Recently our radio station (a provincial radio station, 1 hour from our states capital city) worked with a local Charity Co-ordination Group to collect clothing, food and goods for Homeless people in our region.
The results were amazing, in fact better than any other year (and we have run this for about 6 years now – even during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic here).
Local community services and charities work hand in hand and we have worked very closely with ours by giving them a lot of air-time support.
This is a brief breakdown of just the station activity:
1. 4 months out – meeting with organisations and station promo team and management – what were we doing this year and what can we do better?
2. Write promos, organise for voice talent to read the scripts.
3. Full production of promos 3 weeks out, and start running the promos on-air 2 weeks before with a countdown.
4. Week of promos run saying drop off points (this year we did local pick-ups) as well as station drop off. It included at least 2 mentions per shift by the on-air jocks, 3 promos run per shift, all station crosses to other businesses and at pickup points included more details about what to donate and the day itself. We really flooded the air waves with it.
5. We ran this for 2 weeks to raise as much awareness as we could – as a result we had 19 vans full of donations from the public, local businesses, schools and other community groups – and when I say full – they were each jam packed to the roof! We also took names from people who donated to say thankyou on-air (we also kept the business names to contact later to say thanks and approach for advertising) compared to previous years where we had 15 vans full last year, 12 the year before, 10 the year before that – so we have seen a steady growth in donations since we first started.
6. In the final week we produced ‘thankyou’ promos to run as soon as the final day of the event happened.
7. Final day – was a community event, giving away the donations to the homeless and other people in need. the station broadcasted live from this event, for 6 hours! Plus ran the thankyou’s on-air.
AND… we did a lot of social media posts too throughout the whole campaign.
So all up – the total value both on-air and on-line was roughly $50,000+ if not a lot more.
We had 19 vans full of donations – at 20 cubic feet per van – that’s 380 cubic feet (or 10.7 cubic meters) of donations, which included: brand new pop-up tents, blankets, new sleeping bags, camp beds, new clothing for men, women and children, new shoes, wind-up torches, wind-up radios, radio and battery sets, toiletries, first aid kits, non-perishable food items of every shape and form, including vouchers for meals at restaurants. Donated vouchers and goods from local businesses and more – our community really got behind this years event.
On the day of the event there were around 15 marquees set up for community services and government departments that are available for the homeless to access, plus the HUGE donation tent.
We had just under 300 homeless people (that includes people sleeping it rough, couch surfing, living in cars and squatting in buildings) come through, plus local groups and volunteers to help with anything they could.
The day was a huge success.
What helped us was that during the call to action radio campaign – the weather here was some of the worst storms in 20 years and we also had a new pandemic outbreak – the promo’s did play off this a bit saying how desperate times were – they were emotive and emotional and spoke to the hardships of people living on the street. Plus we had local celebrities and politicians lend their voices to the promos.
It should be noted that we had little or no support from local newspapers – and our local council did very little to promote the event – the press release we had sent them took a month to show up on their website (the day of the event) and it was calling for donations – so it was no help at all.
What we need to do better:
More social media posts. Get the local papers and council on board earlier and drive more awareness. Focus more on new goods required, rather than second hand clothing and second hand camping goods. Seek more business donations of goods and services, and focus instead next year on the stories of the people who need the donations – as the stories on the day from those who needed them, were truly heart breaking.
Tell us – do you work with local charities and what are your experiences?