As charities begin to see the effect of losing face-to-face and door-to-door fundraising channels, the sector is under pressure to find new ways of reaching mass audiences under lockdown.

TV presents a significant opportunity for charities, certainly in the short-term.

Following social distancing restrictions, TV viewing has increased significantly – up 64% according to a recent Havas survey. More people are tuning in, ironically, at a time when major advertisers are pulling spend. Commercial campaigns which were ready-to-go, are no longer relevant. From glossy car ads to summer holiday deals, sales houses have a lot of gaps to fill. And that’s where it gets interesting.

With the UK TV ad market down by over 50%, major networks such as ITV and Channel 4 have slashed prices. That means reaching more eyeballs for less cost, something that has never happened before.

Now is the time for charities to embrace and brave the small screen. If you haven’t considered TV as a medium before, this is the moment to do so.

The evolving ad break

In such unusual times, ad breaks are responding to culture as well as influencing it.

We’re seeing a theme of ‘togetherness’ emerging. From the National Lottery to mobile network, GiffGaff, brands are communicating messages that unite audiences.

Major brands are opting for purpose-led campaigns over price promotions. Supermarkets – typically known for their price wars – are speaking about their renewed mission to ‘Feed the Nation’.

Building hope is becoming a powerful message. Reminiscent of the Queen’s ‘We will meet again’, we’re seeing brands such as Skyscanner telling audiences ‘We will get through this. We will still be here for you’.

As the nation settles down to week three of lockdown, messages of togetherness, purpose and hope are cutting through the Covid-19 noise.

How can charities use TV to engage audiences with these powerful messages?

Think differently. Now is the time to embrace disruption and uncertainty. Think about the messaging you have and how this fits into the current social climate. Think also about the ‘space’ in which your organisation operates. Relevant, authentic messaging will be needed to achieve cut through. Is there a part of your story that makes the nation feel hopeful? Are you on the front line supporting the most vulnerable? Can you take your positive message to TV with a call-to-action that inspires people to give? Capture the idea that audiences are craving positive news and act on it.

Remain Authentic. If you have an authentic message that fits within the conversation of Covid-19, get it to market. Research has shown a 20% increase in donation intentions to charities directly affected by the crisis because there is a clear need for their services. If you have an authentic story, a genuine fundraising need and you’re at the front-line of the Covid-19 response then you must ensure this is at the heart of your message.

Reduce. Recycle. Reuse. Be agile in your production approach. The current cut-price TV rates are a unique opportunity and won’t be around for long. Move quick. Before thinking ‘new’, consider your archive and what can be repurposed. Stock footage is a valid option as long as your story and messaging is clear. Don’t worry about ‘perfection’. We’re seeing major broadcasters present from their living rooms. So, don’t be shy of Skype footage. Shift your traditional budgets and timing plans from rigid to reactive to enable your organisation to respond in real-time.

What next?

Covid-19 has thrown us disruption and our ways-of-working have changed. As creatives, we embrace this. The harder the situation, the harder your creative must work.

These TV deals will not be around forever. You must act quick and with intention to ensure your messaging on this medium inspires action. Think differently, remain authentic and repurpose what you’ve got.

“TV: a break from the norm” is a write up from our GOOD Bites event of the same name. Collaborators are Andy Powell, GOOD Agency and Richard Slater M.i. Media. For more information, please contact hello@goodagency.co.uk.