On Air

On Air iconAfter the Drive

Follow-up is Critical

Acquiring a new sustainer on the air is just the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and fruitful relationship. Warm, clear, engaging follow-up is critical. A number of techniques for year-round cultivation can be found in the Retention section.

After the drive concludes consider starting a Sustainer E-welcome series that not only integrates your new donors in the station activities and offerings, but is also another chance to reinforce the message that they will be making an ongoing monthly gift.

Year-Round On-Air Spots

Building awareness and reminding donors of the importance of ongoing sustaining support is a year-round effort. True success requires adding sustainer-specific spots to the membership promotions mix on the air. These spots could include:

  • Thank you's — from recognizable hosts or the general manager, for example
  • Credit card decline reminders to compliment direct marketing to impacted donors
  • Recruitment spots such as voice-overs, that clearly and directly lay out what it means to be a sustaining member and how it works, or sustainer testimonials from community members that share why they think being a sustainer is important
  • Special stand-alone campaigns such as, "It's Sustainer Week at WXYZ!" This is a great way to boost awareness through freshened spots, as well as a briefly heightened online and e-presence. Use it to recognize current sustainers and encourage new people to join. You can even consider setting a goal for a number of new sustainers

The spot library includes a wide variety of sustainer spots meant to inspire your own station efforts.

Communicate with Clarity

It's important to remember that, particularly with on-air fundraising, your audience is never paying as close attention to your message as you are. Though a message might be crystal clear on the air, it may nevertheless be only partially absorbed by some donors before they call in to contribute — perhaps thinking that they are simply donating with installments that end after one year, for example.

Your phone scripts should be designed to catch and eliminate as many such misunderstandings as possible before calls are concluded.

Making sure that every call is concluded with a statement like the following can help keep more sustainers active in the long-term.

"Thank You for signing up to become a sustaining member of [station]. Please note that your membership is an ON-GOING SUSTAINING CONTRIBUTION and your account will be debited $XX MONTHLY/CONTINUING. Thank you for your generous support."

Including a reminder of what sustaining support means on the actual donation form is an effective technique too.

During on-air drives, be sure to use every near-term opportunity such as online bounce-backs, confirmation emails, acknowledgement letters, and post-drive thank-you emails, to clearly and gently remind your sustainers what they have signed up for

A light touch added to these communications can go a long way in making sure that the action is fully understood and intentional.

"As a sustaining member, your ongoing monthly commitment is so valuable to all of the programs you enjoy. And remember… you won't even have to worry about renewing next year… your support will continue on automatically and smoothly, providing reliable funding for WXYZ."