Award-Winning Audio Spots for On-Air Fundraising

Award-Winning Audio Spots for On-Air Fundraising


Strengthen your library of audio spots by listening to these examples of well-written, well-produced, and award-winning audio spots from stations around the country.

Quality audio spots are an integral part of a successful pledge drive. That’s because produced audio can do things that live pitching can’t… or shouldn’t.

Humor, for example, is hard to get right on the fly. Some of the most memorable pledge-drive moments have come from funny audio spots. Storytelling is what spoken-word radio does best; it’s more powerful when it’s well-produced and takes full advantage of the medium. Finally, listener testimonials about the value of your station and its service are much more effective than station staff being self-congratulatory on-air.

Of course, spots can be labor-intensive to create, especially when done well. So it’s best to develop a library of spots with a long shelf life that you can weave into your pitch breaks as needed. Ideal topics include becoming a sustainer, the value of your mission, and the importance of listener support.

Story Spots

Story: Scott Simon (Georgia Public Broadcasting)

60 seconds


Scott Simon: Hi, I’m Scott Simon. I wonder if this has ever happened to you: You’re on a road trip, maybe a move to a new town, and you start looking for a familiar sound. So you scan up and down the dial [radio static and voices].

Eh, that’s not it. [Radio static and voices]

No, no. Not that. [Radio static and voices].

Where is it?

Steve Inskeep: It’s Morning Edition from NPR News, I’m Steve Inskeep. [Music]

Scott Simon: Ah, there it is! Public radio. You hear the difference every time you listen and right now your contribution to GPB will make all the difference. This station runs on financial support from listeners like you who give what they can to help ensure the future of GPB and NPR. So now it’s your turn. Give online at GPB-dot-org. Or call 800-222-4788. And thank you. [Music fades].

Story: It Takes Something Green (KUAT-FM)

30 seconds


Hi, I’m Paula Fan. My piano teacher kept one plant on her piano and another on the counter far away. Guess which one grew greener and more beautiful? The music on this station is undeniably beautiful. But it takes something green to keep it playing and to keep us all growing together. Call 621-1600 or 1-800-223-7192, and thank you.

Story: Dolly Parton (KUT):

2 minutes


Joy Diaz: Hi. One of my favorite songs in the whole world is Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors [music].

I’m Joy Diaz from the Texas Standard [music]. The story of the coat as told by Dolly Parton is that as a child she needed a coat, but her family couldn’t afford one. Through ingenuity and perseverance, her mother crafted a coat with scrap pieces of cloth. Naturally the coat ended up having many colors and patterns [music].

The story’s about how some people chose to make fun of Dolly Parton’s coat. But it’s also a story about how when times are tough, there are people who will find a way to meet the needs of others. And I’ve always believed that public radio people are that kind of people.

Some can afford a new coat and they donate accordingly and God bless them for it. Others, the vast majority of us, we contribute with one small piece of cloth. And that piece is embedded with our unique story – our color, if you will – our unique reason for why we listen to public radio. And when those pieces are sewn together, public radio stations make the most beautiful coverings.

Of course I’m speaking metaphorically. But literally, our stations use these gifts to meet needs. Your gift to your local station will meet a need. And your story will warm our hearts [music fades].

This is how you can do your part.

Testimonial Spots

Testimonial: Become a Sustainer (Boise State Public Radio)

30 seconds 


Testimonial #1 (Female): I believe it’s a very important part of Idaho. Such an asset to our state!
Testimonial #2 (Male): Now, more than ever, we need a reliable source of news that will give multiple perspectives.
Testimonial #3 (Female): There’s stories about life and people and happenings around the world, and I really love it!
Announcer (Male): Listener support powers public radio. The best way to support is as a sustainer. You can give right now at

Testimonial (Boise State Public Radio)

15 seconds 


Donor (Male): Hi, my name is Mark Morin, and I support Boise State Public radio because it hotwires my soul and keeps me on the trail to the land of well-being.

Testimonial: Become a Sustainer (Iowa Public Radio)

30 seconds 


Donor #1 (Female): I’m Jean Mack from Ankeny, Iowa, and I listen to public radio for a gazillion reasons!
Donor #2 (Male): My name is Brian Brown. I give to Iowa Public Radio because I can’t stand silence.
Donor #3 (Female): My name is Heidi Soliday and I give to Iowa Public Radio because… why not? It would be terrific if you would give too!
Donor #4 (Male): I’m a sustaining member of Iowa Public Radio.
Donor #5 (Female): I’m a sustaining member of Iowa Public Radio, and won’t you be one too?

