31 July, 2020

Five lessons in fundraising from infomercials

icon Campaign Fundraising,Fundraising,Political Fundraising,Voters
A classic infomercial.
Listen closely and you can practically hear this photo.

If you have ever found yourself dialing the phone number thats practically bursting out of your television screen during an infomercial, you are not alone. Infomercials have a way of making even the most self-confident people surprise themselves: Just when you thought you would never fall for their persuasive tactics, you're dialing and then purchasing that product, all before the infomercial ends.

We can all agree: It's nothing to be ashamed of, we have all done it.

In 2020, they may seem like relics of the past, however the tactics and strategies that made infomercials so successful are timeless and as useful today as they were in the 90s.

Instead of buying something from infomercials, it's time to learn something from them. How can you persuade people to donate more to your campaign while you have their attention? Here are five proven infomercial techniques:

1. Talk problems and solutions, not platforms or services

No matter what that action is for you, it is important to make clear to voters what they’d get out of voting for you.

Sadly, no one really cares about the nitty gritty of your campaign, they just want to know how you're going to help solve their problems. When you only talk in political terms, you’re not speaking your voters’ language, and they will move on and keep their money to themselves. Features of political campaigns can be duplicated. Your unique benefits and solutions to voters problems can’t.

2. Use storytelling to connect with voters' emotions

Informercials are structured to get viewers thinking about how different their lives could be… if they only picked up the phone.

Then, infomercials contrast that ideal situation with the viewer’s current reality. They point out how the viewers’ lives wont get any better if they don’t take action.

When it comes to campaign fundraising, it is important to focus on getting people emotionally charged and inspired to take action. Paint a picture of a better life for people, one that will only be a reality with you in office.

Storytelling lets you show voters how different their lives would be if you were elected. Storytelling is more engaging than selling yourself, and it helps voters remember and see you as both a candidate and an everyday human.

3. Create a sense of urgency

Infomercials are infamous for their countdown clock. They make an offer and ask people to call before the clock runs out or miss out on a great deal.

It may seem aggressive, but it speaks to the notion that if you can’t get someone to act right away, they’ll come up with reasons and excuses not to act later. 

It is essential to give voters a reason to act and donate right now.

4. Make donating easy and straight forward

Give voters obvious calls to action and easy ways to donate to your campaign. Infomercials do this by encouraging viewers to call a toll-free number immediately! It's harder for fundraisers online. Supporters are reluctant to click away from the presentation underway or confused if they need to make a series of clicks. BigStage is an app that extends the functionality of conferencing solutions (like ZOOM, Google Meet and YouTube) for fundraisers. Viewers are presented with a panel on the screen which links to the campaigns donation link. This allows viewers to make donations easily, while still watching the presentation.

Make it easy for people to donate at virtual events with BigStage.Online just like you would have a toll free number in an infomercial.

5. Back up the solutions you are offering with testimonials, facts, and figures.

Firsthand reviews and supporting proof goes a long way. Voters find reassurance in hearing positive feedback from others like them. Facts and figures can help prove the effectiveness of a donation to your campaign. Tell voters exactly how their donations will help you get elected.

Collect donations after your online event

Online have fundraisers, unlike TV commercials have life beyond the actual event. You can save a recording of the fundraiser and share it later with donors who couldn't attend the online event. The reminder includes the video along with 'live' links to the donation button and your campaign website.

Phil Ehr is a retired U.S. Navy commander and Democratic candidate challenging Matt Gaetz for Florida’s 1st Congressional District. The demo below shows how the campaign video can be embedded in BigStage along with links to donate. Viewers can watch the video recording while surfing the campaign website and making a donation at the same time. Try it out at this link.

How to collect donations after an online event with BigStage.Online


Adapt the techniques proven techniques in other industries to improve your fundraising. Make the most of your investment in hosting an online fundraiser, by re-using a video of the event to obtain donations after the event.

Democracy Labs

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