There Are Givers And There Are Takers
April 5, 2013
By John Frost
Goodratings Strategic Service
I've come to the conclusion that there is a simple, yet profound distinction between highly successful Christian radio stations and those that aren't. That distinction isn't just about signal strength, the pay scale of the employees, the music rotations, or the promotional budget.
I've discovered that some stations are "givers", and some are "takers".
I've heard some fundraisers recently that accentuate this so much that they are difficult to listen to. Ratings indicate that as much as half of the listeners go away during fundraising efforts, and fewer listen the longer it is on. My guess is more listeners would stay if those events focused more on "giving" than "taking". I've heard about fiscal years, budgets, percentages of revenues, amount to the goal, or the hours left in the fundraiser. In other words, they are "takers", wanting something from their listeners. "Hello. Nice to meet you. Give me money." This kind of fundraising is just a small example of how stations "take".
I shared with a station manager recently that the only time I heard his voice on the radio was when he was asking for money. What kind of meaningful relationship can you have with someone when you are always "taking"? People only hear you when they are interested in what you have to say, and they are not likely to feel that way if you only pursue them to get something from them. It is ironic that a Christian radio station could be perceived as having an ego.
Then there are stations that are "givers". I know of one station that has a strategic initiative to connect local charities with those that want to help. Another "gives" the opportunity on line for listeners to pray for other listeners who receive an e-mail when it happens. Another "gives" in connecting listeners with strangers for a meal at the drive through window. Ultimately your station's fundraisers are about GIVING people the opportunity to participate in the work that God is doing through your station. We all desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
John Maxwell shares:
Your ego has become a wall between yourself and me. You're not really concerned about me, are you? You're mostly concerned about whether or not this speech is really working ... about whether or not you're doing a good job. You're really afraid that I will not applaud, aren't you? You're afraid that I won't laugh at your jokes or cry over your emotional anecdotes. You are so caught up in the issue of how I am going to receive your speech, you haven't thought much about me at all. I might have loved you, but you are so caught up in self-love that mine is really unnecessary.
If I don't give you my attention it's because I feel so unnecessary here. When I see you at the microphone, I see Narcissus at his mirror ... Is your tie straight? Is your hair straight? Is your deportment impeccable? Is your phraseology perfect? You seem in control of everything but your audience. You see everything so well [except] us. This blindness to us, I'm afraid, has made us deaf to you.
We must go now. Sorry. Call us sometime later. We'll come back to you ... when you're real enough to see us ... after your dreams have been shattered ... after your heart has been broken ... after your arrogance has reckoned with despair. Then there will be room for all of us in your world. Then you won't care if we applaud your brilliance. You'll be one of us. Then you will tear down the ego wall and use those very stones to build a bridge of warm relationship. We'll meet you on that bridge. We'll hear you then. All speakers are joyously understood when they reach with understanding.
Think of your favorite teacher. Most likely she was a giver. Think of your favorite neighbor growing up. Or your favorite relative. They were likely people who encouraged you and gave you energy. "Takers" sap you of energy.
John Maxwell adds, "The human spirit senses and feeds on a giving spirit....Think about what Jesus taught—half the time people didn't know what he was talking about, but they listened attentively. Jesus was giving---feeding them. Not taking. It is at a spirit (heart) level---he wasn't just giving information."
It's ok to say "no" to panhandling, and "yes" to giving.