How to Make Acquiring New Donors Feel Less Like Pulling TeethSounds very painful, doesn’t it? Yes, finding new donors, like having a tooth pulled, is a very challenging, but necessary, task to sustain and grow your radio ministry.

There have been many efforts over the years to measure how many “cume” listeners are also donors to radio ministries. In two of Advocace’s Listener-Supported Radio Development Outlook (LSRDO) research projects, we estimated that, on average, 6.5% of “cume” listeners are donors.

Want to find out the percentage of your station’s “cume” listeners who are donors? Just divide the number of active donors (one or more gifts in the last year) by your average weekly cume in the most recent rating period. Celebrate your percentage, but don’t forget to calculate what percentage of your cume audience is not giving.

So, how can you apply some Novocain to the pain of acquiring new donors? Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Set annual goals for an increase in new donors.

    Then lead your staff with a laser focus to meet that goal throughout the year.

  • Clearly articulate your vision for the ministry.

    In nearly every study Advocace conducts, donors tell us they give because they believe in the mission and vision of the ministry. The “mission” of your ministry is “what you do”. The “vision” is what outcomes you expect from the ministry.

    It is your vision and accompanying goals that often inspire listeners to give. How big is your vision? Does it inspire action? What have you already accomplished to give credibility to your vision and goals?

  • Bring your vision to life with testimonies of changed lives.

    Nothing is more powerful than a story to illustrate how God has used your station to change a listener’s life.

  • Create a challenge fund to acquire new donors.

    Many stations contact their major donors before fundraising events and ask them to contribute to a challenge fund, then encourage listeners to give to “release” challenge funds.

    Set up a special challenge fund just for new donors, using the messaging: “A friend of the ministry believes strongly in the impact of [Your Station] and wants to encourage others to join her. She will match all gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $XXXX from new donors to [Your Station].”

  • Design special incentives for new donors.

    Some stations offer to include donors in a drawing for concert tickets, breakfast in the green room with morning show hosts, etc. Design some of these giveaways for new donors only.

  • Celebrate new donors on air.

    Some stations mention the first names and cities of donors on air to thank them for giving. If your station does that, make sure you highlight all new donors. Have your call center operators ask any new donor why they decided to give, then use those comments on air. Better yet, record new donors’ reasons for giving and use those sound bites on air.

Yes, acquiring new donors can feel like pulling teeth, but by using some well-thought-out strategies and tactics, you can manage that pain—and grow your station’s revenue.

Haven’t read our latest LSRDO report—3 Coaching Tips to the Major Leagues of Major Donor Programs? Download your copy now >>