Many local, regional and global ministries have discovered the power of radio to generate successful acquisition campaigns. For faith-based ministries, Christian formatted radio—either teaching/talk or contemporary Christian music (CCM)—has an audience that often responds favorably to ministry appeals. As a bonus, the average lifetime value of a donor secured through radio is traditionally larger and longer than those new donors acquired through direct mail, phone appeals, events, web banners or print marketing.
Depending on the station, your ministry can run either a short radiothon appeal, airing many announcements over a day or two, or a spot-based campaign over 3 or 4 weeks. Radiothon type campaigns require a heavy commitment from the station and a talented “host” from your ministry who can passionately and professionally share stories about the impact and outcomes of your ministry. Spot-based campaigns rely on the power of a large number of announcements aired over a few weeks, carefully telling your story and bringing to life the impact your ministry is making.
An anticipated financial goal for your radio campaign should be between 1.25X and 1.5X the cost of the radio campaign. This will result in your ministry covering the cost of the campaign, acquiring a significant number of new donors and an initial positive cash flow from the campaign. Before beginning any radio campaign make sure you’ve carefully planned out the following:
- your process for providing daily updates to the radio station on the campaign’s progress
- how and when you will follow up with the new donors you acquire
While ministries have successfully secured funding for projects that cost hundreds, or even a thousand dollars per item, the campaigns that tend to repeatedly generate the highest level of success are ones making a one-time ask of $40 or less. Once the dollar amount exceeds a certain level, the listener will want, or need, to discuss the gift with their spouse before committing. This time delay can result in a missed/lost gift.
Consider using a dollar ask that the typical listener can easily make on the spot, and then provide the opportunity for them to give 2, 3 or 4 times that amount—either by phone, or from a linked banner on the station’s web site.
Crafting a co-branded landing donation page, with your logo and the station’s logo, will make the station work harder for a successful campaign. This should be a partnership between your ministry and the radio station. Plan a campaign that is a win-win for both you and the station.
Many Christian stations (especially music stations) are non-commercially licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—that means they are a 501(c)3 ministry, too.
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