Leading With Influence and Persuasion in Public Media

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

Leave a comment

Leadership roles in public media are often very challenging and complex. Whether you’re a GM, a PD, marketing director, underwriting director, or membership director, we are all responsible for creating strategies and painting a vision. However, when leading a team, creating consensus and alignment is not an easy task.

My go-to source for enhancing my ability to persuade people without coercion, is a book titled “The Art of Woo.” The authors Mario Moussa and G. Richard Shell both teach at the Wharton School. “Woo” refers to the ability to “Win Others Over.” It’s this ability to persuade, according to the book, that allows us to achieve our business goals.

Develop Trusting Internal Business Relationships

Woo is basically relationship-based persuasion: a strategic process for getting people’s attention, presenting your ideas, and obtaining approval for your plans and projects. Face-to-face meetings are the best way to develop trusting relationships. Such settings enable people to catch nonverbal cues such as voice-tone, body language, and emotional emphasis.

Cultivate Self-Awareness 

Continue reading →

How OPB Builds Audience by Paying to Boost Facebook Content

facebook, instagram, Membership, Social/Mobile

Leave a comment

To make boosted Facebook content work, you have to pay attention to audience behavior, according to Jan Boyd, director of digital strategy and community engagement and Paul Loofburrow, vice president marketing and communications at Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). 

The team took some time to study their audience’s behavior by watching how posts performed over time, then tested their assumptions and refined their conclusions by marking certain content for additional promotion. 

The team has what they call the “Crushin’ 5,” five pieces of content each week from various content areas that are likely to perform well on social. The Crushin’ 5 are a combination of what audiences need to know and what mirrors (in style/topic) other content that historically has performed well on social.

Continue reading →

How to Use Air Checks to Make Each Drive Better Than the Last

PMDMC, Membership, pledge drive, aircheck, pitching

Leave a comment

When we surveyed stations last year about their on-air fundraising practices only 30% said they used air checks from on-air drives. Programmers use air checks to review and improve everything else on your station. Since fundraising is programming, we should use air checks to make drives better too. 

Air checks are the best way to experience your membership drive the way a listener does, which is exactly what you need to do to create a listener-focused pledge drive. Air checks are the best tool we have to make our drives sound better (keeping listeners with us) and perform better (turning listening into more givers and revenue).

When you do listen to air checks, here are some good ideas about when and how to listen, and how to use what you hear to improve the sound - and fundraising effectiveness - of your drive.

1. Listen to air checks after every drive.

And don't wait too long to do it! It's best to listen soon after the drive so the experience is still fresh in everyone's minds.

Don't look for your best or the worst pitch-breaks. Instead, find a handful of typical examples of how your drive sounded. This is what your typical listener heard.

And, of course, listen to the same air checks again right before your next drive to reinforce what you're aiming to improve.

Continue reading →

How Rewriting Your Thank-You Letter Could Lead to Your Next Major Gift

PMDMC, Membership, donor cultivation and stewardship, Major Giving

Leave a comment

Penelope Burk tells a story of one donor who, after making a $100 first-time donation, receives a thank-you letter, picks up the phone to call the organization that sent it, and announces intent to make a five-figure gift.

Seem unlikely? Perhaps. But you haven't read this kind of letter. 

Burk, the renowned author, researcher, presenter, and fundraising futurist, described such a letter at the 2019 Public Media Development and Marketing Conference (PMDMC) as an example of donor-centered fundraisingThis is relationship-focused fundraising that sustains donor loyalty and inspires more generous gifts by granting donors the three things they say they need every time they give. One of things donors want is to be acknowledged in a meaningful way; not as one of many donors, but as a single donor.

Here's the type of thank-you letter many of us are sending today:

Dear Bruce:

Through your sponsorship, you are partnering with us to improve ABC Hospital and the care received here. On behalf of the hospital, and the patients who benefit from your generosity, I would like to thank you for your contribution of $5,000 on May 20th in support of the Foundation's 19th Annual Golf Benefit. 

As a sponsor of this great event, you are making a difference!

We are honored and grateful to have your support as a sponsor of our biggest fundraising event of the year. The quality of healthcare delivered at ABC Hospital would not be as great if it were not for caring  and loyal supporters like you!

Gratefully,

(signed by the hospital foundation development director)

It's fine. But now read this one:

Continue reading →

How Two Phone Calls a Day Could Make You Happier (and Raise More Money)

PMDMC, Membership, donor cultivation and stewardship, Major Giving

Leave a comment

Imagine if the first thing you did each day when you got to work was to make a genuine connection with your organization's mission -- with why your work matters

You wouldn't check email. You wouldn't look at your to-do list or even stop and chat with colleagues. Instead, you might pick up the phone and call just one donor. You would tell that donor how much his or her gift matters to your organization and its mission.

