How KPCC’s Mission Statement Project Could Help On-Air Drives in a Moment of Change

Membership, pledge drive, marketing

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Every public media station is changing how they approach on-air fundraising in this moment. The drive structure, duration, and tone that worked so well a few months ago are being reassessed. What remains constant is the message of public media’s critical service, whose value is perhaps more important than ever. 

A recent project in the newsroom at KPCC in Southern California captured that value in a way that could serve other stations, particularly during this time of change for on-air drives. 

In 2019, KPCC newsroom leadership asked all reporters and producers to write mission statements for their work.

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The Paradox of Bias in Marketing and Fundraising

Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, General Management, marketing, diversity & inclusion

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Bias is a tricky thing. 

We all have it, and sometimes that’s okay and sometimes it’s not. 

For marketing and fundraising professionals, this nuanced understanding of bias is even more important because cognitive biases are so often used in marketing and fundraising efforts to nudge potential donors into giving. But without any examination of the unintended consequences of such efforts, our tactics to get more donors or more dollars can reinforce harmful stereotypes. In addition, the demographics of the United States are changing, and public media needs to represent and engage new audiences if it wants to survive. 

So let’s break down what bias is exactly, and how we can use it responsibly and ethically.

Harvard professor Mahzarin Banaji beautifully sums up her decades-long research on implicit bias as “the thumbprint of culture on the brain.” In brief, implicit bias occurs because our brains are powerful machines that process millions of data points outside of our conscious awareness and make meaning out of that data in lightning fast time. It’s how we slam the breaks when we see a red light without “thinking” about it. But it can also lead to a “gut” feeling that a person is “bad” and we don’t realize that it’s because of the media images we’ve been fed about a certain race or culture. Implicit bias has gotten re-branded as unconscious bias in popular culture (despite the inaccuracy of the name, as many of our biases are triggered subconsciously, not when we’re asleep), and has come to be short-hand for the type of bias that leads to discrimination.

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The Link Between Cause Marketing and Underwriting Client Needs

Corporate Support, marketing

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Originally published on The Center for Sales Strategy Blog on September 12, 2016

Cause Marketing is a buzzword bandied about by many in the nonprofit sector. To some, the concept is a proven method to help organizations solve business problems via an association with a worthwhile cause. To others, it is merely a tactic designed to pitch and sell sponsorships to nonprofit events and initiatives.

In order for a nonprofit development officer to engage in cause marketing successfully, they need to take some time to understand the needs of their prospect before presenting a proposal and asking for money. This understanding enables the development of a proposal customized for the prospect based on a business problem, challenge or opportunity. Simply put, one does not exist without the other: Without an understanding of needs, cause marketing cannot happen and the ask is merely just another ask.

“Seek first to understand then be understood.” Stephen Covey

Many nonprofit development officers ask before they assess needs. For example, it is all too easy to ask a financial institution to sponsor a nonprofit initiative based on belief in the nonprofit mission instead of taking the time to discover that the financial institution is launching an new credit card and needs help with applications. Imagine the power of linking this need with a nonprofit event —like a fun run or walk— that attracts thousands of credit-worthy people. This transforms the ask into win-win proposition that helps the cause and the corporate partner!

Here’s a step-by-step process that world-class nonprofit revenue developers follow to understand client needs. Feel free to take it for a test drive:

Build Rapport

  • Make a personal connection, establish some rapport.
  • Set up the conversation (clarify expectations, yours and theirs).
  • Keep your agenda brief (make reference to the valid business reason you used to set the meeting).
  • Discuss how you do business.
  • Ask some easy-to-answer, not-risky questions to continue establishing your credibility.
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Bust Your Organization's Internal Silos With an Audience-Centric Approach

PMDMC, Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, General Management, marketing, leadership

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This interactive session  was first presented by Atlantic 57 at PMDMC 2018. You can try three session exercises with your own team to explore how to put these principles into practice.

There's a division in many newsrooms today that has an impact on how well we serve our audiences. 

Most newsroom reporters and editors focus on creating content, while those in digital roles focus on distributing that content or analyzing audience analytics.

The challenge: Newsrooms are struggling to bridge the divide between old and new.

When these groups work as two teams instead of one, newsrooms struggle to bridge the divide between old ways of presenting content and the new ways in which audiences consume content. It's a gap that has a significant impact on the audience experience:

The solution: Unite your teams to serve your audiences.

