We recently wrapped up our Radiotopia 2016 fall fundraiser, and were blown away by the love and support from our fans, both old and new. With every drive, we gain new and important insights into the podcast fundraising universe and our dedicated fanbase. We’re always keen to learn how to best engage with listeners, make a genuine appeal, and secure the funds our shows need to keep creating quality, independent content.
Our fans: Whether they’ve been with us since the beginning, or just started listening…they’re the best.
This campaign taught us just how dedicated, generous and committed our fans truly are. A whopping 80% of our recurring 2015 donors stayed on as part of our active donor community this year. We aimed to steward existing relationships while encouraging steadfast donors to expose friends, partners, siblings and co-workers to the quality craft producing within Radiotopia. It worked!
As a surprise, we rewarded active sustaining members with our second challenge coin, this time Radiotopia themed.
Interestingly, of the 6,300 donors who contributed to this campaign, 64% had never before donated to Radiotopia.
Partnerships: Work together to drive donations.
Last year, we began a tradition of bringing our sponsors into the fundraiser to help provide donor challenges. These partners have become important tools that generate fan excitement and showcase our important corporate sponsors.
This year, Podster Magazine—a digital magazine dedicated to podcasts—jump-started the fundraiser by offering to chip in $10,000 if we hit 1,000 donors in the first two days. When we missed our goal by a few hours, our fans sprang into action and helped us ultimately secure the challenge funds from Podster (by the way, you can still get a free subscription). A big thank you to Podster!
A few days later, our friends at FreshBooks—who offer cloud-based accounting software for small businesses—issued another key challenge: a $40,000 donation if we snagged another 5,000 donors by the end of the campaign. This helped energize our fans to spread the word to friends and family, allowing us to soar beyond that goal to finish with over 6,000 donors. Thanks again to FreshBooks!
Producer rewards: Engaging, unique and original premiums.
This year, our producers offered up their time and talent to create exclusive, custom reward items that were incredibly popular with donors. Some rewards showcased their creative talents, like the curated mixtape from Song Exploder’s Hrishikesh Hirway (which quickly sold out), and the custom recording from Criminal’s Phoebe Judge.
Others gave lucky fans the opportunity to engage on more a personal level. These included a VIP Dinner with the Kitchen Sisters, one-on-one phone calls with Megan Tan from Millennial, a virtual documentary viewing with team Mortified, a museum tour with Nate DiMeo of The Memory Palace… oh, and a wedding ceremony officiated by Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist. Overall, we found the personalized gifts were a great way to way to drive excitement and, sometimes, laughter.
Benefit without the reward: The choice of no gift.
A whopping 40% of donors opted for no reward at all. Despite the long-time association of public media with t-shirts and tote bags, nearly half of our donors opted to support us directly. This ultimately allows our independent producers to keep more of the funds and for Radiotopia to save on fulfillment expenses and benefit more directly from the campaign’s success.
The result: The reach of Radiotopia’s message is impressive (if we do say so ourselves).
- We surpassed our original goal of 5,000 donations by over 1,000 people
- 64% of donors were brand new to our community
- The industry average is 20% new donors for any fundraising drive
- 80% of our sustaining members from last year maintained their monthly commitments
- 12% of donors who has previously cancelled their recurring donations came back in 2016
- We had donors from all 50 states and 73 countries/territories