friends who will join our Life Changer Team with a $100 a month gift in an hour.  Just read story after story after story about lives that have been changed through your station.  Read scriptures that talk about reaching out to the hurting.  This could be a great hour of ministry and fundraising.  


6.  Donít Forget To Communicate The Goal:  Before, during and after, make sure the listeners knows the goal and from time to time give them updates.  I donít focus on the $500,000 goal and countdown from  day one hour one.  Iíll give updates throughout the day but each quarter hour I have small goals that can be achieved. 


7.)  Donít Forget To Say Thank You:  I cannot tell you how often it is that a station walks away from a great fundraiser and never says thank you.  Within seconds of finishing your fundraiser, promoís should be airing with a thank you message from different staff members.  Your jox need to be saying thank you in every break for days to come.  This needs to be done even if you donít hit 100% of your goal.  People want to know you are grateful for their involvement and that their gift is going to make a difference.  I would suggest, ďThank you so much for helping this radio station hit the goal.  Your gift will change a life, or your gift will help us next week with the Casting Crowns concert or getting backpacks to kids for school this fall.Ē  I cannot tell you how important this is.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you.


As I sit here in Starbucks writing this, many more doníts come to mind but this is a great start.  Have a great fundraiser this fall.  If you need help feel free to reach out.  For more great articles and resources check out

Bill is a Sharathon host with Share Media and also with iBelieve Media producing a new digital magazine for Christian radio called iBelieve Magazine. Contact Bill at


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