Monday, December 03, 2007

One Fundraiser, Hold the Fundraising

So while I run a college radio station, it's still a radio station. One aspect of that is, naturally, the budget. Money goes out, so I need to find ways to bring money in.

Recently I learned that your prototypical on-air fundraiser is actually an extremely inefficient way to raise money from your supporters. It's because you have a very low number of actual donors compared to the number of people you're begging money from (your entire listening audience).

So I would think that it stands to reason that ideas that follow the reverse would be more effective. In other words, instead of one method that hits all your potential supporters in the most in-your-face method'd have multiple methods targeting supporters with specific methods that are as unnoticeable as possible.

Keeping with that train of thought, what concepts could you do to essentially get money from supporters without them even realizing it? Short of actual theft, that is. Two ideas come to mind:
  1. Impulse Buy The equivalent of the candy and tabloids in the checkout aisle. It's right there, it's easy to do, you're ready to pay anyways...might as well do it. The catch here is that you really need an instant gratification to "justify" the "purchase" to the donor. Here's an idea: Convince your local supermarket to add an option to the debit card screen...donate X dollars to your station, get Y percent off your groceries that day. Supermarket also gets underwriting in barter; treats the whole thing like a challenge grant. Another idea: convince your local gas station to have a "public radio pump", where gas costs an extra dime or quarter a gallon. Don't tell the donors this, but say 80% of that extra dime/quarter goes to you, the rest goes to the gas station
    (as an incentive). Admittedly, even higher gas prices might not go over so well right now...but you get the idea.
  2. Wait...I Donated to My Station? Takes the impulse buy concept to the next level - make it so people donate without even realizing it. First step is to find a means by which people pay for something every month without really thinking about it. Utilities immediately comes to mind...heat, electricity, cable, internet, cellphone, car payment, insurance, etc...but anything where people just pay it without thinking about would work. If you can convince the vendor to add a simple a checkbox on their paper which a person can choose to add X dollars to their monthly bill to support their local public radio station. That way they keep donating every month and they don't even really know it.
Think my ideas are full of it? I guess we'll see over the next several months if my ideas actually work, eh? Or feel free to post a comment today. If I can bloviate here right now, why can't you? :-)

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