Television Is Not Old Technology

December 12, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

So you want to start a Direct Response Television (DRTV) campaign? The price of entry into DRTV has dropped considerably in recent years, where previously, because of the steep learning curve, testing was cost-prohibitive, according to Ron Guberman, president, Media Reactions in Reston, Va.

Guberman and Geoff Peters, president, of Bowie, Md.-based CDR Fundraising Group presented a session on DRTV during a recent fundraising and direct marketing conference. DRTV works well because it can be compelling, persuasive, impressive and engaging in a high-fidelity communication, Guberman said. DRTV creative lets you get more people to care about you.

DRTV, according to Guberman, can allow an organization to:

  • Let you tell your story better
  • Give your mission greater visibility
  • Gain dominance in your vertical
  • Increase your share of donor dollars in a competitive fundraising environment
  • Generate a long-term revenue stream

Guberman pointed to a 120-second spot by Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) that included seven asks yet the segement “didn’t feel like begging or asking too much.” In addition, the bottom banner strip of the screen, called a “lower third superbox,” appeared on the screen for all but 30 seconds of the add.

“If you rely on a one-time only donor, you’ll be heartbroken,” Guberman said. A monthly ask of $19 can cover the costs in four to five months while some donors simply choose to make a one-time gift of $228 (equal to 12 monthly $19 gifts). About 55 to 60 percent of donors come in within 10 to 15 minutes of a spot being broadcast.

Among the cost considerations of a DRTV campaign outlined by Guberman:

  • Celebrity search, $7,500 + $3,000
  • Web/startup consulting, $10,000 to $30,000
  • Set up call center, $10,000 startup
  • Media, airtime budget, $200,000 per month
  • Creative development, three ideas, $9,000
  • NY copy and talent screen test, $11,500

Shoot three new DRTV spots, $180,000 budget