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

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Why Script Your Drives?

If you’re on the fence… and you’re not sure that scripting is the right thing for your station, do this:

 

Grab a recorded aircheck of a pledge break. Now transcribe it. Write down every word, indicate pauses, and note every sound.

Now read it aloud and ask yourself, “Is this the best your station can do?”

Is it convincing as a fundraiser? Does it represent great marketing and promotion? Is it good radio? Does the break encourage listeners to stay tuned? 

Three or four times per year stations dedicate 15 to 20 minutes per hour of prime broadcast time for a week or more to fundraise. And if the drive falls short of goal, we reward our listeners with more pledging! No wonder our listeners hate pledge drives. 

If your drives are lacking,  you might look to your own station for guidance. What does your station do at other times during the year to adhere to public radio's core values?

All year long your station breaks sound purposeful. Breaks in the middle and at the end of programs are tight. They’re informative and contain pre-determined messages such as news, underwriting and the weather, positioning statements and forward promotes. How do stations let on-air staff know what to say in these breaks? For most of the words hosts rely on the good old-fashioned traffic system.

The procedure  is that the hosts don't have to figure out exactly what to say. The words come from the traffic system. Hosts have to figure out how best to deliver them.

Then why not use a traffic system for pledge drives?

Here at PledgeDriver we came up with one. We think it’s pretty good and quite flexible. But it’s not the only way you can script drives. 

You can print 30-second scripts on 4x6 note cards and put them in a recipe box. Some folks print them on different colored cards and sort them by category. They might say to hosts, “During this break, read one red card and one blue card. Between every card give the phone number and website, and talk about the mug or the match.” It’s as easy as it gets.

You might plan out breaks on a spreadsheet – one sheet per 4-minute break, and print them out and hand them to your hosts. If you build a dozen of these complete breaks you can rotate them multiple times each day. You'll have different hosts reading them, and different listeners hearing them. No one will ever mention that the scripts are the same.

 

There must be a dozen ways to script pledge drive breaks. Pick one and run with it. 

Pledge drives have been referred to as the “last black hole of public radio programming.” We believe that things can only get better with scripting.

Welcome to PledgeLab! This is where you'll find great advice on how to make every word count.

 

Roger Gomoll

OnAirFundraising LLC, creator of PledgeDriver

pledgedrive@msn.com

651.797.2161

New Topics:

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Creating Effective Break Plans

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The Appleby Syllogism:
The Giving Freeway

Learn about the power of accelerators.

Jay Clayton on accelerators