Getting donors tuned in to DRTV

Just like marriage doesn’t happen on the first date, it takes time for a donor to get engaged within a nonprofit’s story, even if it’s on their favorite channel.

Ron Guberman, president of Reston, Va.-based Media Reactions and Geoff Peters, president of CDR Fundraising Group in Bowie, Md., presented a session on Direct Response Television (DRTV) during a recent fundraising and direct marketing conference.

There’s no question that DRTV is not for everyone, said Guberman, however television has become somewhat like direct mail lists. Today’s television marketplace is wildly different than when there were just three major networks. With cable offering more than 200 channels, whatever cause you’re in, there’s a television network for that, Guberman said.

The secret is not repetition, it’s finding the half of the list that’s working and doubling down on that. “We’ll test on a small channel, then later do more. It’s like a test of 5,000 on direct mail, you step up to 100,000 if results are there,” he said.

DRTV is really just like mail, and like direct mail, Guberman said it boils down to three things: How much did you raise? How much did you spend? What is your net revenue?

According to Guberman, what you need to succeed in a DRTV campaign are:

  • Compelling stories about people and your mission;
  • Stories of donor’s positive feelings from helping;
  • An immediate situation or need that must be filled;
  • A strong, tangible ongoing offer or ask;
  • A decent, desirable or relevant premium;
  • A recognizable celebrity helps; and,
  • A monthly donor-focused DRTV website with video.