Effectively Reaching “Giving Generations” via TV – Part 1

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Make no mistake, the non-profit space is an ‘industry’. And while the bottom-line goal is to help others, non-profit is similar to other industries when it comes to the challenges around brand awareness, differentiation and making money. In this case – attracting and keeping donors.

The proliferation of media has introduced new channels, new devices, and new ways for people to learn, communicate and give. For non-profits, the face of the traditional donor has changed drastically, now encompassing a diverse group that spans generations. To complicate things even more, this massive group consumes media differently and donates through a variety of channels.

Look at generations, for example. According to Marts & Lundy’s “The Philanthropy Outlook 2016 & 2017”, Millennials prefer to donate through social media, while Boomers and Gen X-ers like more traditional outlets (phone, website, email, etc.) and rapidly maturing Gen Z-ers trend toward mobile apps.

Despite this challenge, in addition to ever-present issues around economic and political environments, there are positive signs for the industry. Total giving in the U.S. is expected to increase by 4.3% in 2017, monthly donations (the Holy Grail for many non-profits) are increasing each year and donor retention is at 45.9%, higher than it’s been since 2008.

So, how can a non-profit effectively reach donors and take advantage of this growth? A large part of the answer is leveraging the one constant among very large, very different donor audiences: TV.

TV: Reach -> Digital Response

Yes, TV. Not the ground-breaking answer you thought? TV advertising for non-profits is nothing new, it provides unrivaled reach at scale. But the TV of a few years ago is not the same as today – what the medium can do, especially when it comes to driving online response, has made it an even more powerful channel.

The average American still watches more than four hours of TV a day. Even Millennials consume 15+ hours a week; and Boomers are actually watching more TV vs. previous years – around 6:57 hours per day. Of these millions of viewers, nearly 90% watch with second-screen devices nearby. This is significant for non-profits because 62% of donors worldwide prefer to give online.

TV advertising is the best way to reach multi-generational, diverse demographics with the same medium – using it as a tool to get donors to engage quickly, and via the online channels they prefer.

  • TV -> Web Traffic: Both Gen X-ers and Boomers like to donate online, with the older generation the most likely to give that way. TV ads are the primary generators of website traffic. The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) found that 82% of advertisers showed a direct correlation between TV spots and website traffic. And an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) survey reported that 37% of people watching TV used a tablet to go directly to the sites of products/services shown in commercials.
  • TV -> Social: According to the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report, 72% of Millennials prefer to donate online and “are most often inspired to give by social media.” TV promotes social – anyone who’s sat through the Super Bowl or the Oscars can tell you that. During the Fall of 2016 in the U.S., there were 14.2 million social media interactions about TV every day on Facebook and Twitter. Another VAB study found that ad-supported TV accounted for almost eight out of the top 10 trending Twitter topics during primetime. For non-profits looking to promote social donations and engagement, TV can make it happen.
  • TV -> Text: Almost 81% of Americans text regularly, and a whopping 98% open SMS messages. Some non-profits have found that TV ads with strong text call-to-actions get results. Considering that the majority of people watching TV have smartphones in their hands, this makes sense. It’s also more economical for resource-strained non-profits, because driving potential donors directly to a site or call center saves on paid search terms.
  • TV -> App Activity: While only 6% of donors gave through mobile apps in 2015, it’s predicted that Gen Z will prefer interacting with and giving through them. As these “digital natives” age (the first wave has already reached its early 20s), they will eventually represent 24% of the workforce and 40% of consumer spending. While apps are still an emerging channel for some non-profits, they shouldn’t be ignored – especially as their influence grows. And yes, TV drives app activity too. Across generations, 26% of U.S. smartphone users learned about mobile apps via TV ads; and one study found that TV ads resulted in app-install uplifts between 56-74%.
  • TV -> Search: Multiple studies have shown that TV drives branded search activity by as much as 80%. A Google survey also found that two-thirds of smartphone owners turn to their phones to learn more about what they saw on TV ads.

TV’s “kicker effect” directly drives response via multiple online channels. For non-profits, tasked with reaching a large, very different group of people, TV advertising is a way to reach donors en masse, encouraging them to engage and give through the channels in which they are the most comfortable interacting.

In the second article of this series, with the help of Richard Slater, Business Director at M.i. Media, we’ll discuss real-world best practices for non-profits looking to better leverage and optimize TV advertising for fundraising.

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