Treating On-Air Fundraising as a Campaign II

In my last post, I listed arguments I’ve heard for not scripting pledge breaks.

A refresher:

  1. We’ve always done it that way

  2. Our staff won’t do ‘scripted’ fundraising; they think it sounds ‘unnatural’

  3. We have no time to write or organize scripts

  4. We do great/make our goal without scripts so clearly we don’t need them

  5. We have a binder full of scripts that we downloaded five years ago and nobody ever uses it

  6. One more: “I keep giving scripts to my talent and they keep ignoring them and going off on their own.”

I understand that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances, so I’m hopeful that I can help you change those circumstances.

  1. While technology, content creation, and engagement have moved forward, Pledge seems to be the one activity where staff is content to keep ‘doing what we’re doing.’ The key to changing that mindset is internal marketing. We need to convince the organization that fundraising techniques and marketing have also leapt forward and we need to embrace them in order to thrive.

  2. Granted, there are pitchers who are very good at articulating the case and can drive people to take an action. There is a larger number of people who need campaign-specific bullet points, key phrases, and outright scripting to maintain continuity and help reinforce campaign messages. Hold practice sessions and encourage them to help you make the pitching sound natural.

  3. Donor-centric scriptwriting is an art, especially as you translate traditional fundraising copy into radio or TV talking points. Keep each script to 100 words or fewer; focus on one idea at a time; write several variations on a single theme; focus on what the donor has accomplished and not what the station does; make the appeal emotional and demonstrate community impact—nobody donates to help you keep the lights on.

  4. Is making the revenue goal your only goal for membership campaigns? Consider the benefits of incorporating a cross-platform theme into the pledge drive. There’s a potential to lift all responses when you are running on all cylinders.

  5. Take your scripts out of the binder and throw them away. This is 2018 and we have a boatload of new cases on the table that we can make in order to resonate with the social and charitable disposition of the country. Instead of putting them back in a binder, carefully program your scripts break by break to capture the donor’s imagination as you tell your story.

  6. Meet with the talent and ask them for help in achieving the goal of incorporating thematic elements into on-air pitching. As for their feedback on scripting and make edits. They want to be amazing fundraisers, too, and as you get them involved in the production of these scripts they will embrace them in future drives. I’ve seen that happen to great effect.

Given the constraints on staff time, what is your most pressing need regarding scripting?

Barry NelsonComment