Put the needs of your audiences at the center of your work. This seems like a no-brainer. And yet, many organizations are falling short of this goal. There are three key barriers that stand in the way. We'll outline what those barriers are, and how to bridge them. 

BARRIER 1: Media organizations try to be everything to everyone, everywhere.

Sound familiar? Audiences are moving across platforms at a rapid pace (think podcasting, social media, smart speakers...) Many organizations are scrambling to keep up with these platform shifts and can lose sight of the larger mission. 

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The Good Things We're Doing With Our Member Survey (And How You Can Survey Too!)

Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, General Management, marketing

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This September, Greater Public surveyed our members with the goal of determining how well we were serving them in our four main resource areas: our website, our ongoing webinar series, our professional advising team, and Benchmarks for public media. We serve fundraisers in public media - the ones who make sure public and community radio have the means to serve listeners - and we want to ensure we’re providing the best information and cutting-edge ideas so that they may succeed and, ultimately, public media succeeds. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the raw data that our survey yielded, along with our own impressions of what it means, why it’s important, and what we’re doing to make our resources better.

We all take surveys (or are asked to!) and we almost never see what companies are doing with them. We want to be transparent about the feedback we get and what we’re doing about it. We also know many of our members also conduct surveys and we want to reveal how we go about doing ours so you can see too.

As we reviewed the results, we found that few criticisms were truly surprising to us. We had a sense for where we needed to do better before the survey went out, and had begun work on several projects that our survey-takers said they needed. We also discovered some new areas for improvement. Surveys can serve many purposes: to illuminate things going wrong you didn't know about, or reinforce what you already knew about needed changes. If you decide to take on a survey, know that the feedback can provide credibility and urgency when you need to, for example, request additional resources to make something better.

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How Minnesota Public Radio Captured the #MPRraccoon Sensation to Connect With Its Audience

Membership, marketing, Audience Engagement

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Reprinted with permission from Solution Set reports from The Lenfest Institute and The Solutions Journalism Network

On Tuesday, June 12, a raccoon got stranded on the side of an office building across the street from Minnesota Public Radio, the public radio station in the Twin Cities.

The station’s reporters quickly dubbed the critter #MPRraccoon, and as it climbed up the building to safety it attracted worldwide attention. But as the newsroom covered the viral phenom, others at MPR tried to meet listeners’ request for raccoon merchandise. This week in Solution Set, I spoke with some of 
MPR’s leadership to better understand how they responded to this unique moment.

The Challenge

June 12 was a fairly normal Tuesday afternoon at Minnesota Public Radio until staffers noticed something odd on the building across the street: A raccoon was climbing up the side of a building.
Journalists, as they’re wont to do, quickly began tweeting about the little critter, and MPR reporter Tim Nelson christened it the #MPRraccoon as he reported extensively on the animal’s progress.
Soon, people far beyond Minnesota began following the raccoon’s ascent. Social media posts spread rapidly around the Internet, #MPRRaccoon trended on Twitter, and news organizations from around the world began publishing stories about the raccoon.
People from all around the world also began producing art depicting the raccoon’s challenge. And as the drawings and depictions appeared on social media, users had another request: Can I get an #MPRraccoon tote bag or T-shirt? (This is public media after all.)
So as the raccoon continued its climb, MPR began thinking about how it could make the most out of the unexpected attention.
“The conversations were how do we, Minnesota Public Radio, respond to this? It was more about feeding what the audience wanted and being true to who we were than how can we make money so to speak,” said Jennifer Van Zandt, managing director of marketing & creative services.

The Strategy

#MPRraccoon took off on Tuedsay afternoon, June 12. The raccoon safely reached the top of the building in the early morning hours of the following day, Wednesday, June 13.
By that afternoon, MPR was already selling T-shirts and tote bags.

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Marketing Tactics Used by Top Podcasts

PMDMC, marketing, podcast

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In our industry, it’s often said that anyone can make a podcast… but not everyone should.

So when your organization has invested time and resources into a really good podcast, you want to give it every advantage to succeed from the start.

These tips came from Joni Deutsch, on-demand content and audience engagement producer at WFAE, and Maggie Taylor, director of marketing at PRX and Radiotopia as part of the PMDMC 2018 session “From Launch to Orbit, Working Across Departments to Get Ears on Your Podcast.”

Identify your audience. 

Knowing whom you're talking to is the first, most essential step toward being able to  connect with those people. NPR offers storytelling training tools to help you identify whom you're trying to reach. Knowing your audience will affect which marketing tactics you choose to use. 

