Stations Pilot Social Fundraising Technology for Passport Instant Access

In October 2017, PBS Development Services partnered with fourteen member stations for a fifteen-day fundraising campaign to pilot instantaneous Passport access from social donations made using Goodworld’s #donate technology. All participating stations were familiar with #donate and had pre-existing Stripe and Goodworld accounts having taken part in the March pilot, enabling them to immediately begin processing donations. Stations were asked to concentrate their efforts exclusively on Facebook in order to fully harness the broad collection of Passport.

Pilot Strategy

The pilot leveraged existing national promotional assets and messaging to boost engagement and drive donations with immediate access to Passport content. Stations were also provided a toolkit including copy and example posts for popular Passport streaming programs, promotional assets, and additional Passport messaging to use in Facebook posts. The toolkit made it easier for stations to mix and match messaging, use their own voice, and find more creative ways of speaking to their Facebook audience. The campaign included a set of communications to reflect Passport’s own viewing flexibility.

Passport Integration

PBS partnered with Goodworld to build a custom Membership Vault (MVAULT) integration for Facebook and Twitter. The Goodworld integration enabled donors to activate Passport immediately within the social experience. The station-branded donation form was hosted by Goodworld and synced donor data directly to MVAULT.

PBS Sponsored Ads

PBS also administered national Passport awareness spots from participating stations’ Facebook accounts. The PBS sponsored ads reached more than 77,000 Facebook followers and drove 57% of all donations during the pilot period. Of those unique followers, some 48,848 people took action with the advertisement (e.g. clicked the passport link, commented, shared, clicked, etc.), making the advertisement a valuable Passport awareness piece for the cohort. In fact, the advertisement had a 7.5% engagement rate4 , above the nonprofit post average of 4.6% and public media post average of 3.9%. At a cost of $.05 per engagement, the Facebook advertisement was an efficient buy—well below Facebook advertisement averages.

High Engagement

Compared to the March pilot, stations in the pilot reported twice as much post engagement.Stations posted an averaged of 12.3 posts each during the two-week window. High engagement in the October pilot was directly attributable to: #donate paired with national Passport spots, awareness and value messaging, local Passport content, and Facebook Live. To help boost engagement with adaptive, timely content, the pilot heavily emphasized cross-pollination of practices. In fact, 80% of stations in the pilot tested or applied other station practices throughout the test period. By pilot end, more than 90% of stations were aware of the cross-posting opportunities available to stations from the PBS social team.

Conclusion

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Passport has proved a powerful tool in acquiring new members across various fundraising channels, yet social media remains largely untapped. PBS continues to increase investment into Passport promotional activities to further engage and educate audiences about the member benefit. On the station level, multichannel cultivation efforts in social media will prove increasingly important for stations to maximize donor giving. As a new technology, #donate requires further education and familiarity for followers to fully realize the benefit. With increased investment from PBS national, there is immense potential for stations to use #donate and Passport promotional resources to deepen engagement and promote awareness.

Any PBS station can set up their Goodworld accounts today, download assets developed for the pilot, and begin to leverage Passport marketing opportunities and the programming pipeline to increase engagement and cultivate online audience to become donors.