When it comes to donor acquisition for gospel-centered rescue missions, your local Christian radio station can be one of your best solutions. For example, one Midwest rescue mission we work with recently ran a $10,000 campaign on their local Christian radio station and acquired over 500 new donors while generating $81,000 in donations.
How to Buy Christian Formatted Radio
Get to know the staff at your local Radio stations through in-person meetings, phone and email connections. For the most part that would include the General/Station Manager, Operations Director, Program Director and Promotions/Community Director.
In most cases your ministry will receive a far higher level of response from endorsed campaigns on commercial and non-commercially licensed Christian-formatted radio stations than from any other radio format. However, in every case you need to have a champion at the station who will ensure your campaign is a major thrust of the station, and not just another paid schedule.
Carefully craft a number of story-based announcements that will draw the listener into both the need and successes of the mission without using manipulative tactics. Focus on your vision, the need and the exciting life-changing outcomes.
Look to generate 2X the cost of the radio campaign, while also acquiring a batch of new donor contacts. Consider offering a split with the station on any gifts over the goal of 2X the cost of the schedule. (This keeps them incentivized to keep pushing for donations even after reaching the goal). It is imperative that the donation is made, recorded and credited by your ministry’s own call center or online service. Rescue missions report a much longer average lifetime value on donors acquired from Christian radio than from other mediums.
Allow for Phone and Web Donations
For best results make sure the station’s listeners can donate to your rescue mission using either a phone number or a link on the station’s main web site. You’ll need to provide the station with a linked web banner, and also ask if they’ll post a linked video produced for your mission, or at least a generic one on homelessness.
And make sure you provide pre-scripted posts for the multimedia opportunities the station has available: email blasts, Facebook posts, Tweets, Pins, etc.
Tie in to Station Promotions & Fundraisers
In some cases general market radio stations are looking for a charitable connection they can tie into with their major promotions. Non-commercially licensed Christian stations may also want to partner with a local charity as a part of the spring and/or fall fundraiser. These are wonderful opportunities for you to gain exposure and funding.
And Don’t Forget the PSAs
Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are non-commercial announcements containing information that primarily benefits the audience, rather than the organization. Competition for this limited air time can be fierce. Most stations receive far more requests than can possibly fulfill each week. Get to know the appointed public service director at each commercial station and determine how they prefer to receive PSA requests.
The technical side of PSAs: PSAs must have a public service message, not just promote your ministry’s image. Longer term, urgent issues tend to get preference and also generate much better listener response. Scripted radio PSAs should be typed in all capitals. Be sure the script is easy to read and understandable.
They must be professional in appearance and style. Providing scripts in :30, :20 and :10 lengths will be greatly appreciated by the station (as a general rule of thumb, a relaxed pace for a :30 announcement is approximately 75 words in length).
Partner for Success
I’ve noticed that successful radio campaigns always have one key element – partnership. This partnership happens when your rescue mission and the Christian station work together to craft and execute a God-honoring effort. This effort should invite the listeners to play a crucial role in providing help and healing for the homeless men, women and children in their community.