ABOUT PLEDGE LAB

 Pledge Lab is a collection of articles and essays dedicated to improving the practice and effectiveness of public radio pledge drives.

CONTACT US

 Got questions? Want to comment? Contact us here. We'd love to hear from you.

Receive PledgeLab Updates

The Art of Closing

Roger Gomoll

By now, you know the drill: pledge breaks are a succession of short case and close messages. Stack up three or four pairs of case/close messages and you’ve got a four to five minute pledge break.

 

In review, the CASE is the “Why”. We further divide that into the Case for Listening or the Case for Giving.

 

The CLOSE is the “How” and “When”. Generally, close messages include information on the Process, the Price of membership, and mention of a Premium, Match, or Challenge. It generally includes an invitation to Give Now, as well. 

 

Make closing scripts short and complete and encourage your on-air talent to add a few words of their own to make them personal and inviting. A close script should always speak to just one person.

 

Because of their simplicity, you won’t need very many pre-written close messages. But since there are different kind of closes, you’ll need a variety of them.

 

There are what we call “simple closes”. Just the facts. A set of ten or so of these would be enough to rotate.

 

The simplest is just the set of essential points.

The Basics

  • Join by calling 8XX-222-8000. It takes about three minutes.

  • It’s even easier online. Click the “Donate Now” button at WXYZ dot ORG

  • Consider becoming a sustaining member. It’s easy to set up, and your $5 or more monthly contribution will ensure your continuing support of this station.

  • Call 8XX-222-8000, or join online anytime at WXYZ dot ORG.

Adding a bit of color makes the script a little more conversational for those who like to read scripts verbatim.

One of the Easiest Things

  • It could be one of the easiest things you’ll do all day. What’s that? Your contribution to WXYZ.

  • Grab your phone and call 8XX-222-8000. In about three minutes, you’ll have done your part.

  • Or- join online. Click the “Donate Now” button at WXYZ dot ORG and you’ll be on your way to membership.

  • If you want to make things even easier, sign up as a sustaining member. Your monthly contribution of $5 or more willensure your continuing support of WXYZ.

  • Supporting WXYZ is easy and affordable. Call 8XX-222-8000, or join online anytime at WXYZ dot ORG.

The first line of a close message is a good time for a very short case message. Since most listeners tell us they give because they listen and find value in the station, it’s most effective to emphasize that point in the close as well.

How Much?

  • How much should you give? You decide. Your membership in any amount will be turned into great programming that will keep you informed all throughout the next year.

  • Call 8XX-222-8000 or click and join at WXYZ dot ORG right now.

  • Members of WXYZ help us do the essential work of bringing you the news and information you need each day.

  • Call 8XX-222-8000 or join online at WXYZ dot ORG.

If your station is asking listeners to change to sustaining membership or join as a new sustainer, you can write a close message that suggests it-

Even Easier 

  • At WXYZ we try to make contributing a quick and easy process.

  • And to make it even easier, make the switch to Sustainer. A Sustaining Membership is monthly gift that automatically renews.

  • Give $5, $10, or even $100 a month.

  • Sustainers help WXYZ save thousands of dollars a year by reducing our mailing costs.

  • So, make the switch and make a difference. Call 8XX-222-8000, or become a Sustainer online at WXYZ dot ORG.

High-performing stations tend to use premiums strategically. The strategy is generally to give contributors a reason to give at a higher level, or to give NOW. We at PledgeDriver call those reasons Accelerators

The best accelerators are focused to a single purpose. Your offer must target a special audience. One example would be to use premiums, challenges, or matching money for first-time givers at any level who join as sustainers.

Sustainer Match

  • Join as a sustainer and current WXYZ members will thank you by TRIPLING your first month's sustaining membership payment.

  • Give $10 a month and WXYZ will get an extra $30. Give $20 a month, the match will be $60. Give $30 a month and the fund will give $90.

  • Sustaining memberships are a dependable source of support for WXYZ. And they help shorten our twice-yearly membership drives too.

  • Call 8XX-222-8000 or give online at WXYZ dot ORG.

 

Match and Challenges are intense accelerators, solely designed to encourage listeners to contribute NOW. Leading with the Challenge or Match in the break will increase urgency. After the opening mention of the offer, make later short mentions of the Challenge or Match in the break as you urge your listeners to join.

88 Minute Match

  • We're in an 88 minute match here at WXYZ 88 point 5 FM. There's $1,000 on the line.

  • The Members Matching Members Fund has set a dollar-for-dollar match in the last 88 minutes of [PROGRAM_NAME]. Every dollar you give will be matched - up to $1,000.

  • Get on board. Double your gift. Contribute now at WXYZ dot ORG or call 8XX-222-8000. There's just ____ minutes left until 4PM.

Stations have found that scripting premium messages makes it easier for pitchers to use premiums as they are intended. Scripts also keep the on-air talent from spending too much time describing the premium. Here’s a typical T shirt script-

$10/month T shirt 

  • Contribute just $10 a month and we will send you the WXYZ  black cotton t-shirt.

  • The four-color station logo on the front will instantly identify you as a true WXYZ fan.

  • It’s a comfortable shirt that in sizes small to 2X.

  • See this classic t-shirt when you contribute online at WXYZ dot ORG. Or call us the old-fashioned way at 8XX-222-8000 and ask for your shirt right now.

Generally, stations will provide a longer description of a premium at the beginning of a break, and make any additional mentions as a short insertion into a later close script. Here’s a general close with a short mention of the T shirt.

What would you pay?

  • What would you pay for programming on WXYZ? Ten Cents a day? Thirty Cents a day? A Dollar a day?

  • Every dollar that you contribute will be used to support the programming you hear on WXYZ 

  • Contribute just $10 a month and we will send you the WXYZ logo black t-shirt.

  • Ask for it at 8XX-222-8000. Or join online at WXYZ dot ORG. 

Great closers know that a close is not a offer- but is an invitation. Great non-profit fundraisers know that the ask is not purely a request for dollars, but is also an invitation to join in the work of the non-profit. 

For further reading- see these PledgeLab articles:  Jay Clayton on Accelerators

                                                                                                     Matches and Challanges

Roger Gomoll

OnAirFundraising LLC

pledgedrive@msn.com

New Topics:

Learn about making breaks more efficient.

Creating Effective Break Plans

Learn about the "Stairway to Given" analogy.

The Appleby Syllogism:
The Giving Freeway

Learn about the power of accelerators.

Jay Clayton on accelerators