Using video in your fundraising campaign can be an easy and effective way to tell a story and capture the attention of your supporters. How does video fit in your nonprofit's fundraising strategy? Apply these 11 important principles to get the most out of your video efforts.
Photo source: Big Stock Photo
- Above all, tell a story.
- Make your issue relevant. Why is it that the person watching the video should care, and why now?
- Don’t forget the call to action. There are a lot of great videos that are well produced, that are engaging, and then they just end and the viewer doesn’t really know what to do next. Empower your viewer to get involved. Maybe it is, “Share this video.” Maybe it is, “Visit our website.” Maybe it is, “Volunteer today.” Make it explicit, you have their attention and you really want to leverage that.
- Be brief. While long form video is being watched online, in general you want to keep your video under three minutes. If it is a longer video, you may consider sending that out to people you already have relationships with, because people who are just being introduced to your organization may not have that patience. Keeping it shorter is usually the better rule.
- Video is one of many tools. Don’t put all your eggs into the video basket and say, “This video has to go viral. This is what we are counting on for the success of our end-of-year fundraising.” That is too much pressure on the video, and it is really not the right strategy in most cases. You want to make sure that it is supported by a lot of other different elements as well.
- Video is best as the center of a campaign. Think about your end-of-year fundraising, for example. Video may have a place in that campaign, but there is a website, there are emails going out, there is social media outreach, maybe there is blogger outreach as well. Putting video at the center of that is your best bet.
- Empower your viewers to carry your message. Give people the tools to pass on your video. Put the embed code for the video right below the video so that people can grab that and put it on their website or put it on their blog easily, and make sure you’re enabling social sharing through Facebook, Twitter, etc. Giving people the tools to make your video portable is really going to extend your message.
- Know when not to use video. Video may not always be appropriate in every instance. For example, if you have a donor who gives $100 every year and they have done that for the past 10 years, you may not want to put video in their way of donating this next time. If you put a video in the way of donating, they may get distracted and end up not donating in the end. Be thoughtful about your audience and when video is appropriate to use.
- Create a media library. A media library is all your footage, all your photography, any audio interviews you may do. These are materials that you are going to want to pull from in the future. You never know when you may want to use it. There may be just a scene of a long event that you’ve captured that you want to use. Making sure you have that media library to pull from will help you to be more effective when the time comes to make your video.
- Test and learn. This is a really important one. Many organizations are really concerned about what they can expect in terms of return. This will be different for all organizations, and video may serve your organization in a different way. Decide what is realistic for your particular nonprofit and learn from the mistakes. For example, if you hosted your video on YouTube and you saw the response rate was not so high, you could try hosting it in a different player to see if that gives you a higher response rate. These are things you can easily test.
- Supporters are coming to expect video as a central means of communication. So as you know, people are watching video online. It is becoming some of the most engaging content on the web. Organizations that are good at showing what they do and engaging people through video are going to capture the mindshare of the audience. And that’s, in the end, going to result in more dollars.
From the webinar presentation: “Lights, Camera, Fundraising Action! Using Video in the Fundraising Cycle” with Elliot Greenberger (See3 Communications) and Davin Hutchins (Nomadsland)