Some Good News
9th April by Peter Muffett
Peter Muffett is CEO of the DTV Group which uses films on TV and online to inspire people to take action for wonderful causes throughout the world. An old friend and neighbour at AAW’s offices at the mighty Holborn Studios, in London UK, Peter shares some good news from around the globe for fundraising leaders, with some areas of direct marketing booming, buoyed by reduced media costs and viewers’ responsiveness.
With the world turned upside down, the impacts on all aspects of life seem profound; that includes fundraising for immensely important causes.
In these demanding times, I’ve been bowled over by the creativity, resilience and solidarity of fundraising leaders the world over.
As you can imagine, our work to help great causes raise money through DRTV and digital campaigns has been impacted by the coronavirus too but, in times of uncertainty where it’s easy to do nothing, bunker down and stop giving, we are seeing a few positive signs.
We have seen an increase in response rates to some of our campaigns in countries where lockdown measures are in place; notably in Korea, driven we believe by two factors: first that people are home more and viewing daytime TV and digital channels more, and secondly that isolation can leave people feeling disempowered and disconnected; effective fundraising empowers people by offering them the opportunity to do something meaningful. DRTV and digital appeals are giving people the opportunity to do so.
In Korea and Hong Kong, two countries that are further along the curve than most - donor volumes have increased by an average of 25%. And that’s in countries where performance numbers are already leading the world.
Increased viewing numbers can be seen in many countries. In the UK, Barb (the Broadcasters Audience Research Board) is reporting 17% increase in viewing numbers.
Average daily viewing hours are on the increase too. In amongst the need to keep updated on the latest news, there is also a growing need for escapism through entertainment TV – not just latest binge video on demand services, but older classic shows that make us feel safe and help us to remember a better time. Comfort watching is the new binge.
Australia is showing similar trends too with Network 10’s figures up by 30% compared to last year, ABC news channels up 44% (week on week) and News Corp Australia audience figures up by 48% week on week, with subscription growth. Alongside daytime audience numbers increasing by 4 or 5 fold in the country, advertisers in Australia and other regions are pulling out of TV and online.
Slight dips in response rates to recent fundraising campaigns are being more than offset by cheaper media pricing as commercial advertisers such as travel, leisure and retail reduce their spending. That means not-for-profit budgets go further and help reduce costs per donor and improve ROI and year on year results, at volume.
In Italy we have seen excellent returns on cost per donors over the first three weeks of March €77, €73, €61 (international development) and in Germany €52, €52 and €54 for one (international development) client and €157, €152 and €144 for another (animal welfare). These returns are all either holding strong or improving, the deeper into lockdown we go.
India and Canada are more than holding up too. India in particular has adopted cash as the ask.
The reality is that cash is becoming a vital tool across many countries - an ask that is probably more relevant in uncertain times. Whether these donors will continue to be serial cash givers or eventual regular givers…. well we are not sure yet.
So, in many countries whilst we are in the early stages of working from home and people are coming to terms with new routines, we expect to see similar patterns - increases in response rates or sometimes slight dips, but more than offset by cheaper media and larger audiences. So far, most organisations' response rates are holding up or improving. One organisation has seen a small dip, but cheaper media pricing is more than compensating.
We know the situation will continue to change and the DTV Group will continue to report back on activities. But based on what we know so far, we anticipate an increasing number of causes will consider DRTV/digital as other forms of fundraising shut down; fundraising isn’t over, because some channels have collapsed under the strain.
We are innately built to show compassion, especially when we are gifted the time and opportunity to appreciate those we love and the things we love. The world hasn’t stopped turning. Humanity has been given an opportunity to shine. There is light at the end of the tunnel for fundraisers.