Fundraising for Internet Radio Stations (Starter’s Guide).
Welcome to today’s blog post on fundraising for web radio stations.
Are you cash hungry?
Acknowledge your need! Because money is good.
What’s more...quality entertainment is pricey.
A quick example: The Avengers: Endgame movie had a budget of $356 million, but the results were worth every penny.
As an internet radio station owner, you have many responsibilities pal…
Radio hosting expenses, music purchase costs, content production costs, royalties, etc.
Your fans have money, meaning they can also pitch in. Can’t they?
The challenge is:
How do you make listeners share their hard-earned dough?
Well, you need to know something about fundraising. So, set out 10 minutes. Read this post. And you’ll know:
What charity is;
How to go about being a non-profit;
The donor’s journey and mastering it;
Tools to help you in your fundraising for internet radio station;
Phrases and words to help you fund raise.
Let’s get started:
What is Charity?
“Voluntarily giving money to someone in need. It’s goodwill.”
The person in need here is you. And the donor has to have an emotional connection before giving out their resources to you.
Giving is Receiving
"For it is in giving that we receive. Those who give generously receive more."
There is a Swahili proverb that translates to, “An empty hand is not licked.”
What this seems to imply is that:
People don’t just give out their resources out of sheer heavenly benevolence.”
Sometimes they do. But they sure ain’t benevolent at all times.
Often people are implicitly bribed into giving. For instance, being offered dinner at a fundraiser. What’s offered as a reward is of course lesser in value than the donation expected.
What is means to be a Non-profit
It means not seeking out profits but rather fulfilling a particular need in your community.
It also implies having to compete with loads of other non-profits for the limited resources of your donor.
“But it’’s charity, not a competition.”
Well, if you still think of it this way, there is no problem. Just aim to be the first place money goes to when your donor makes payments to their favorite non-profits.
The Donor’s Journey: Adapted for Fundraising for Radio Stations
Sales and marketing teams use the buyers journey to demonstrate the phases the buyer goes through before purchasing their product.
They include: Awareness → Consideration → Decision
We can adapt the same stages to our fundraising for radio station project.
Phase 1: Awareness
Awareness entails shouting out to the world that you do exist. In this phase, it’s vital to know who your ideal listener is and use platforms available to you to go after them.
Garner an audience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and through your radio website
List your station on as many internet radio directories as possible
Re-purpose some of your shows as podcasts.
Post past shows on YouTube
Upload music shows to MixCloud
Keep in mind that a station with 1000 raving fans might have a better chance on paper at raising more money than the one with 100 listeners.
After people are aware of you, you need to ensure that they know that you’re a donor-supported station. Here are things to try:
Use digital banners and flyers.
Make on-air announcements about your fundraising efforts.
If you put out podcasts, remember to ask people to donate to you or consider becoming patrons with certain perks such as an ad-free experience.
Off-line marketing is also important. So, tell anyone with an ear about your fundraising drive.
Phase 2: Research/Consideration
Once people are aware of your radio station...and they are actually listening to your shows and also know that you are fundraising...next comes making them consider donating to you.
People connect with what they know. So, in this phase, it’s important to provide them with extensive information about your station.
To get started, answer the following questions:
- When was the station created?
- How many people work on it?
- How many Djs are there?
- Where is the station based?
- What’s its vision and mission statement?
- Why do you do what you do?
People can connect to such details so include every intimate detail you can. Even tell a story of how you got started.
You’re more inclined to follow the advice of a friend or relative when considering a purchase decision or a cause to support.
We are social beings. Gathering user reviews for your radio station can build trust with your audience.
For instance, how would you react if you came across the following review:
“I have listened to countless internet radio streams and never quite found the one. One day I discovered my knight in shining armor. XFM is my ray of sunshine. I feel secure every time I turn on their stream.”
The don’t have to be written reviews solely, radio is an audio medium and people engage with you by ear.
So alternatively you can have vox pops of people saying good things about your station, and play them on-air in between songs as links.
Also, if you’re using text, it might be a worthwhile idea to also use photos to enhance the message. Ask for a photo to go with each comment, and you’ll prove that they are actual people behind the review.
Timeline Annual Report
You can use a timeline report to describe milestones you have achieved throughout the year.
Remember that the more information you provide your listeners, the better chance you have at raising money for your internet radio station.
Now you don’t need a 100 page annual report with all your bank information on it.