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Evidence of Growing Audience Trust in Public Radio

Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, General Management, marketing

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Reprinted with permission from Jacobs Media Blog.

Whether you’re in middle school or are a media brand, these days there’s nothing as toxic as a bad reputation. These days, just the utterance of the term, “fake news,” unleashes a torrent of emotion, whether you’re a journalist, a politician, or just a member of the masses.

A recent story in Fast Company by Gloria Origgi suggests we’ve left the “Information Age,” and now reside in a world where it’s all about reputation… and of course, that means trust.

Origgi makes the point that while most of us don’t have the time or bandwidth to track a story or a rumor down, we have come more and more to rely on sources that have earned our trust.

And many think that’s a trend – that in the not-so-distant future, it will become less about how we critically assess a story, but how much we trust in the information source that delivers that content. Origgi quotes Frederick Hayek who postulated that “civilization rests on the fact that we all benefit from knowledge which we do not possess.”

So, who do people believe? And where do radio stations, personalities, hosts, and media brands stand on the “Trust-o-meter?” Do consumers trust in the radio stations they listen to, whether it’s delivering the news or giving away tickets to that Arctic Monkeys concert?

At Jacobs Media, we conduct a considerable amount of research – both qualitative and quantitative – in the public radio space. These stations are enjoying some of the strongest ratings in the history of their platform, and audience trust is a key driver of their success.

Our most recent Public Radio Techsurvey (our 10th annual is in the field right now), seeks to better understand the medium’s “core values.” And trust is an attribute we track.

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A Start-to-Finish Guide to Securing Corporate Sponsorship for Your Station Event

event sponsorship, pricing, halo effect, Corporate Support, digital revenue, marketing

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What’s involved in selling event sponsorships? These 10 steps will help you determine the value of a sponsorship, find prospects, write a proposal, sell the sponsorship, and fulfill the agreement after the sponsorship is sold.

1. When planning your station event, keep sponsors in mind.

When you're planning your station event, keep in mind that corporate sponsorship is a form of brand advertising. The underlying intention of sponsorship is to create positive associations between the corporate brand and your station in the mind of the consumer. That’s the “Halo Effect.” You can do this, as you may have done in the past, by selling naming rights to the event or displaying sponsors’ corporate logos at your events and in your media when you promote the event.

2. Identify your assets.

What are the assets that can bring value to your sponsors? If the event is at your station or another venue, take a walk through the venue and make a list of the potential places where you can have a sponsor’s company name, logo or a presence at the event. Typical places for promotion include hanging banners over entrances, sponsors’ booths or tables at the event, sponsors’ logos, listings or advertisements in programs that are used by participants. The potential for where you can put a sponsor’s name or logo placement can be just about anything.

Of course you have media and other assets where you can put sponsors’ names or logos which are of value to sponsors:

  • Your radio/TV promos for the event
  • Logo / name on VIP passes
  • Signage at the entrance to the parking lot
  • Admission tickets or invitation
  • Booth, table or display area
  • Logo / name on T-shirts, posters or other keepsakes
  • Sampling opportunity
  • Mailing list
  • PA announcements
  • PBS Kids programs characters appearances
  • Website
  • E-newsletter
  • Mobile apps
  • Print or online magazine / logo recognition
  • Broadcast radio / TV underwriting schedule

In addition to the use of media and logo placement, identify other opportunities, such as meeting and having photos taken with guest celebrities, or access to exclusive areas like backstage passes.

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Five Ways to Wow Your Event Sponsors With First-Rate Execution

event sponsorship, Corporate Support, marketing

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Most public broadcasters produce many special events throughout the year. If your job includes the responsibility to make sure all your sponsors are taken care of, from benefits fulfillment to on-site support and post-event follow-up, how can you keep all those balls in the air without dropping them?

To keep so many details and deadlines in place, you need to make a plan and then work the plan. Here are some of the best practices we use at our sponsorship agency to keep many details organized and make sure sponsors are happy.

1. Assign a point person.

Sponsorship fulfillment needs to be the responsibility of a specific person, whether staff or volunteer, responsible for the “care & feeding” of sponsors. Often it will not be the person who “sold” the sponsorship. This needs to be an exclusive or significant part of their job while the event is occurring.

Generally, I look for a person who is customer-service oriented, an organized, “detail person,” a good communicator -- someone who will serve as the sponsor’s advocate and resource person, and be a problem-solver.

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