Testimonial (KBAQ Classical)

40 seconds 


[Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 “Air” plays in the background] Listener #1 (Female): So peaceful and calming.
Listener #2 (Male): It really helps kind of bring back down to zero and just kind of level out and just relax.
Listener #3 (Female): It really soothes me. I just cannot imagine driving to work, and home from work, every day and not having something beautiful to listen to and think about. It would be even more desert than usual if we didn’t have K-BACH!
[Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 “Air” plays in the background]

Pledge-Drive Artist Countdown Forward-Promo (The Current – AAA)

50 seconds 


[Start Me Up by Rolling Stones plays in background] Announcer (Male): The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Blondie and Billie Holiday. White Stripes and Black Keys. Dylan and Bowie. Prince and Adele. Artists that have shaped music history and influenced our lives. Now The Current is setting out to determine the best of the best, and we want to know your favorites. All 893 of them.
[Golden Years by David Bowie plays in the background] Announcer: The Current’s 893 Essential Artists is a countdown of the best artists of all time, as chosen by you.
[Raspberry Beret by Prince plays in the background] Announcer: Go to to vote for your 10 favorite artists and you’ll have a chance to win a shopping spree at the Electric Fetus. We’ll compile the votes and count down all 893 of the best artists during the member drive in May. It’s The Current’s 893 Essential Artists. Supported by St. Paul Saints and from The Current.

Morning Edition Host: Why I Donate (WBOI)

45 seconds


I’m Lisa Ryan, and I’m the Morning Edition host and reporter here at WBOI, and I’m also a WBOI member. I donated during the fall pledge drive shortly after I started working here because I felt like it was an important thing to do: to show my support for the station, not just as an employee, but I’m also a listener. When I’m not on the air, I’m catching up with the latest news with Here and Now, and the BBC World Service, and my favorite ways to spend a Saturday and Sunday morning is listening to Weekend Edition and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! In fact, I spend more time listening than I do hosting, so I want to be part of the community that keeps this station on the air, and that’s why I donate.

Testimonial: Mother’s-Day Premium Partnership (WLRN)

60 seconds


Peter: Hi, it’s Peter J. We’re all united by a common bond: We all have a mother.
Woman: Hi, my name is Katie. I have the misfortune of losing my mom, piece by piece, to Alzheimer’s, instead of all at once. We passed a beautiful day talking together, being together, smiling together, but of course, she didn’t know who I was. The thing that really hit me, the thing that really made me happy, and made me swallow my tears, was, she said, “You know, I really, really wish that I had a daughter just like you.” Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
Peter: WLRN has partnered with Field of Flowers to celebrate Mother’s Day. When you donate, we’ll send your mother a bouquet of flowers. Call 866-247-9576. That’s 866-247-WLRN. Or donate now at And thank you.

Humor Spots

Humor: Star Trek (KSTK)

1 minute 30 seconds


Announcer [male voice]: [Star Trek theme song] Alaska, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship KSTK. Our 41-year mission: To explore strange new words. To transmit to you the data you need as you deal with your personal Klingons. To boldly broadcast just like we did before.

For this journey, we do need your help. This space station does not run on dilithium crystals alone. The cost of phasers and photon torpedoes keeps going up in quantum leaps.

You can assist in several ways. You may energize your terrestrial vehicle and dock into the station to transport monetary units to us personally. Or you can interface with us by communicator at coordinates 874-2345. Or, if you wish, you may link via the Internet and beam up your contribution at KSTK-dot-org. One small click for man. One giant leap for KSTK.

Whichever course you plot, you can make it so in just a few parsecs of time. Thank you. May you live long and prosper.

Humor: Fun(d) Account (WABE)

1 minute 15 seconds


Peter Sagal: Hey, It’s Peter Sagal from Wait Wait Don’t Tell me, here in the WABE fundraiser. Please, take a moment to consider the observations from Atlanta’s very own Dad’s Garage.

Tim: Hi, Whitney, Freddie, thanks for coming in today. It looks like you guys want to open a fund account?

Freddie: Yes.

Whitney: Uh-huh, a fun account. Because we’re gonna be spending this on vacation, right babe?

Freddie: Yeah, this is all for fun.

Whitney: Yeah, let’s kick off the fun!

Freddie: So can we get this fun account started?

Tim: Yeah, just sign these –

Freddie: I’m sorry, Tim, what is this ‘d’?

Tim: Huh?

Freddie: Uh, there’s a ‘d’ after my ‘fun.’

Tim: Yeah, this is a fund account.

Freddie: What?!

Tim: Yeah, all the money you put in this account’s gonna go straight to WABE.

Whitney: Oh my gosh.

Freddie: You know what, honey?

