Guest Bloggers

10 Tips for Nonprofits: Lights, Camera, Action! How Video Helps Raise Awareness and Funds

With an increasing number of nonprofits and an evolving media landscape, competition for charitable funding has never been greater. For nonprofits to thrive, they need to break though the media clutter. They need to use creative marketing strategies that reach the right people with the right message at the right time.

Enter the power of video.

When it comes to fundraising, having a video strategy is key to helping non-profits grow. A well-crafted video can inspire donors at a fundraising event, gain momentum on YouTube, or be continually “shared” on Facebook or other social media platforms. And that’s just the beginning.

Think of it this way. If a non-profit is the “fuel” – with its passion, its people and its services – then video is the “vehicle” to get the word out. Video can drive the message home, while impacting the viewer with the sight, sound, motion and emotion that only video can offer.

Today, video plays an important communications role in helping nonprofits raise awareness and raise funds. The good news is that producing high quality video content is more accessible and affordable today than ever before.

Here are 10 Tips to keep in mind for your next nonprofit video production:

1. Viewer = Potential Donor

Anyone who views your video is a potential donor to your organization. Viewers need to be evoked. They need to see who you are, what you do, who you impact, and why they should contribute. Your goal is to create a compelling video, and then to get it in front of as many interested viewers as possible.

2. Video and Google: They go together.

Since Google owns YouTube, posting your video on YouTube helps improve your website ranking in Google searches. To optimize your video, be sure to do keyword searches and use keywords in your title, description and tags.

3. It pays (and saves) to have a video strategy.

An annual video strategy may include the following: videos for special events, social media video campaigns, training videos, and 30 second PSA’s. You can also plan ahead to videotape special events, so you have video footage to promote next year’s

event. Advanced planning in strategy, scripting, shooting and editing all add up to a smoother, more cost-effective video production process.

4. Keep the cost down.

Speaking of cost-effective, consider FREE resources at your disposal, starting with location settings. Conduct interviews with patients, donors, doctors or members of the community who have benefitted from your organization’s services. Look for opportunities to apply for a grant or ask vendors for sponsorships to cover the cost or a portion of the cost to create the video.

5. Shorter is better.

You don’t need a 30-minute infomercial. Instead, create 2-3 minutes of meaningful content. For an annual gala event, a 4-6 minute video may be needed.

6. Be a Storyteller.

Facts and stats add credibility. But the real impact of your video is the story it tells. Share the human story of your nonprofit organization. Be authentic. Show real people who have been affected, the local impact, the global impact, etc.

7. Be sure to include a call-to-action.

Be clear about what you want the viewer to do. Make a donation. Make a phone call. Keep it simple and include a call-to-action toward the end of your video.

8. Make an emotional connection.

Through its use of storyline, images, graphics, and music, video can make a powerful emotional connection with the viewer. It’s this connection that leads the viewer to make to a contribution and join others who support the cause.

9. Quality Matters.

Video plays a prominent role in communicating your nonprofit’s mission and expertise. In turn, you should rely upon video production professionals whenever possible to deliver the highest quality throughout the production process, including: pre-production (strategy, scripting and logistics), production (cameras, shot composition, audio and lighting) and post-production (editing, graphics and sound design).

10. Begin with the end in mind.

When planning your video, consider different ways you can repurpose the content. You can show the video at a special event; post the video on social media and your website; and include a video link in an email newsletter or blog. You may also want to edit key clips from your video footage into a 30-second PSA to air on local broadcast and cable television channels.

With today’s evolving media trends, one thing is certain. Video is here to stay. Nonprofits need to focus on video as an effective tool in raising awareness and raising funds.

-Susan McCowan is an award-winning freelance video producer who helps nonprofit and corporate clients tell their story with video. Her work with nonprofits includes fundraising videos, e-learning presentations and PSA’s.