Nope.Text walls are a killer on the web. Instead, breakdown key moments on a timeline. Something like this:
Timeline of our Achievements for 2019
- January 25th – Launched a lower bitrate stream for mobile listening.
- May 15th – Moved to new streaming servers
- June 21st – Got our stream listed on Tune In
- August 30th – Achieve 500 fans on Facebook
- and so on.
Videos offer more engagement. So find ways to capitalize on videos to pass your message more effectively.
Think of video testimonials from listeners. Or create a short video highlighting the achievements of your station, and what you plan to do in the future.
The more information listeners have about you; the more they understand your mission and vision; the easier it is to get them on board.
Phase 3: Decision
In this phase, the listener is:
Knowledgeable about your radio station
Has the right reasons to justify donating to your cause.
Wants to give.
If they are in this stage, you should make it effortless for them to give. That means having a clear way of collecting their donations.
If you’re using donate buttons on your website, make them clearly visible.
The best placement is in fact on the top right corner of your website but not in the footer.
Your donation message should be on the upper fold of your website.
Equally on social media, include directions on how people can make donations. Are you using PayPal’s donate button? Then ensure it’s clearly visible.
Phase 4: Evangelism
Donors are assets to your brand because often there are so thrilled with you that there are willing to tell their friends about you.
That’s basically evangelizing and the trick is making people part of your story.
For instance, you may create a shareable poster with the message, “I donate to XFM.” And then have listeners post it on their social media pages.
Hopefully in the follow up to this blog post, we’ll speak more about getting donors to give money again. Next though, let’s look at some tools you can use in your campaigns.
Fundraising Toolkit for Radio Stations
Content creators are finding it easier to monetize their content through Patreon. The platform allows to run a membership program with exclusive perks to fans such as ad free content or early releases.
Podcasters, writers, journalists, and radio show creators heavily feature on Patreon. It’s much suited to on-going projects rather than Kick-starter, which is useful for launching new projects, but not actually supporting them.
Are they are any stations raising funds on Patreon?
Yap, plenty of them. For instance, Star Talk Radio, The Radio War Nerd Podcast, the Horse Radio Network and more.
It’s been dubbed Kick-starter’s relaxed cousin because the projects are not heavily vetted before being accepted. You can opt to keep-all funds donated or select all or nothing funding.
Kick-starter only offers the latter option. Projects can only run for 60 days, but there is an option to extend your campaign.
What about the costs? You’ll pay 5% of the total donations to them, while 3% of the cash will be gobbled up by payment processors
Rewarding Listeners for their Contribution
On Kick-starter, you must provide a reward for every contribution you get. Rewards are there to encourage people to give. As a radio station, here are some ideas on rewards:
- Pledge $10: Your name will be forever engrave on our website. You’ll also receive newsletters, digital stickers, and priority access to contests.
- Pledge $20: You’ll receive a personal email from our founder and all the benefits of pledging $10.
- Pledge $30: All the above benefits plus a free branded t-shirt.
Talking to your listeners: How to tug at their heartstrings
Your words matter...so here are some effective ways to ask for donations on the air.
#1: Because we matter to you.
“How much does our radio matter to you? If we asked you to quantify the value of the entertainment you receive, how much would you pay us?”
#2: Become part of the community.
“Dear Listener, there are passive listeners and active listeners. The active bunch are our all time favorites. To see us grow, they willingly use their resources to support their favorite station. Don’t stay passive. This is your chance to cross over and become an active participant by giving out a few dollars to keep us going. We are all united in our common quest for world class radio entertainment”
#3: It’s all left to the small guy.
“Big radio stations are shutting down in droves for failing to raise enough cash to stay profitable. People have been rendered jobless. Dreams crushed. And life-long listeners left with no other source of good entertainment. Amid this turbulent future for radio, small broadcasters like yours truly are stepping up to do the impossible. Providing the same level of entertainment as the big terrestrial stations did without the same man power and ad money. So consider donating your well-earn cash to keep us afloat & working.”
#4: For the greater good of other listeners
“Amid the downturn of the economy, many of our listeners are struggling to make ends meet, and we can’t blame them for not making contributions as usual. But there are also lucky souls still getting their money, still striving for the dream. If you’re one of them, an additional $10 on your normal contribution could cover for one other member who relies on our radio station for their entertainment.”
That’s all for today. Keep all these tips in mind while raising cash for your internet radio station. It all boils down to proper execution of the donor’s journey.
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