What if you made that same phone call to one more donor before you went home?

This is what renowned author, presenter, and fundraising futurist Penelope Burk suggested at the 2019 Public Media Development and Marketing Conference (PMDMC) during a session focused on donor-centered fundraising (her grand-finale PMDMC presentation before retirement!)

"Give yourself ten minutes to do it," suggests Burk, "Nine minutes to angst about it and one to actually do it. It will set up your day. It will change how you feel." 

Continue reading →

Online Fundraising: How Public Media Compares to Other Nonprofits in 2019

Membership, online giving

Leave a comment

If you felt like your organization’s online giving was unpredictable or lackluster in 2018 you are not alone. According to the recently released M+R Benchmarks report surveying 135 diverse nonprofits, online giving revenues grew a measly 1% last year.

After an incredible 2017 with revenue growth of 23%, the 1% increase in revenue in 2018 fell short of expectations. But the team at M+R highlights the good news: it’s still a 77% increase from 2014. According to the report, this flat growth is the market right-sizing itself after the outpouring of donations following the 2016 election. M+R suggests, “It’s that the growth happened a year early, showing up in 2017.”

There is no sugar coating some of the other data in the report, however: Email open and click-through rates fell to 14% and .44%, respectively; and membership growth slowed (after a big 21% increase in 2017 to a 5% increase in 2018).

But the data also gives us some guidelines for being successful despite growth slowing, such as improving donor retention and sustainer programs, increasing the effectiveness of other channels, and mobilizing your most passionate supporters.

Continue reading →

How Michigan Radio Uses Instagram to Cultivate Audience Engagement

instagram, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, General Management, Engagement

Leave a comment

When digital director Jodi Westrick was hired at Michigan Radio, she knew her new station was excellent at telling stories with audio and website content. Her goal was to expand the reach of those stories to new and different audiences.

Westrick and her team began synopsizing the station’s reporting on the Instagram platform using single images, slideshows, and video. These Instagram posts link back to the full stories using instructions to “visit the link in our bio.”

Continue reading →

Station Results From Our Calendar-Year-End Fundraising Survey

Membership, calendar year-end

Leave a comment

The last quarter of the calendar year (October-December) is a critical fundraising period for stations. With fall drives and year-end giving occurring in these months, the fundraising outcomes are important to the overall success of your program regardless of whether this period coincides with the end of a station’s fiscal year.

Last year, we began hearing a mix of optimism and concern from our members about quarter four of 2018. So we decided to survey stations to learn how 2018 came out, and preview plans for 2019.

Continue reading →

Case Study: How Social Ads and Kickstarter Allowed KPCC to Resurrect LAist

instagram, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, Facebook ads, digital marketing

Leave a comment

Back in 2012, a tiny radio show called 99% Invisible was desperate to continue production of what seemed to be a wildly popular podcast. With few options, host and creator Roman Mars popped up a page on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter and asked his small-but-loyal fan base to keep his show in production. They answered. More than three times over.

The success of 99% Invisible’s Kickstarter campaigns captured a lot of attention in public media. Since then it’s become clear that crowdfunding isn’t ideally suited to support the overall health of a public media station. Rather, the best candidates for these campaigns are stand-alone projects over which an audience feels a sense of strong ownership, and projects that likely could not exist were they unable to meet their funding goal on Kickstarter.

KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)

In 2018, KPCC acquired a shuddered altweekly called LAist. The acquisition was part of a transformative digital strategy aimed at growing and diversifying their audience. Though they purchased the website, they needed funds and supporters to bring it back to life and incorporate the assets with existing KPCC assets: enter Kickstarter.

Continue reading →

Case Study: WBHM's Success Using Targeted Social Media Ads

Facebook advertising, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, digital marketing

Leave a comment

Last fall, WBHM 90.3 in Birmingham, Ala. ran their first paid social media ad campaign, and it led to very successful results.

The ads were direct solicitations for donations and offers to buy WBHM socks, t-shirts, and pint glasses in hopes of cultivating these individuals for membership later on. But the success lay in the use of targeting.

Targeting, as you probably know, is the magic (or creepiness) of digital ads that have been selected for people based on their past actions online. WBHM purchased targeted ads through Facebook, uploaded the email addresses of current and lapsed members, and then had Facebook target those users with ads, along with owners of email addresses they had from the NPR One database.

The owners of the ad-targeted email addresses made 279 donations totaling $32,441 during the station’s fall, 2017 membership drive. (Donations made up to one day after an ad was viewed by an individual and up to 28 days after an individual clicked through an ad were considered part of the fall, 2017 drive).

Continue reading →