When it comes to revenue and donor retention, good fundraising practices are paramount to success. Yet for the most part, outside of recent sustainer success, public media’s record of retaining donors year after year, and transitioning more people to philanthropic levels of giving has often been mediocre at best.
In order to retain more donors, it’s vital to make the most of opportunities as they present themselves to signal impact and value to donors. This means finding ways to talk about what the station brings to the community that goes beyond the simple act of listening to programs on the radio. It’s about helping listeners and donors build a deeper sense of meaning and understanding of the importance of your mission.
Here are three key ways that demonstrating the impact of your programming makes a difference in donor cultivation:
1. It shows their donation makes a difference.
It keeps your new and long-time members connected to the “why” of their support, serving as a regular reminder that their listening and support has true purpose and importance – that it matters – and their continued participation makes it all possible.
2. It paves the way toward major giving.
It sets your potential major donors up for a more fruitful conversation at a more advanced starting place, a position likely to result in greater levels of giving.
3. It draws in younger (more impact-sensitive) donors.
It strengthens connections with younger donors, a generation that we will count on to fund the work of public media in the decades to come. This is a generation that – at least to date – has shown that impact is a key driver of their charitable giving choices.
Even though budgets are tight, a creative approach coupled with a little time invested can ensure that some important impact ideas reach your donors on a regular basis.
Here are two excellent recent examples of stations using existing tools and resources for an additional purpose of signaling impact.
In the midst of the occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, OPB utilized its weekly e-newsletter to go beyond a “tune-in-for-developments-here” message. President and CEO Steve Bass crafted a timely and significant leading letter that:
- Shares behind-the-scenes information about the coverage
- Tells readers why it’s important
- Gives donors props for making it possible
- Touts how OPB’s work is central to national reporting efforts, an idea that builds pride amongst supporters.