How to Make a Fantastic Nonprofit Video

Marketing and Social Media

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If your nonprofit isn’t using videos in your fundraising campaigns, you’re missing out. A recent study shows that an astonishing 57% of people who watch a nonprofit’s video go on to make a donation. 57%! Let that sink in for a minute.

So what do you do if your nonprofit doesn’t have a video you can use? How do you go about making one?

1. Set a budget

Let’s be realistic here. Professionalism is going to be a very important part of your nonprofit’s video. Obviously amateurish videos will elicit the same responses you’d see at a screening of your great-aunt Millie’s old home movies. Don’t bore your donors! Even the most emotional content can be overshadowed by poor production.

Before you even start thinking about your script, set a budget. Decide what you can do in-house, then figure out what you should hire someone to do.

2. Set a Goal

What do you want to accomplish with this video? Do you want to raise awareness about a certain issue? Do you want to attract donors to a specific campaign? Do you want a general video that spreads the message about your mission? You can decide how to inspire action in your viewers once you’ve decided what you want to accomplish.

Remember, you’re setting aside time and money to make an awesome, effective video. Being focused will help you get the results you want.

3. Start Brainstorming, Writing, and Planning

Keep your goal in mind and get started. Throw around ideas, start building a framework for your video, and write any scripted bits you need. If you’re hiring someone to help you, be sure you run your ideas by them before they’re set in stone. You might have a lot of amazing ideas, but you may need help translating those ideas to film.

4. Go Shootin’

Shooting videos, that is. Once you’ve got your video planned, it’s time to bring your ideas to life. Remember, professionalism is key, and this is where it becomes critical. In a best-case scenario, you’d be able to hire someone to shoot your video for you. If you can’t swing a session with a professional, there are a few things you can do to make your video as high-quality as possible. Use the best equipment you can (shaky recordings taken on your iPhone are probably not your best bet!) and try not to get too carried away. Well-executed, simple videos are better than poorly-done videos with lots of complicated shots.

5. Edit, Edit, Edit

Your nonprofit’s video should be short, sweet, and to the point. Internet users have super-short attention spans, so it’s best to make your video easy to watch. Luckily, there are lots of online video editors available to help you do this yourself!

While it’s not a hard and fast rule, the ideal length is probably somewhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. Whatever the length of the video, make sure you thoroughly convey your message without losing your audience. It’s a fine line, but you’ll get it!

6. Spread the Word

Once you’ve got your video ready to show off, it’s time to start postin’. YouTube is obviously a great place to start, but it’s not your only option! Other video services like Vimeo are good options, too; just do a bit of research and find what works best for you. Spread your video through e-mails, newsletters, your website, social media… wherever it’s appropriate! You’ve made a good video, so your volunteers and donors will probably be excited to spread your message, too.

Here are a few more tips for you budding video marketers

1. Focus on the cause!

No matter the overall goal for your video, you’ll have the most success if you focus less on yourself and more on building an emotional connection between the viewer and your cause. Don’t tell them how you can change the world; tell them how they can change the world.

2. Music is important.

Remember that ASPCA commercial that used Sarah McLaughlin’s song “In The Arms Of The Angels?” It made such a huge impact on viewers that it’s practically become a pop-culture icon. Using the right music can help you make a huge impression on viewers. Just make sure you have all the right permissions before you use a song!

3. Include a call to action.

This is a big deal; you could make the best video ever, but it’s not worth much if audiences watch it and  forget it. Your call to action will vary based on your goal for the video, but you should always include one. Ask for donations, ask for volunteers, ask for viewers to share the video… but make sure you keep audiences engaged!

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