Grow Donations Using Video

by Danielle Bloom

2 min read

Video is one of the most powerful tools in a nonprofit’s marketing arsenal. It’s easier to consume, has higher engagement, and evokes emotion. In fact, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Nonprofits’ missions and causes make for easy storytelling.

Tell Your Story

The most difficult part about video is telling it in a snack-size way. The best videos are easy to digest and shorter in format (30 seconds to a minute). Don’t try to overcomplicate it by trying to tell an entire history within the 30 seconds. Instead, find the emotion you want to convey and try to tell the emotional journey through your video. Even in a short format, you should have a traditional arc, a formula of storytelling that includes:

  • Exposition: The introduction that lays the groundwork and introduces the character and gives an idea of what’s happening.
  • Rising action: Moves the story forward and typically introduces the conflict. It could be an event and how the character responds to it, for example.
  • Climax: The highest point of the story, when tensions, excitement, and emotions are highest.
  • Falling action: Removes the tension of the story
  • Resolution: Where the problem is solved .

The music you use should help tell the emotional story, too.

Make It Cost-Effective

Given budgeting restraints, it might be tempting to take a do-it-yourself approach to minimize costs, which could be a solution if there’s an experienced staff member or volunteer that has experience as a video producer. If you don’t have these resources, you could partner with a local university or high school and create a contest for students to produce videos. Or, you could hire a video freelancer using marketplace-based sites like Upwork or temporary work placement sites like Wonolo.

How and Where to Use Video

Once your video is finished, there’s a variety of end uses. You should be strategic in your approach and space out the use of the video over a set period of time so that you don’t front-load its engagement. Some ideas for how to use video in your marketing could include:

  • Embed the video in email marketing to prospective donors.
  • Host the video on your website’s landing page.
  • Share the video on social media during a campaign for collections (and asking your followers to share).
  • Use the video as an ad spot using Google AdWords.

Once you have your first video and you can assess its success, track the video’s analytics by looking at the number of times your video has been shared and the number of views. Once you see how effective your video is, you can evolve your approach and maybe produce a handful of brief videos a year.

References & Resources

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