3 Ways to Turn Distraction Into Support

Photo by jerine

I never just watch television. As I’m finishing this post, I’m watching The Patriot–a fitting movie for a Bostonian on Bunker Hill Day! I’m a multi-tasker that has to justify watching Mob Wives by doing something more productive. That means I’m on my laptop answering emails, writing, reading, researching, etc. while mob wife Drita D’Avanzo beats the snot out of a snitch.

According to a recent study, my two-screen habit isn’t unique. For U.S. users the study revealed that 86% of tablet owners watched TV while using their device and 88% of phone users did at least once during the month. The bottom line is that people are using multiple screens in the evening, and not to do dissimilar things. I use my laptop all the time to research the things I’m watching on television. If I like the music in a movie, I’ll log onto iTunes to buy it. If I want to find out if one of my favorite Real Housewives has imploded since the season finale I’m watching, I Google her.

Second screens aren’t just useful to reality star addicts like me. They can be combined with television viewing to accomplish something good, too.

Let supporters know about shows that will get them talking about your cause.

I watch shows all the time that deal with divorce, obesity, heart disease, domestic abuse, alcoholism–and that’s just on The Biggest Loser. Let your supporters know when their evening television viewing will align with your mission, and give them a place to talk about it on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter page.

Experiment with sending emails, Tweets, and Facebook messages after 6pm.

A lot of nonprofits post content during the day, but then go dark after 6pm. Start generating content during the evening and night when people are using their tablets and phones in front of the television. But don’t give them something to read, give them something to watch. Supporters are relaxing and enjoying themselves. Give them something that complements what they’re already doing–and not something that feels like work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for money.

If people are buying products and services more on their mobile devices they can donate to your nonprofit too. 87 percent of people have used their mobile device to make a purchase in the past year. Advertisers are awakening to how television and mobile can work together to drive purchasing decisions. Nonprofits would be smart to experiment with TV and mobile as the evidence suggests that when it comes to donations, two screens are better than one.