KLRU has been making a concerted effort to experiment around on-air pledge drives for several years, in large part due to viewer feedback. This June, KLRU decided to take a calculated risk by taking the pledge drive off air and putting it online.

Instead of a typical 10 day on-air pledge drive that interrupts the regular schedule and breaks into programming with pledge messaging, KLRU launched a 5 day online giving campaign with built-in crowdfunding techniques that included: Peer to Peer Fundraising, social media & email campaigns and the use of urgency and incentives.

The online campaign was built, branded and promoted around the hashtag #yourklru and encouraged viewers/donors to: 1) Watch KLRU as you normally would (we aired on-air spots in between shows to encourage viewers to give online) 2) Give June 1-5 at klru.org 3) Engage by sharing what you love about KLRU on social media by using the #yourklru and 4) Inspire by becoming a personal fundraiser and encouraging friends, family neighbors and co-workers to give as well. There was also strong messaging around transforming the way we fundraise, but not being able to do it without the community’s participation in this campaign.

For the Peer to Peer aspect of the campaign, KLRU engaged members of the following groups: KLRU Volunteers, Young Professional donor group, Development Committee members, Board members and Community Advisory Board members, as well as opening it up to anyone in the community to create a personal fundraising page, set a goal and begin fundraising on KLRU’s behalf. A personal webpage and toolkit provided by KLRU made messaging easy for these personal fundraisers.

KLRU built out a full social media and email messaging campaign that engaged viewers, donors and prospects around the #yourklru. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Periscope were used to share pictures, videos and testimonial quotes throughout the campaign. KLRU actively began use of the hashtag in the month prior to build buzz and excitement around the online campaign leading up to the launch on June 1st.

Urgency and incentives played a large role throughout the 5 day online drive. Daily/hourly goals were messaged via daily emails, blog posts and social media posts. Giveaways (i.e. AppleTV, Austin City Limits passes, KLRU t-shirts) were given away to anyone who donated during specific timeframes or engaged in our social media campaign. Challenge matches were incorporated into 3 days of the campaign to double donor dollars instantly.

KLRU had a $50,000 goal for this 5 day online campaign, as previous on-air drives during the month of June in years past typically brought in anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000. The online drive met that goal on the 3rd day of the drive. By the 4th day, a stretch goal of $75,000 was set and achieved by the morning of the last day. One final stretch goal of $80,000 was messaged on the last day and by the end of the drive at midnight, KLRU had raised over $90,000!

The campaign exceeded our expectations and it was amazing to see the community embrace this new way of giving to KLRU. Overall, we raised $94,000+ and exceeded our original goal by 89%. Here are some things we learned by doing this campaign and about this campaign through a follow-up survey to donors:

1. The online drive resonated with our core donor base (60+). Were we able to tap into a younger audience? Yes, but not in mass numbers because by far those who supported were of the Boomer Generation or older.

  • Age data for 52% of donors in our donor database – average age 65.6. This trends above a regular pledge drive by about 1 year.
  • 27% response rate to donor survey and 77% self-identified their age as 55+, while 13% self-identified as age 44 or younger.

2. Peer to Peer fundraising makes a difference.

  • Personal fundraisers brought in 14% of the drive revenue.
  • Facebook is a viable and successful avenue for personal fundraisers to make asks and extend the reach of the campaign – personal fundraisers raised 24% of their total revenue via Facebook posts.

3. Social media was an important complement to the campaign, but email and on-air spots were the key drivers for most donors.

  • Social media accounted for 27% of the June drive website traffic. Direct hits from email accounted for 47% and around 20% were referrals from klru.org (our on-air spots pointed to klru.org).
  • Survey respondents indicated email as the number one way they heard about #yourklru, followed by on-air spots on KLRU.

4. Majority of those who gave wanted to support a new direction of fundraising at KLRU.

  • Survey respondents indicated that supporting a new direction of fundraising was the number one reason they gave their gift to this campaign.
  • Of the donors to this campaign, 32% were donors making an additional gift, 28% were new donors, 25% renewed their support and 15% were lapsed donors.
  • Compared to the average on-air drive: 16% additional gifts, 36% new donors, 25% renewals and 23% lapsed.

5. Net revenue for an online campaign is greater than an on-air pledge drive.

  • Our net revenue increased by 13% over last June’s 10 day on-air drive, even though the gross revenue was down 29% from last June.
  • The net revenue for this online drive is a greater percentage of the total revenue than any on-air drive we’ve done in recent years.

Susannah Winslow | Membership Director | KLRU-TV, Austin