How to apply the magic of great radio to your fundraising

Radio spots are some of the best and worst advertising you’ll ever encounter. Some legendary ads have been created (and are still being created) for radio. And some real stinkers that aren’t going to move anyone to do anything — but just might make you aware of things not to do in your fundraising.

If you spend all your listening time with Public Radio, you’re missing an amazing education in how to persuade. And how not to. I encourage you to spend some time listening to commercial radio, and pay close attention to the ads.

And check out this Monday Morning Memo from Roy Williams: The Kangaroo Recurrence. Williams is a guru of advertising, especially for the radio. What he says about commercial advertising can help you create better fundraising on the radio. Or better fundraising in any medium. Check it out:

  • Open your ad from an interesting angle. (You need to cut through wall-to-wall clutter and get their attention.)
  • Make an entertaining pitch. (Make it worth their while to listen. It’s easy to tune it out!)
  • Make the reader/listener/viewer see herself in your ad.
  • Now add “one more thing” as icing to the cake.

If you don’t use the radio for fundraising, that’s okay. It’s a challenging medium. But apply this thinking to whatever fundraising you do and see what happens!


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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