Every Christian radio station is unique, with its own special challenges and local market conditions. But no matter where you are and no matter what you are facing, some principles are transcendent. In fact, I’ve found there are three things that never fail in any market, no matter how big or small the station.
1. Good Radio Improves Fundraising Results
Yes, what comes out of the speakers matters. I tip my hat to my friends Chuck Finney and John Frost, both outstanding programming consultants who consistently advocate for the listener in making stations sound great.
Never forget on-air fundraising events (Sharathons, pledge drives) come at the expense of listenership. They harvesting from our forest of trees. We must carefully avoid clear-cutting the forest.
Fundraisers that are long on asking and gimmicks (faith promise pledges…I’m looking right at you) actually hurt results and long term growth. Just getting the phone to ring for a few days at any cost will cost you. For this reason, I advocate for major gifts and having a well-rounded advancement plan in place.
The work you don’t do year round outside of your on-air fundraisers will make all the difference. Work toward smaller sharathon goals by growing major gifts and monthly giving. And save your own air for transforming listeners into donors.
As radio continues to evolve, the content will always matter. Your station has to offer me more than the same music I can get on Spotify or Apple Music. Your product has to be great. And the expectation of stations being multi-media and multi-platform continues to increase.
I’m sitting in a radio station writing this. The room I am in is currently being converted to a video studio with funds Advocace has helped this station raise. That fact says all I need to say.
2. Growing Income Involves Deepening Relationships
It is really simple. To raise more money, you need to accomplish two things:
· Add new donors
· Get current donors to give more money.
Deepening relationships unlocks the ability to add new donors and raise larger gifts.
You grow donors from your base of listeners by helping them burn with white hot passion for your station as a cause. As long as you serve as a programming service and not something they can believe in, your listeners will not feel an obligation to join you as donors.
Help them see you as more. Connect with them by expressing what they value most. Stir their passion by giving them a place to believe and belong. This does not mean getting involved in every good thing in your community. Filter what you support through what listeners really care about most—faith and family.
3. Engaging God’s People to Support His Work as Ministry
You cannot view your work with donors as “a necessary evil” so you can get back to your “day job” of programming and running a radio station. Donors are people too. Just as God uses you on the air to impact the people who listen, he can use you off the air to impact the people who give.
God uses donor’s as a conduit to provide for you. It’s a trust relationship between you and Him. He entrusts you with their care. That’s why ministering to them is called stewardship. A steward holds something of value for someone else. God is trusting you with His people, calling you to steward your relationship with them and allow Him to work through their giving.
Sometimes God can’t reach people any other way than through their gifts to support His work. A rich man can enter heaven. But quite often only when God works in his heart to wrestle him away from depending too much on his wealth. Giving changes hearts. You are part of the process God uses to do that, so engaging God’s people to support His work is always ministry.
For more on how your radio station can grow and thrive in spite of flat sharathons, rising expenses and a need to invest in the future, give me a call at (803) 708-3659. Or go online to request a free consultation.