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Funding Your Station
Funding is key to starting and running a radio station, even if you have an all volunteer staff. Many people think that the time to start fundraising is after you receive your license. You will certainly need to fundraise once you have a construction permit in hand, but there are some upfront costs as well. Community Radio takes community support and a good way to build momentum and judge the viability of that station is by fundraising NOW.
As you work to form your non-profit or identify a fiscal sponsor, decide on a governance structure, and develop a start-up budget you can build momentum for your station and raise much needed start-up funds by asking everyone you know for help.
Fact or Fiction
"The best way to fund my start up station is to write grants to foundations and corporations." Fiction.
It may surprise you to know that most charitable giving is done by individuals making $40K per year or less. This is true for huge international groups as well as neighborhood non-profits. Grants are great, but most foundations want to fund a sure thing so they know their resources are well utilized. The more organized you are, and the more community support you can demonstrate, the more likely you are to attract other funding.
Building a Base of Initial Support
The tricks are the same regardless of the size of your budget – what changes is the scale. A few things to know before you start.
- Give yourself. Even if it is $5. You cannot expect others to do what you have not.
- Believe that your cause is worthwhile. If you are excited about your work others will be as well.
- Ask everyone. Some people will say yes and some will say no. They will not be offended that you asked.