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Launch Your Program - Marketing

Once you have decided on a program name and structured levels and benefits (see the Strategy page in the Design Your Program section), you should create awareness of your program by marketing the concept to your members and prospects. Whether your program is new or already in existence, creating a buzz increases your ability to attract major donors. While these marketing events can make the case for the station, what you're really doing here is making a case for major giving and creating a sense of excitement.

Topics of Interest
Topics of Interest

Marketing Your Major Gift Program

The major giving program should gain exposure through:

  • On-air spots
  • Member newsletter or magazine
  • Website
  • E-newsletter
  • Invitation mailings to mid-level donors and other prospects
  • Board or committee involvement
  • "Co-sponsoring" events with other groups — within the station or the community
  • Pledge drives
  • Annual reports
  • Visible donor recognition wall

Your identity through each of these media must remain consistent. Your look in printed materials and your key message points should be the same from one initiative to the next. If you have specific projects that major donor gifts support (like funding station productions), that message should also be clear to donors. Only through the ongoing consistency of your message and overall look will you begin to create awareness among your members. Here are some examples of effective Copy for On-Air Spots (PDF, 24KB).

One of the most important components is also one of the most intangible: word of mouth. Public television stations like KLRU, and non-public-broadcasting organizations such as the Portland Art Museum, know how to throw a great party. The donor receptions that these and other organizations hold generate their own buzz and leave others craving an invitation. Much of your marketing consists of cultivation, and much of your cultivation is marketing. In planning any activity, try to consider how many ways it can work for your organization.

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Developing Prospect Support Materials

Because good marketing materials share the story, one of the most important expressions of your case is a support document of some sort, such as a brochure or informational packet contained in an attractive presentation folder. Many smaller stations have developed a well-written presentation to be printed on appropriate letterhead, which has the additional advantage of allowing it to be customized.

The form is not important, but telling your story in a succinct, convincing manner is.

Elements of the support document follow many of the materials in your case:

  • An uplifting statement of the service your station provides to the community — to open and grab attention.
  • Its mission and vision, at minimum— with its values statement either included as is or more implicit in the copy that follows.
  • A description of your station's services — paying special attention to those that are not apparent on your air. In a brochure, pictures can be used to expand on a brief statement of program services, allowing your copy to devote more attention to outreach, education, community alliances, etc. (In picture selection, coordinate with your program manager to avoid unintentionally dating your brochure by featuring personalities or series.)
  • 2-3 people stories or testimonials — from those who personally value your services or who have been affected by them, together with pictures.
  • Basic station history — this area is often overrated and is usually of more interest to station insiders than to donors.
  • Basic governance information, generalized in the case of a brochure.
  • Basic financial information — generalized in the case of a brochure.
  • The role the major donor organization plays in the station's financial future.
  • Benefits to donors.
  • A closing statement — how their gifts will benefit their goals for the community.

If a station is designing a brochure — as opposed to materials in a presentation kit — it is best to provide general information when dealing with financial and governance information, providing such specifics as the names of board members and budgetary information, in a supplemental form that can be updated when needed.

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WGBH Newsletter (PDF, 532KB)
KCET Newsletter (PDF, 495KB)
OPB Program Guide Ad 1 (PDF, 151KB)
OPB Program Guide Ad 2 (PDF, 178KB)
OPB Program Guide Ad 3 (PDF, 952KB)