The Christian Radio Homepage

column archive








Kim Snyder
Kim Snyder Media

Writing Highly Effective Fundraising Copy, pt. 2





In part one I unwrapped some ideas on setting the stage to tell your stations story.  But when it comes to delivering that message, the approach is everything.


Embrace Your Listeners Opinion of You

As soon as the pledge drive dates are announced the first step for many of us production-types is to jump to a list of pieces we know we'll need: imaging liners, liner copy, listener stories, etc.  But it's not the written elements that will help you meet your goal; it is tapping into the listeners motivation to give.


And to do that we need to understand who they are and what they really think of us.


Do you have a bio for your target listener?  Have you given her a name, an age, a family, a job, a church?  Where does she spend her free time?  What TV shows does she watch?  The more specific you can be about your target listener the more effective your copy will be.  And the result is a listener driving down the road thinking, "I swear they're talking just to me" because you are.


Now that you know more about your listener, what does she think about you?


Make a list of the most often used words or phrases that your listeners use when talking about you.  They are the buzzwords chosen for you.  (Wasn't it nice for them to do that for you?)  If these words are not the keywords you're pushing in your station copywriting, they should be. 


When you use the buzzwords your audience already embraces you are saying, "We agree that we're your families favorite station",  and can then move straight to "Now wouldn't you agree you want to support that?"


Make It Real and Approachable for Anyone

At it's beginning, reality TV's appeal was….reality.  People long to connect to something real.  And when they hear honest, transparent copy they are drawn to respond.  You couldn't keep 'em away with a ten foot pole spanning two skyscraper roofs with the added windstorm of a helicopter camera crew if you tried.


Speaking to your target listener instead of the masses is a great way to break away from anything that approaches a sales pitch.  Favoring phrases like "…That's the difference knowing God can make.   And that's why we're here…" over "Christian radio; Inspiring you to believe 24 hours a day…" opens up your message to people at any point in their walk with God. (see how I used that Christianese just for you?)


Another way to avoid begging or selling in donation copy is to paint still life pictures with your words. 


Set a scene.   (kitchen dishes clattering, kids in the background)

Address a problem in a way that includes honest, believable emotion.  (…mom sharing to a friend…"don't get me wrong, I love being with them but sometimes…it's just…lonely.")

Explain your solution.  (anncr: …"That's why we're here.  To remind you of just how much you're loved"… about never being alone….)

Ask for an investment in the value you bring.  (…and your monthly support helps us pass it along….call letters/phone number/tag)



Harness the Power of Listener Calls

Having a title for your campaign, a concise list of buzzwords and  concrete idea of the story you want people to literally buy into enables you to writing around listener calls much more easily.


In addition to the traditional listener call tags, write up some lead in's and out's that match the buzzwords you know people will use.  When listeners use them, have their calls catalogued in folders for quick and simple production.


For instance, if one of the things people tend to say is "you encourage me", consider something like this:


        In:    Why are we here?   To make your day a little bit better.  (to remind you of Gods love, etc.)


        (listener story of encouragement from station)


        Out:  Have we encouraged you?  Call 800-555-GIVE to share your story and keep the encouragement coming.  WBBB - Together we can make a difference.


Presetting these 'mini-themes' will not only make your message more effective.  It will also make writing simpler and production more streamlined.  And who couldn't use that during a pledge drive.


Next time we'll take a peak at a few ways to button up your pledge writing campaigns for maximum impact.


Kim Snyder has written. produced and voiced extensive pledge drive copy for the K-LOVE and Air1 Radio Networks, and donation appeals for Samaritan Purse, World Vision and many other donation based ministries.  Formally heard on the Air1 and KLOVE Radio Network's at EMF Broadcasting, she has written, produced and voiced thousands of pieces for nearly 500 stations and major network clients.  Her voice talent credits include Sprint, Hallmark, the NFL, Christian Dior and Disney.  Kim Snyder Media, provides imaging, tracking, voiceovers and production services for radio and multimedia.