CPR Promotional Check-Up - May 21, 2014
May 21, 2014
More Ways To Beg For Donations
If 2% of your listeners will try to call in and win $1000, then how many of your listeners will pull out their checkbooks and write a check to some vague, Black Hole Charity, just because we ran a PSA asking them to? We're in Show Business for God's sake. Charitable efforts at some stations turn out to be the biggest things they've ever done. Witness any of the stations that did stuff with Katrina beyond running PSA's for the Red Cross. Eddie Haskell (might not be his real name) formerly of Cumulus in Albuquerque can point to KRST's caravan of water to New Orleans as one of the seminal events in that stations' history.
First, I'm not bagging on Radiothons. But if you truly believe that all wisdom comes from Bill Murray movies, I'll bastardize the Neil Diamond line from "What About Bob?": in life there are people who LIKE Radiothons, and there are people who don't like Radiothons.
The lovely and talented Matt Tell at Clear Channel in Minneapolis (who has been whipping ass™ there for over a decade) once asked if I had a list of ways to fundraise other than Radiothons. Nope. So I got me a sixer of Coors, turned on the Twins, and tried to recall every charity drive we've done. This just scratches the surface. But it shows that we can do more then a Radiothon. In no particular order other then what popped into my head first...
Bag/Disease I was at Cub Foods in Forest Lake on a Saturday and the girls from the highschool swim team...pause for several of you to lock in that mental image...got it?...were bagging groceries to raise funds for their team. 16 lanes of non-stop bagging. Probably $2 or $3 in tips every five minutes per lane; do the math. Over the course of the afternoon, they made some money.
Filmfest The COOLEST thing I've ever seen done at a Cineplex was when a new megaplex, the Auwatukee 24 opened up in Phoenix. This was the Starwars of movie theaters. They opened with a Kurt Russell film fest. A Kurt flick on every screen. He flew in. They donated every penny from every ticket to his and Goldie Hawn's medical missions on the reservations in Arizona. What if you had the audience pick the ten films they would most love to see on a big screen and have people vote on line. Get the reels and for a weekend do a Listeners Choice Film Fest with a cooperative theater? People love movies. This is Entertainment Based. It would be huge. Also done as The Canned Film Festival at WDVD in Detroit.
Dress Down I saw B-95 in Fresno raise about $50,000 in one day from offices and workplaces where the bosses let their employees dress casual...for a $10 donation to a foodshelf. The drop from "Office Space" about "and don't forget, Friday is Hawaiian Shirt Day!" is a given.
A Fast Drive That Probably Seems Really Slow The midday woman at one of the stations lives on a bed, in a mall, without eating, every Christmas. Raises bucko bucks.
Roof/Crane/Billboard Sit As witnessed by Chet Buchanan's 700,000 toys this past Christmas, anytime you stick a DJ on a roof or anyplace above eye-level, it's huge. One of the morning guys in Charlotte used to sit on the roof of the radio station for two weeks every December. Raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. WIOG regularly has Demas sit on the roof of a McDonalds for a week. KSFM in Sacramento once hung Mark S. Allen in a sharks cage from a crane for two weeks. Orlando at Wild in Tampa lived on a billboard for several days. These things WORK.
Pennies From Heaven In 1995 I saw this story in the paper about how the students at an elementary school in Chicago raised $40,000 in pennies to fix the roof of the gym. Since then we've done this promotion at numerous stations. Offer a concert or dance to the school that donates the most pennies.
Worlds Largest Garage Sale The Cancer Society in the Twin Cities used to do this. They would spend months collecting items and donations and over a long weekend, would spread these out on the floor of a warehouse, open the doors and mayhem would ensue. People would line up overnight just to get first crack at the stuff.
World's Largest Office Party Used to be a Hyatt thing. Some of the stations have stepped in and filled the void. Basically it's a big, swanky holiday party for all of the workplaces whose bosses were too cheap to throw a staff get-together. Celebrity bartenders, dancing, food. Really a nice, classy event.
A Promotion With Balls This is an old Country thing. After the holidays the station would go to Target and get a couple of boxes of Christmas ornaments. Then, throughout the year, whenever an artist strolled through, he/she/it would take ten minutes and sign all the ornaments. Until they were covered with autographs and then these were auctioned off pre-Christmas.
The Running Of The Balls This is like the Beach House; I lobbed that at stations for four years before someone nailed it. Ask me and I'll walk you through a never-been-done bit that could raise $50,000 in an afternoon and get you on TV around the world.
Softball/Dodgeball Anytime you have a hundred or so teams of listeners playing on a Saturday afternoon, it's a homerun. $250 entry fee. Winning team gets a suite at a concert. Wild in Ft. Wayne did it with Dodgeball. Raised $17,000 in one afternoon.
Celebrity Softball Wild in Tampa had perhaps the biggest hit (sorry) when they raised $50,000 with the airstaff playing a team of celebrities that included Snoop and Eminem. Tickets were $5 and 10,000 people showed up to watch. Money was for a family that had experienced a medical emergency and had no funds and no insurance. Nothing is ever bigger then playing ball with the artists.
Dance-A-Thon Did this for AIDS at UC-Berkeley. Students got pledge forms and raised donations for every hour they danced. Went all night.
Fill The Field CBS in Denver did something post-Katrina where they lined up a mile of quarters around a track. How about covering an entire football field with dollar bills? Until every square inch is covered. The morning show lives in a tent in the middle of the field until it's done.
