Fundraising in India: Non-profits must focus on greater engagement to retain donors: DTV Interview



DTV Group Interview with Mukesh Nauhwar, Country Head-India, DTV Asia

Resource Alliance India (RA India): You work to promote Direct Response TV. What is it? How does your model work?

Mukesh Nauhwar: Simply put it is a television advertisement that asks prospective donors to respond directly to the non-profits — usually either by calling a phone number, texting a number or by going online to donate. It’s a form of direct response marketing.

To make the model work, any non-profit needs to get the following four components working extremely effectively – creative, media/airtime planning, response management and accurate and effective analysis for optimisation planning.

By calculating the projected revenue over 1 to 5 years, we can work out the return on investment. Typically, DRTV picks up good quality mid-value regular giving donors with low attrition levels, so the lifetime value is great. All of that said, most NGOs are looking for a return within 18 months which is achievable if the creative, media and response management are working well together.

RA India: You talk about inspiring people to take action or respond, what means do you use to capitalise on that?

Mukesh Nauhwar: We use stories to inspire people – giving an opportunity to take an action that will make a difference. We need to do a lot of things in a short space of time so we need:

• A simple but powerful story that people can empathize with quickly.
• Strong, moving footage that illustrates the need and engages people emotionally. People are typically moved by the plight of individuals. They don’t want to fund an organisation, they want to provide help to a person or animal who is in need.
• Music and sound that supports the emotion and appeal, and adds to the overall request for support and doesn’t distract the viewer
• A touch of hope – the enormous difference your gift will make
• Make it easy to help – affordable amounts, strong and clear calls to action
• And yet more need

A typical DRTV ad in India lasts no more than 60 seconds. We don’t have much time! The more time spend talking about brand messaging and strategic communications frameworks, the less time there is to touch people’s hearts and move them to respond.

All of that said, there’s no magic formula for all causes. We usually conduct a creative workshop to share inspiring examples from India and around the world and also to better understand the work being done and the stories available to work out whether the appeal is likely to work on TV. Much of the inspiration comes from these sessions!

RA India: In your experience so far with India, is there enough donor engagement to convert believers inspired by the causes you promote, to keep giving?

Mukesh Nauhwar: Whilst fundraising itself is quite new to India and very few non-profits have tried fundraising in a structured manner, our country has no dearth of generous people who want to help. DRTV can drive thousands of calls every week in India!

Overall getting people to give to non-profits is logistically challenging, but not difficult if planned and managed the right way. But whilst a lot of non-profits today are focusing on acquisition there seems to be less focus on retaining a donor, which leads to higher than necessary attrition.

Around the world – and India will be no different – we find that it’s quite straightforward to improve attrition significantly just by simple donor journey planning. It’s about doing the simple things well – welcome calls, tax certificates, impact calls and continuing to ask for more money still (in the right way).

RA India: Finally, for non-profits struggling to understand how they can use multi-media channels, how do they reach out to you?

Mukesh Nauhwar: Usually our work with non profits keeps us on our toes and the travel takes us to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai etc. Our office currently is in Gurgaon and we are soon opening in Bangalore as well to be able to offer support in the southern Indian languages.

Any non-profits interested to talk about TV, donor acquisition, retention, engagement or any other area can reach out to us by writing to or


About DTV Group:

The DTV Group is founded and run by fundraisers for fundraisers. DTV works with over 40 client organisations across over 30 different countries, ranging from large multi-national NGOs to more modestly sized local NGOs.

DTV India was founded in 2015 and is based in Gurgaon. It consists of a DRTV management and planning team (media, creative, production, response), an analytics group and a fundraising call centre (DTV Optimise).

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