Digital transformation drives fundraising growth for Colorado’s PBS12

PBS12 partners with Allegiance to create a lead culture that transforms their digital fundraising, generating revenue well above projections.

In this July 2021 PMDMC webinar session, Shari Bernson, Director of Development at Colorado’s PBS12, and J.C. Bouvier, Senior Digital Strategist for the Allegiance Group discuss their cooperative approach to creating a ‘lead culture’ that helped transform the way the station fundraises digitally.

PBS12 (formerly CPT12), the secondary PBS station in Colorado, was challenged with differentiating themselves in the market. Shari Bernson, Director of Development, station leadership, and the rest of the staff at PBS12 had a vision that this would be achieved by expanding digital engagement on top of traditional communications was key. Allegiance Group shared this vision and teamed up with the station to transform the program. At the same time, the station launched a new brand.

Music has long been an important part of PBS12’s culture. The station produces a concert series at the renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre, including internationally acclaimed acts and tribute bands who, by returning year in and year out, have built a strong local fan base.

PBS12 also produces Sounds on 29th and Head Room Sessions, bringing Colorado audiences the best in local and regional talent highlighting musicians from a broad range of genres. Offering even more value to the Colorado music fan, PBS12 maintains an in-depth collection of music programming, documenting the history of the music scene in Colorado. Music is part of the soul of the station; and it was clear to the team at PBS12 and the Allegiance Group that these offerings provide messaging and appeal opportunities that could allow PBS12 to truly stand out in their market.

As Shari and J.C. point out in the PMDMC webinar session video linked above, PBS core programming and its availability via the PBS Passport library is a keystone for the station and its viewers. Audiences tune in, not only for the music offerings, but for broadcast and on demand PBS favorites like NOVA, American Experience and Masterpiece. While there is some overlap, the audience for traditional PBS programming is different than the music audience. PBS12’s vision was to bring these dissimilar audiences together and grow the overlapping interest in both music and traditional PBS programming in support of the station mission.

With the vision spelled out, PBS12/Allegiance Group team identified two opportunities to achieve the station’s long-term goals:

  1. Using the new brand to associate PBS12 to the popular concerts and arts programming the station has and is known for.
  1. “Come for the tickets, stay for the programs.” Became a mantra to focus campaign efforts on growing membership and revenue from prior and ongoing audiences of concert ticket buyers.

To drive these goals, we worked together to develop a multipronged, integrated program to engage all segments of the PBS12 audience around this messaging. In addition to the typical components of a public television fundraising program — direct mail and digital programs around quarterly campaigns, renewals, and sustainers — the team launched:

  • A music-focused digital program aimed at driving as many qualified potential members and ticket buyers to the file as possible in the ticket-buying season, including:
    • An emphasis on email file growth, including through paid lead generation
    • Ticket buyer reactivation and cultivation to remove inactive names from the file and reactivate others who would like to engage with the station
  • A bi-monthly newsletter, featuring PBS and local music content
  • Offering members additional enhanced benefits, such as pre-sale tickets as a renewal incentive and offering ticket buyers a membership (new members only), in addition to the bi-monthly Newsletter

As the partnership between PBS12 and the Allegiance Group team took flight, early numbers proved very strong with the Allegiance Group’s first digital lead generation campaigns bringing in over 5,000 new leads, double the projected new email addresses. Leads from the program started to convert to new donors at a healthy average rate. Additionally:

  • Over 1/3 of the lapsed prior ticket buyers reengaged with the station.
  • Digital revenue for the initial program tracked well ahead of projections.
  • Direct response campaign revenue came in ahead of goal.
  • The PBS12 renewal program generated strong early results also ahead of projections.

The team looks forward to watching the digital program help support the overall PBS12 fundraising program as the results continue to unfold.

Read the full case study and contact us to find out how Allegiance Group can help grow your station’s fundraising.