The Power of Partnerships: Radio as a Voice for Change

Which relationship benefits your cause the most? Donors, celebrity ambassadors, corporate sponsors?

When you fundraise you try to push your cause as far into the limelight as possible - a task only achieved via the media. So if you were to forgo your typical methods and go directly to a media outlet, the results could be huge!

Over the next few weeks LIKECHARITY are going to examine the benefits of Media Partners in the charity sector - starting with radio.

The Down Syndrome Centre have been partnered with Dublin station Classic Hits 4FM since 2013. This year they launched the Mission 21 campaign, aiming to raise €21,000. Within just two and a half days the 4FM listeners had surpassed this target, and went on to raise over €30,000 in just five days.


You can do the same by following these 5 simple rules:

1. Choose the Right Partner

PJ and Damien from Classic Hits 4FM with Liam who attends SKIP classes in DSC

PJ and Damien from Classic Hits 4FM with Liam who attends SKIP classes in DSC

Down Syndrome Centre quite simply approached Classic Hits and asked if they would like to be a Charity Partner, and Classic Hits were happy to oblige.

Classic Hits got their entire station behind the campaign and set their listeners the task of raising €21,000 to fund refurbishments of DSC’s services centre in Sandybrook.

Aileen Moon, Fundraising and Events Coordinator at The Down Syndrome Centre, said Classic Hits presenters and staff put in the effort to engage with and understand their cause; ‘they took the time to come and visit the centre and carry out live interviews with service users, family members and staff which were played throughout the week’.

With a media partner your ask gains an edge not always possible with advertisements. DSC’s partnership allowed them the time to explain why their services are so important to the local community and interviews with families using the centre gave real context to their cause. Combining these tactics with a direct ask from the presenters resulted in donation spikes.

If you have a dedicated media partner this will increase your exposure significantly as you are featured in the body of the show, rather than the advertisements. With radio, listeners tend to tune in daily, so they are comfortable donating when asked by a familiar voice.

‘There’s an immediacy and personal touch that comes with radio’, Ms Moon added. ‘The human voice is a powerful tool and was of huge benefit to this campaign. Some of the presenters took the approach of asking people to donate in real-time, saying things like “Get out your phone right this minute. And text. Do it now.” And that’s when we saw our donations peak hugely!’


2. Appeal to the Masses

Radio gave DSC the advantage of appealing to a huge audience. 2014 reports showed that 83% of the Irish population listen to the radio on a daily basis.

Radios are easy to use, even for the less tech-savvy of us, so your donation method should match that.

‘Text donation is the easiest option for people nowadays. People spend so much time texting anyway, so we didn’t have to ask them to do anything new! We also liked the transparent nature of LIKECHARITY’s text campaign management. But the main reason is that there is little to no effort involved in sending a text. It also made it very easy for us to monitor our total donation amount which was sent to the 4FM presenters every hour to be announced’.


3. Set a Tangible Goal

Money raised will benefit the parent and baby classes provided by Down Syndrome Centre

Money raised will benefit the parent and baby classes provided by Down Syndrome Centre

The station regularly reiterated that they had a firm target: to raise €21,000. With regular updates on how much they had raised, they spurred listeners to be part of the solution.

And be sure to make your goal tangible! If you have a specific project that you need a specific amount of funding for - let your supporters know!

Donors are more comfortable giving when they have a concrete idea of what their money will achieve -  by explaining how funds will be spent within your ask, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

‘Our goal was to renovate a large space in the back of our centre into a multi-functional room for our service-users. It’s a big job, but one that will be completely worth it! This new space will accommodate our growing parent and baby class and will allow us to introduce even more programmes. These will be in addition to our current services which include Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, an early intervention programme called SKIP and many more.’

Classic Hits let listeners know exactly where their donation would be spent and how this would directly benefit service users and their families.


4. Make your Cause Front and Centre

Every aspect of your fundraising campaign should be about your cause. When everything ties together nicely the listener is continuously reminded of why they should donate. Any hint of ambiguity and you’ll be scaring donors away rapidly.

‘The main aim of the Mission 21 campaign was to raise €21,000 - 21 is an important number to us as Trisomy 21 is the most common cause of Down Syndrome. We also wanted to create awareness of our charity as we just opened the doors to our centre last October’.

Within this one fundraising ask DSC:

  1. Explained the background of their cause
  2. Displayed exactly how they’ve helped service users already
  3. Highlighted the benefits of future projects to service users


5. Make it Personal

While facts and figures can be a good way to display the potential reach of your cause, nothing beats a personal touch.

When asked why their campaign did so well, Aileen Moon explained, ‘the presenters interviewed a lot of the parents of the children who use our centre and, when played, these got a huge reaction’.

Having someone who has been by affected by your charity’s work tell their story, appeals to listeners on a personal, and emotional, level. Always remember that during campaigns your fundraising ask has to compete with the jumble of advertisements and entertainment pieces on every medium you use, so using an engaging, emotional story will hold the donor’s attention.

So when your charity goes looking for a Media Partner make sure:

  • You choose a committed partner
  • They can help you reach a good audience
  • You both know exactly what you want to achieve
  • Your cause is explained with the utmost transparency
  • The people you benefit are always front and centre

Congratulations to everyone at The Down Syndrome Centre and Classic Hits 4FM on their huge success with Mission 21!

Keep up with The Down Syndrome Centre’s refurbishment project and learn more about their services at