CCM Coaching Tip #27: Pledge Drive Woes, And How To Cure Them
October 14, 2016
by Tommy Kramer, KramerMedia.net
So far this year, Fall Pledge Drives at many listener-supported CCM stations are getting off to very sluggish starts.
There are a lot of supposed reasons we can cite: The political climate, the Economy, people just got their kids back in school, Christmas shopping has already started, etc. Some or all of those may be valid, but instead of wringing our hands and running around in a circle, let's ask some questions of ourselves first:
Is our fundraising when we're NOT in a Sharathon as good as it can be? Most leading stations in this format start Day One of a pledge drive with a good portion of the goal already in hand.
Have we done a really good job of compiling listener audio to help sway people to support us financially? Hint: EVERY SINGLE CALL you get should be taped, in case it turns out to be something you can file away and use later. And every station event should find you with some sort of recording device, getting audio of comments people make about the station and the event itself.
Are we using the right approach on the air? Just because we're deserving doesn't mean that people are going to decide to support us for a year instead of buying the new iPhone.
Have you pulled out all the stops, emotionally? It's ACTING, to a degree. A halfhearted effort, or sounding too maudlin - or at the other end of the spectrum, like there's some sort of fraternity party going on, with corny "drops" and bells ringing and people screaming like it's Mardi Gras - probably won't give you the "reach out and touch" sincerity and CLARITY you want. If you don't reach people emotionally, they won't give.
Did you really prepare? I recommend going into every pledge drive with a legal pad full of "thought starters", things that are relevant and top-of-mind that I can use to bridge the space between us and the listener.
Did you start slowly and relaxed, then ramp it up as the pledge drive went on? DON'T. Come shot out of the cannon from the first break. COMPEL people to give, rather than just try to "convince" them.
Hope this helps. This is an amazing format with the capability to reach people in startling ways. But you have to work at it. It's not just going to fall into your lap because you mean well.