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Holiday Charity Campaigns for Broadcasters

‘Tis the season when broadcasters begin ramping up on-air promotion for heartwarming holiday charity campaigns.

The non-profit events that evoke huge emotional response, good ratings and major advertiser engagement often begin by answering the following question at inception:

What would it take for you to act?

Audiences are bombarded with good cause messaging in November and December. What would move you to give? Break through with these guidelines that can help assure success for your holiday campaign.

  • Entertain first, educate second. Have fun and make it memorable. Then ask for donations. What’s more blah than a food drive? The can’t-miss on-air content of the year at WMMR Philadelphia happens during Preston and Steve’s Camp Out For Hunger. Last year they laughed so hard it brought in 913 tons of food.
  • Tell individual stories. Research proves that people are more likely to help one person that they know vs. thousands of faceless people. Focus on the story of one person so your audience can feel their experience, emotions and inner thoughts. Also: partner with charities near-and-dear to your on-air talent and highlight their authentic connection to the cause. Their passion is contagious.
  • Limit charity and sponsor representatives. They come on the air with hearts in the right place but here is the unkind truth: they’re boring. Instead of standard interviews, encourage them to bring personal experience stories about the charity and record and edit instead of airing them live.
  • Beware of “a portion of proceeds.”  A company giving 10% of sales to a good cause is not making a donation, they are making a sale. It does not move emotions or donations. Also: driving the audience to a sponsor location to donate is fine, but provide an easy online/text option to give as well.
  • Measure ROI. Keep score in these success metrics:
    1. Donations: total and the number of individuals donating.
    2. Traffic: sponsor locations, web hits, social media engagement, etc.
    3. Audience: Nielsen ratings, streaming, video views.
    4. Sponsorship revenue: the fee paid specifically for association with the charity (not an annual or package amount.)

Then put a number on the amount of air time, number of promos, social media posts, point of purchase displays and appearances you invested. Change tactics each year until you show consistently strong return on investment.