The handy guide to DRTV metrics – part 1

Howard Lake | 2 June 2015 | Blogs

As seen on TV - image: Shutterstock.com
Image: Shutterstock.com

DRTV is so much more than magical creative and careful media selection. An understanding of how all the different response levers and tools can help ensure real success. Overlay that with understanding how TV donors perform over time means decisions on investment will be made with greater confidence.
This is a little guide with some tips and rules of thumb developed over several years of testing over many DRTV campaigns. It cannot cover all eventualities but will give some clear guidance on general principles. The market place is dynamic and like the financial small print says, response rates can go up and down.
The coming weeks will provide you with a small guide filled with great tips to guide you towards getting the best out of your DRTV metrics. The guide will appear in three parts;
1) How to ask and how much?
2) Turning a prospect into a regular donor
3) Metric specifics for DRTV, relating it back to that variable factor – cost!!

PART ONE: Recruiting and the push

Obtaining regular givers has appeared to become quite a hard sell in one step. This section gives handy tips on how to explore ways to work around this problem.

The Ask

The vast majority of charity DRTV campaigns have the objective of recruiting regular givers, ideally via paperless direct debit, but can also include text regular giving. Having said that few actually start by asking directly for a regular gift. Before 2008, it was relatively straightforward to do so; since then it has become increasingly harder as more people seem to be reluctant to commit to a monthly gift straight away.
So the options are:
Handraiser – This does not involve a direct ask for money. This encourages the viewer to contact the organisation for more information. Often used in a value exchange offer. For example, TLC, find out about the 5 signs of breast cancer.
Cash – A straight forward ask for a one off fixed sum either through premium SMS or credit card
Regular giving – asking for a regular donation, can be expressed in a number of different ways, for example, 50p a day, £1 a week, £2 a month etc. The understanding is that it is a regular amount with some form of commitment.
Given the objective is generally regular giving, two of these routes will involve two stages of activity.

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Prompt level

This varies from charity to charity. Prompt testing should always be considered in the initial planning. (Tip. Get the voiceover artist to voice various prompt amounts at the initial sound session.)
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”Average gifts achieved and prompt levels are not always the same thing”[/quote]
Here are some starting points if a test is not immediately possible; use a control prompt from other channels, for example, £19 will help buy a Christmas hamper.
Perhaps an obvious thing to say, but average gifts achieved and prompt levels are not always the same thing. The average gift actually achieved can be much higher than the prompt level. (Donors often give more than the prompt level). Position it too high and response will drop. As response is a key driver to success in DRTV, it is important to avoid putting up any barriers.
Some recruitment channels have specific levels based on the business model of that channel, for example, door to door fundraising tends to have an average gift of around £8 a month. TV being a mass market channel needs a lower ask level, hence £2 or £3 a month is frequently used. Price is a sensitive issue and can have a dramatic effect on response. Tests between £3 and £5 have shown that although the average gift goes up on the £5 prompt, it is far out-weighed by the drop in response and hence the return on investment is lower. Neither, surprisingly, is it compensated by better quality long term donors. And as an aside, the prompt level is frequently lower than the actual average gift achieved.
Some prompts are based on an assumed shopping list, for example, £19 will help buy a Christmas hamper, £3 will buy a toy. This helps make it real and tangible and helps the donor understand how their money will be spent. The example should be simple to explain or else conversion will be difficult.
Watch out for part two next week.
Gail Cookson is Fundraising Director at WPN Chameleon, where a highly talented team of 55 people operates across all areas of digital, direct marketing and DRTV. We work with a wide range of charities and commercial organisations.
Image: as seen on TV by squarelogo on Shutterstock.com