“Nothing can make a bigger difference than the success of a DRTV offer – assuming your call center and TV/digital media buy are solid,” notes Robbin Gehrke, Executive Creative Director of the Russ Reid Company, in this 2nd installment in her series on DRTV essentials.

Here’s her first post.



Nothing can make a bigger difference in the success of your DRTV than how you shape the offer. (Given that your call center and TV/digital media buy are solid, of course.)

What makes a great DRTV offer? One that continues to bring in high-value monthly donors and sizable single gifts.

1. Urgent need. The more immediate the need, the better. Immediacy, of course, is largely about how you position it. You need to convey the consequences of not acting now, and use the strongest possible visuals and soundbites to personalize the need. And don’t complicate this stuff. It’s as straightforward as:

  • There’s no food to eat and children are starving.
  • Innocent animals are being killed needlessly.
  • Our nation’s wounded heroes are suffering. Without your help…
  • Our beautiful natural heritage—the places we hold dear—are threatened. If we don’t act now, we may lose them forever.

2. A simple, specific, and ‘tangible’ solution. The most compelling answer to your urgent need. Help save lives. Stop or end or fight a disease, hunger, slavery, abuse, etc.

This can be tough to sell internally – especially in large nonprofits with many sophisticated programs – but it’s essential for DRTV. Choose the most crucial thing you do. State the strongest possible outcome of the donor’s gift, and ‘how’ you’ll make it happen. For instance:

“Your gifts will ship enough nutritious food to feed X children every month, and help save their lives and futures.”

“Your gifts will go to work immediately to find the cures we need to save lives now– and help end this disease in our lifetime.”

3. Added (and distinctive) value. Why should a donor support you rather than other respected organizations that do similar work? Clarify – simply and succinctly – how your proposition is different, and why that matters. Some offer elements that can set you apart and increase response are:

  • GIK multipliers. “Thanks to donated (type of goods) from corporations, your gift multiplies X times in value to help Y people.”
  • A unique approach to solving the problem. “Every dollar you give goes to work immediately because we already have 100 trucks positioned in 6 locations, ready to…” Again, keep it simple.
  • A ‘quick fix’. This is an instant solution to an urgent problem. “You can provide this life-changing operation with a gift of $XXX — or $YY a month — and restore a child’s sight.” “Your ongoing gifts will save an animal’s life every single month.”

4. The right price point(s). They make a huge difference. Rule #1: Test price points. Rule #2: Don’t assess price points based on calls or clickthroughs, but on conversions and most important, income. A higher price point that brings in slightly fewer donors but yields more income overall is usually a better choice.

Any questions? Counter points of view? We’d love to see your comments.

Coming up next: Why you’ll fail if you treat TV as a silo.

Robbin Gehrke

P.S. If you can only test one component of a DRTV effort, test the offer. Whether you’re running an hour-long show or a 2-minute spot, you may be  surprised by what you learn in an offer test.

We’ve seen a shocking drop in response to an hour-long show from adding just  a few short words to the offer deliverables, at the request of our client. Those words appeared in 6 offer segments, and took up a grand total of 47 seconds out of the hour. Those 47 seconds depressed response by 15%.

What if we hadn’t tested it? Would the show be deemed unsuccessful? Would we ever understand why?


This article was posted in: Communications, Copywriting / creative, Donor acquisition.
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