(Blank) Aid Station concerts have become huge NTR generators. Why can't we do something for charity?
Make It Stop Want a quick cash hit? Find the most annoying song imaginable and lock yourself in the studio and play it until you hit your goal. I think "Achy Breaky Heart" was the song they did in Wichita at Channel 96.3 to raise $10,000 in one morning. I would have said "Barbie Girl" or "I'm With The DJ" by Katalina.
Free Willy Any time you take a turkey or a dog or a bunny or a kitten and threaten to execute it unless your cash goal is reached, well, that's just ribald tomfoolery©. "Free Willy" remains the biggest food drive methodology I know of.
A Second Job 99% of our charity stuff is just getting on the air and asking for money. Scintillating. No service. No product. Just "give us the money". The morning show at KSFM in Sacramento went and all got part-time jobs for the month of December. Davey made pizzas at Mountain Mikes. Chris waited tables at the Hungry Hunter. Juan was a fragrance spritzer at Macys. They donated all their wages and tips to a food shelf. Historic. Chris was getting $200 tips.
Stamp Out (Insert Problem) For the U.S. stations, did you know that you can actually make your own postage stamps? How about printing up fifty cent stamps and sell them for whatever cause you're fighting?
Strip For (Insert Problem) This will be HUGE on Lite Rock stations. You heard it here first. My buddy Montana, a PD and mid-day personality, went and raised several thousand dollars, all for a few minutes on the mainstage at a local strip club. Yep: she went the distance. All the door and tips went to a kids charity.
She's A Brick And I'm Drowning Slowly The money to build Pioneer Square in downtown Portland was funded almost entirely from bricks that people bought and sponsored. Go to the square now and it paved in printed bricks with the names of people and businesses. The charity would have to be right, but again, for my donation, I'm actually "getting" something.
Calendars I've referenced this maybe ten times in the past year. This little town where I live? Has raised over $70,000 from calendar sales for a local girl who has cancer. These are nice, good quality things that picture various business people from the community in stages of undress. Not dirty. Tasteful. Funny. $70,000. In Scandia freaking Minnesota.
Expose Your Listeners To Art There are more then a few musicians who are also artists. John Lennon. Jerry Garcia. Ringo Starr. If you go to Flinn Bradcasting in Memphis, the lobby wall is covered in charcoal sketches from artists who have come through. Like Rob Thomas. Over the course of a year, every time a celebrity comes through, give them a sketch pad, have them draw something and sign it. Then do an expo and sell this stuff.
The Can Jam KUBE in Seattle did this. The highschool that collected the most aluminum for recycling, won a concert in their gym. All the money from the cans went to DARE.
This Space For Rent Got a pregnant DJ? Sell ad space on her belly. Did this with Sandy at 98PXY in Rochester. Huge.
Cheerleader Carwash Yes. I do thoroughly enjoy getting twenty highschool cheerleading squads in (wet) t-shirts, taking over a stadium parking lot and washing 1000 cars. But only because you can make a TON of money for charity. (Obviously, as a Mennonite I'm offended by any implications who may have). Again, you're selling a service. Not just begging for money.
Change Bandits Back when people used to listen to them, KQKQ in Omaha did some lame radiothon. But they also had interns at busy intersections with buckets, collecting spare change from motorists.
XXXHL As opposed to the XFL, 97 Rock in Buffalo did a charity hockey game between the staffs of two different Hooters last year. I'd still like to see the XXXFL and have the dancers from two strip clubs play flag football. The losing team has to donate all their tips from one night to the winning team's charity.
Giftcards From Kiss in Seattle where for Christmas 2007 they got Jackie & Bender giftcards. $30 was the cost and they had a $25 value at Applebees. Users got a $5 bounceback coupon for their next visit and the morning show got their faces on thousands of nice plastic giftcards. People LOVE giftcards.
A Haunted House Charity haunted houses in October can generate a LOT of money. But they are also a lot of work. Clear Channel in El Paso used to do their own every year. Use highschool theater departments to staff the thing.
Tree Lots Can raise a lot lot lot of money. Again, we're offering a product. Not just begging for money.
Pumpkin Sales Back when I used to host Brazilian Exchange Students (the Golden Days as I like to think of them), I once donated about 800 pumpkins to Isabel's highschool girls hockey team. They made over $12,000 in one weekend, selling them on the side of the road. Again, you're offering a product. And, again, highschool girls move product. (Word)
Power Of A Dollar Post-Katrina, one of the stations theorized that if everyone in their market would donate ONE lousy dollar, they'd make $1.2 million for relief efforts. They got close to $900,000.
Give (Insert Problem) A Hand Both KKMG in Colorado Springs and WIOG in Saginaw have done billboards made of listeners handprints. Come by, dip your hand in paint, give us $10 and you will be part of a billboard that helps support the troops or fight cancer.
Pay For Play The good kind. Newcap in Edmonton raised $72,000 in one weekend for Katrina relief by selling requests for $97. They'd play anything. You could also BLOCK an upcoming song by donating $197. So if you don't want to hear "Macarena", call NOW. Just done by Ace & TJ where they racked up $17,500 in one morning.
Or Just Do Something Stupid JV from The Doghouse in San Francisco once raised $10,000 in pledges during the morning show for some family in San Jose whose kid needed a bone marrow transplant. Solicited the pledges and late in the morning...swam to Alcatraz.
Or you can just get on the air and beg for money for 48 hours. The iPod industry will thank you.