A Radiothon Success Story
The overall success of this endeavor depends on the ABCs of fundraising: "A" for ability to prepare in advance for the event; "B" for being flexible and focused for the three-day event; and "C" for completing the event and critiquing it in preparation for the 2013 radiothon.
A: Ability to prepare in advance
As soon as the 2011 radiothon ended, various elements were critiqued for improvement. The organization reviewed the stories and programs that were aired to solicit funds. It evaluated if the right number of volunteers were secured to answer phones. It began working toward obtaining new corporate sponsors and thinking strategically about a challenge-gift approach, as well as the optimum length of and sites for the next radiothon.
New promotion added for 2012 included paid radio and television advertising and the use of billboards.
B: Being flexible and focused
The 2012 radiothon began with two event co-chairs; 60 hours on-air; and three locations that included the radio station, a popular hardware store and a mall in downtown Indianapolis. The latter two sites exposed the radiothon to an audience beyond its normal listenership.
New volunteers were trained with staff that handled a variety of activities from 6 p.m. on a Friday in early December to 6 p.m. the following Sunday. The date was chosen to emphasize giving from Thanksgiving and encourage charity in the upcoming Christmas season.
In addition to on-air radio activities, other solicitation activities were in full force — bell-ringing kettles, gift-wrapping programs, direct mail and online giving. The radiothon helped the Salvation Army attain an annual Christmas goal of $3.3 million, about one-third of which is generated by kettle donations.
C: Completing the radiothon and critiquing for 2013
While the Salvation Army provides many services, the radiothon focused on food and shelter. Individuals were asked to join the Bread & Bed Club by giving at least $10 per month for 12 months. This proved very successful.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.