Why Public Radio Stations Need Prospect ResearchRunning a radio station is expensive! Corporate sponsorship can only take a station so far. Donations, both big and small, are the fuel that keeps stations broadcasting. While contributions of all sizes are wanted and welcomed, major gifts are the premium fuel. A few major gifts can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful fundraising campaign. Prospect research reaches into a listener pool and hunts for those high-value donors. Stations are providing a public service. Listeners know this and are willing to give to keep that service around.
How Screening for Public Radio Stations DiffersRadio stations have a massive reach. Much more so than most nonprofits, radio stations have a built in campaign marketing platform. Due to this reach, stations’ lists of potential donors is much larger than an average fund-seeking organization. The main goal for radio station fundraising is converting listeners into donors. This differs from other nonprofits that are seeking to attract new prospects. Stations have built in prospects. Most radio stations have an annual fund or pledge drive that they do once per year or quarter. Prospect research can take those donors and pick out who could be upgraded major gift level.
Who Should Be ScreenedFor public radio, prospect research should be used to help identify annual/pledge donors who could make the move up to mid-level donors and eventually major gift donors and planned givers. The good news for public radio is the sheer potential that comes with having so many prospects via its audience. Doing a prospect screening of all prospects, or even just the massive population of donors, would be too much. Prospect research is an efficiency booster, but there is some prep work involved in the process to make sure the act of screening isn’t inefficient itself. Before doing the actual research, your team will want to segment out specific categories of donors to screen. When segmenting, a station should focus on:
- loyal pledge drive donors
- board members
How Should You ScreenOrchestrating a successful screening involves selecting what data to search for and the best methods to gather that data. Let’s first address what to look for. This list, though not exhaustive, should be a good start:
- prior donations to your cause (which we discussed in the “who to screen” section)
- records of donations to other organizations and nonprofits
- real estate ownership
- business affiliations
- personal information
- In House
- Through Prospect Research Consultants
- With the Help of a Prospect Screening Company