Television Case Studies
Food For The Poor

Case study: Food For The Poor builds sustainer program through DRTV

The challenge

Food For The Poor came to Russ Reid in 2011 seeking to acquire monthly donors through DRTV. Our challenge was to find the best offer for an international development and relief organization that had never done DRTV before.

Russ Reid solution

Given that the goal was to build a strong sustainer file, we assessed the viability of their program for DRTV and determined that a long-form show would attract the most monthly givers. We also determined that since we’d be testing into a brand new channel, we would have to conduct our testing in an iterative and methodical fashion, being good stewards of the significant investment Food For The Poor was putting forward with this launch into DRTV. Thus, we determined two initial phases of testing:

  • Phase I: Offer test
  • Phase II: Price-point test

Test #1 To arrive at the right offers to test, Russ Reid extensively reviewed the services Food For The Poor offers. Their main programs are food, water, medicine and shelter. Our hypothesis—based on years of testing and best practices in DRTV—was that the most urgent and targeted offer would yield a greater response. And the broader the offer, the less urgent and compelling it would be. So we opted to test food and medicine against food, medicine, water and shelter. Test #2 Building upon the results of Test #1, the next step was to apply a price-point test to the winning ask. Based on Food For The Poor’s donor demographic and our experience in acquiring new monthly donors via DRTV, we resolved to use $16 and $19 as our two price points for this test.


Test #1 Surprisingly, the food and medicine offer won by a significant margin, outperforming the “enhanced” offer by a response rate of 16%. Our surprise stemmed from the fact that the only difference between the two shows was 43 seconds of different content (over a one-hour show). These remarkable results solidly supported the practice of keeping the offer simple, clear and urgent. Test #2 When we tested our winning offer with the two price points, the call volume for the $19 offer was slightly higher (6%) than that of the $16 dollar handle. In addition, the one-time average gift for $19 was 50% higher than the average gift for the $16 offer. Therefore, taking into consideration the projected LTDV of these donors, we proclaimed $19 to be the winner of this test. Overall, long-form DRTV proved to be the right channel for Food For The Poor, and the results proved that iterative and intentional offer and price-point testing is worthwhile—given that we exceeded projections as follows:

  • Income for 2011 surpassed projections by 25%
  • Total calls exceeded projections by 36%
  • The total number of sustainers acquired surpassed projections by 16%

Note: The video above is merely a clip of the 1-hour show, containing one story and an offer segment.

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