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The Fundraising Guide to Video Storytelling
Find out the top five ways that leading nonprofit organizations increase awareness and donations for their cause with video
Connect on an emotional level
Video is the only medium that combines sight and sound to evoke the senses of your viewer and elicit emotion in a compelling way. For nonprofits, this emotional element is the key to gathering support for your cause.
Video is also the most sharable, engaging type of content, giving you the power to broadcast your message across channels and help further the reach of your organization.
This guide will highlight the different types of video your nonprofit can use to draw supporters to your cause. You’ll learn essential tips for creating authentic videos that inspire your audience to get involved with examples from real nonprofits to help spark your creative process.
Let’s get started!
How to Create Authentic Videos
Authenticity is a major factor in the success of a nonprofit. People want to know that your organization is legitimate and that what your cause is doing really makes a difference. And, most importantly, people want to know that their donations are being used in a way that creates positive change. Perhaps that’s why, according to Google, over half of all donors make a gift to a nonprofit after watching a video.
An authentic video gets viewers involved on an emotional level. By playing to the hearts and minds of your audience, you’ll help inspire them to take action. Follow these key steps to create your video in an authentic way that inspires viewers:
• Evoke the senses with compelling images and video
• Create a relatable story that resonates with viewers
• Cast powerful characters to create empathy
• Know your audience—be sure the right people are listening
• Put passion behind everything you say to create excitement for your mission and organization
• Use humility to create trust with your audience
No budget? No problem. Have a volunteer or intern shoot horizontal videos on their smartphone in the office and at events to capture footage and b-roll that you can use to create your videos. This type of footage is often more authentic than something overly produced, so don’t shy away from it!
The 5 Essential Types of Nonprofit Videos
Though most nonprofits that use video do so for the sole purpose of fundraising, video can (and should!) be used in a variety of ways to rally support around your cause and enhance your mission.
With these 5 types of video, you will have a variety of tools to spread the word about your cause across channels and at events to get supporters invested in both an emotional and monetary way.
- The Mission Video
- The Fundraising Ask Video
- The Personal Thank You Video
- The Take Action Video
- The Livestream Video
The Mission Video
The mission video is just that: a video about your organization’s mission that tells viewers why they should care about your cause.
Starring: Your founder, executive director, or program recipients
Optional co-stars: A passionate volunteer and or program recipient sharing their experiences
- Backstory – how your organization came to be
- Your mission statement and examples of the types of work you do
- How people can help you accomplish your mission (through donations, volunteer efforts, etc.)
- Example call to action: “Be a hero. Empower. Support. Donate. Text BYEP to 41444 to donate today.”
Check out this mission video from Big Sky Youth Empowerment: https://vimeo.com/203640023
The Fundraising Ask Video
Fundraising ask videos are extremely important for every communication channel. Create 15, 30, and 90 second variations of your videos and ensure that donating in response to your call-to-action is as easy as possible.
Starring: Your founder or executive director
Optional co-stars: Program volunteers or recipients
- Talk about what your organization does and why it’s important
- Highlight specific needs within the world and/or within your organization
- Ask people to give with a clear call to action and directions to take action
Example call-to-action: “We need you to partner with us so we can continue our vision. Immediately we need to raise $50,000 to continue our programming. To partner with us please visit www.nycsalt.org.”
Watch this compelling fundraising video from NYC Salt: https://vimeo.com/24926087
The Personal Thank You Video
Often overlooked, the thank you video is a more personal way that you can show and share your gratitude towards your donors and supporters.
Starring: Your executive director
Optional co-stars: None needed
This one is simple, but time is of the essence! Just film your executive director giving a short, heartfelt thank you and send it to everyone who has made a donation within 48 hours of their gift being made.
Watch this thank you video from MAP for Nonprofits Executive Director: https://youtu.be/Orawqx9fxFY
The Take Action Video
If you have a specific program or urgent need, the take action video is a great way to educate your viewers and ask them to get involved.
Starring: Your executive director or program leader
Optional co-stars: Program recipients or people in need
- A brief overview of your program and/or the issue at hand
- Footage of those in need • Your solution to the problem
- What people can do to help
Example call to action: “Double tap on Instagram to give them a heart, and then register on our donor registration page.”
Watch this heartfelt example from Donate Life America: https://youtu.be/0SCyU_4KoFY
The Livestream Video
Though very different from the other types of video, livestreamed video gives you the chance to show your audience a real, raw look at your organization and its impact. The great thing about live video is that the content can be whatever you like! Just remember to give it a clear purpose to make it engaging for your audience, and always end with a clear call-to-action that suits the content of your video.
Tip: Facebook Live, Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram stories are all forms of livestreaming and can help you reach multiple audiences and encourage engagement in different ways. To make the best use of your time, use a channel where you already have followers who will see your video. As an added bonus, Facebook Live gives all of your followers a notification when you go live, helping to expand your reach.
- A “day in the life” look at your organization’s office life and staff
- Live video from a program, mission trip or rescue operation
- Q&A session with a program director or recipient
- New program or initiative announcement
- Broadcasting an event and donation asks to those who cannot attend
Watch Food Rescue US livestream: https://www.facebook.com/FoodRescueUS/videos/1597860833566760/
Start posting videos
Now that you have learned how to authentically create the five essential types of nonprofit videos, you can start the planning process with your team. Focus on creating one video at a time and show the impact your nonprofit makes!
In addition to posting videos on your social media pages and website, YouTube is a must. Posting videos on YouTube will help expose your content to more people through its easy searchability and “recommended videos” in the right sidebar, allowing you to reap the rewards with little effort.
For more reading on creating great videos for your nonprofit, check out the resources below:
Make Video a Powerful Tool, Not a Wasted Resource – Nonprofit Pro
Fundraising Videos Are About Raising Money, Not Awareness – Nonprofit Hub
Reel Impact: How Fundraisers Can Successfully Use Video – AFP
10 Ways Nonprofits Can Raise More Money with Video – The Balance
Have a video you want to share? We want to watch it! Send us your video at [email protected] and we’ll add it to our library of top nonprofit videos on our blog.
At MobileCause, your cause is our cause. Our mission is to empower nonprofit organizations with innovative fundraising and donor engagement solutions that help them do more good. To speak directly to an expert please call (888) 661-8804 or go to https://www.mobilecause.com/free-consultation/