Whitney: Yeah, babe?

Freddie: This is all going to WABE?

Whitney: Uh-huh.

Freddie: I’ll put into a fund account.

Whitney: [Sigh] You are so fun.

Freddie: You’re so fun.

Whitney: I love you.

Freddie: I love you too.

Whitney: [laughter] Stop. Where are we going to go first with our fun(d) account money?

Tim: Okay, you two get out of my office.

Peter Sagal: The observations of Dad’s Garage. Look, it only takes a moment to donate so please give. Here’s how [music fades].

Humor: Forward-Promo: Silent Drive (Iowa Public Radio)

30 seconds 

Announcer (Male): Our challenge? Keep it quiet!
Homer Simpson (voice clip): Keep it down in there, everybody!
Announcer (Male): So for our spring fund drive, we’re trying something new!
Sean Connery (voice clip): The order is: engage the silent drive.
[dramatic sound clip is played, similar to a thunderbolt] Announcer (Male): Can we really raise $325,000 without interrupting your favorite shows? That depends on you. Now is the time to give! Call 1-800-235-2665 or give online at Thanks!

Humor: Peter Sagal and John Oliver: Support Fact-Based Journalism (NPR)

50 seconds 


Peter Sagal: Hey, it’s Peter Sagal. We all care about different things. For example, I mostly care about the starting rotation of the Boston Red Sox and if they ever might ask me to throw a few innings. But John Oliver doesn’t really care about baseball, I guess, because he’s British.
John Oliver: I care about facts the way I care about oxygen and imbibing enough water a day to live. Everybody should care about facts. That is something all of us should agree on.
Peter Sagal: Wait! Here comes one of those facts now: Without your support, none of this happens. Facts are sensitive and only like to hang out with people who have soothing vocal tones and interesting names, which is why there are so many of them around here. This station goes, and the facts scatter in all directions, hanging out in street corners and harassing people. You don’t want that. So, donate today. Keep this station a warm and comfortable home for the facts. If not for me, then for John Oliver. Me, I’m gonna be out practicing my knuckleball. Thanks!

Forward-Promo: Shortened Drive (WQXR)

45 seconds 


Announcer: Have you heard what WQXR is doing?
Bugs Bunny Impersonator: Eh… [smacks lips]… What’s up, Doc?
Announcer: We’re cutting the fund drive to just four and a half days instead of the usual nine. That’s all the money in half the time!
Elmer Fudd Impersonator: [singing to the tune of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries] Half the fund drive, half the fund drive, half the fund drive, half of a drive!
Announcer: The pledge drive may be shorter, but we still need to hit our goal of $715,000.
Sylvester the Cat Impersonator: Sufferin’ succotash! Is he serious?!
Announcer: Yes, it may sound Looney, but with your support, we can reach our goal by Friday and say…
Porky Pig Impersonator: Th-Th-Th- That’s All Folks!
Announcer: Call 888-813-1059 or get online at!

How to Make Great On-Air Fundraising Spots

Learn how to create the most memorable and effective on-air spots and what you should be producing instead of live-pitching.

I’d like to share my audio spot example with Greater Public >>


How to Make Great On-Air Fundraising Spots

Learn how to create the most memorable and effective on-air spots and what you should be producing instead of live-pitching.


How to Use Optimum Effective Scheduling

Optimum effective scheduling (OES) can give an idea of how many times to run a particular spot or message within a week based on your particular audience instead of a national average. What works in Boston may not work in Omaha, but the formula is the same. Once an OES schedule or run is determined, weekly announcements can be strategically placed to reach half your listeners at least three times throughout the week.

Here’s how to calculate OES:

  1. Calculate your turnover radio (cume divided by AQH), Mon-Sun, 6:00 a.m. – midnight.
  2. Multiply this number by 3.29 (to determine number of spots per week).
  3. Run the spots with even distribution across all days and dayparts.

For example:
WDDL has a cume of 135,700 and an AQH of 8,880. OES calculates that 49 spots should be run within a week to optimally reach the station’s audience. Across the week, about seven spots per day are scheduled. This is a fairly even distribution in each daypart, and in each day of the week (including weekends).


When to Schedule Spots


  • One week in advance of the drive to thank sustainers and remind them that they have already given.
  • One to three weeks to raise money in advance of the drive if you are cutting it in half.
  • Three to four weeks to raise money if you’re trying to eliminate the drive altogether.


  • Three to five days to thank donors depending on the length of your drive.

Fiscal year-end

  • Start encouraging giving three to six weeks before fiscal year-end.

Calendar year-end

  • Start encouraging giving eight weeks before December 31 because November and December are the two biggest giving months of the year.