Is your charity ahead of the curve?


It’s no secret that people are watching less live TV than they used to, with Ofcom reporting that the average daily broadcast viewing fell by nine minutes in 2017 — and is down 38 minutes since 2012.

However, consumers’ screen time isn’t necessarily reducing, it’s just that they want to watch programmes on their own terms. We’ve entered an age of streaming, Netflix, pay-per-view and catch up among other methods. People have so many choices now, and this has had a natural impact on live TV.

So what will this mean for the annual telethons run by charities, which are broadcast on the UK’s major channels? Their donations are driven by live TV, with the live shows promoting text-to-donate, online and over-the-phone donations. If telethons are seeing a reduction in the number of viewers, will this mean that they’ll raise fewer donations?

Major charity telethons shouldn’t have to see a reduction in donations; in fact, they should be seeing an increase. Yes, fewer people will be seeing the onscreen donation promotions, but charities can look at other ways of grabbing the public’s attention. Live TV will remain a critical component of the campaign, as viewings and ratings are still indisputably high, but charities need to remain synced with the viewing habits of consumers if they are to really maximise donations.

Live TV should be part of a wider year-round strategy, whereby the charities continue to encourage the public to donate months after the telethon has finished. One of the best ways to do this is via click-to-donate, whereby members of the public can visit the charity’s website at any point in the year, and then donate via a seamless, two-step process. They won’t need to enter any credit card or personal details, as the costs are simply charged to the mobile phone bill (carrier billing). By using such efficient payment mechanics, charities can encourage a revenue stream all year round and enjoy impressive conversion rates.

CRM techniques can be used to drive consumers who have donated previously to the charity’s website. This could be done via targeted SMS and email campaigns, which could ask donors to visit the site (via a link) and see how far their donation has gone to help a cause, for example. This means only contacting those who are likely to donate and avoids spamming others. Alternatively, targeted ads and social media posts could also be used to drive people to the site.

Once onsite, if there are features on the page encouraging the donor to donate, they may be inclined to do so again, particularly if there’s a payment method that is as quick as click-to-donate.

Telethons are far from over, as they are still tremendously successful and draw wide-ranging audiences. They are also still an important channel for gathering donations but nonetheless, charities cannot rely indefinitely upon live TV as the only way of raising money. By adopting click-to-donate, these charities can continue to engage with their audience, raise money for good causes all year round and stay as relevant as ever.