This article is written by Doug Scott from Tectonic Video.
Videos are a powerful fundraising tool that can be used to connect with potential supporters, raise awareness for your campaign, and drive donations. In fact, studies have shown that 57% of people who watch fundraising videos go on to donate to that cause.
That’s because video content combines movement, sound, text, and images in a way that brings your mission to life and touches the hearts of your supporters. In this guide, we’ll show you how to create effective nonprofit videos that make a lasting impact. Let’s get started!
1. Get specific about your campaign.
Fundraising videos allow you to advertise your campaign to potential supporters in a way that’s memorable and engaging. However, because people’s attention spans are waning, your video should summarize your needs and convince viewers to support your important cause in 3 minutes or less. To ensure your fundraising video contains all of the necessary information, answer these questions for donors:
- What is your level of need? For example, are you looking to raise a total of $100,000 to refurbish a historical site? Or, are you asking donors for small increments of $20 to feed the hungry, stating that every little bit helps?
- How will you use the funds? Build trust by explaining exactly how you intend to use their donations. If your mission is to mitigate food insecurity, the money might go towards buying fresh produce from local farmers and covering the cost of gas needed to deliver meals.
- When is the campaign taking place? Set a deadline for your campaign to create a sense of urgency and drive donations. For instance, you may need to raise $5,000 before the cold winter months arrive so that you can provide shelter to the homeless.
- Why should people care? Expand upon your mission statement and explain your passion. Even better, tell stories from real people, such as your beneficiaries, to tug at people’s heartstrings.
If you have more information to share, consider creating a fundraising video series to release across your marketing channels. This will help keep viewers engaged and invested in your campaign.
2. Film with a target audience in mind.
Identifying a target audience helps you focus your marketing efforts and dollars on the people that are most likely to watch your fundraising videos and commit to your cause. For the most effective nonprofit videos, use your donor database to determine the following information about supporters:
- Donor demographics: Demographic information, such as the general age range of your supporters, can provide valuable insights into their preferred video content. For instance, if you have a large number of Gen Z and millennial donors, you can make a case for splicing your fundraising video down to 1 minute or less and posting it to social media, since short-form content performs better among that audience.
- Engagement history: Consider how supporters have interacted with your nonprofit in the past. How recent, frequent, and large were their gifts? If you have a significant amount of major donors and you’re running a capital campaign, speak to those donors directly in your video and demonstrate the impact of their continued generosity.
With these insights, you can make better-informed decisions about which stories to tell and how to best tell them, ensuring that your videos inspire meaningful support.
3. Follow storytelling best practices.
Your fundraising video should tell a story that evokes emotion and compels viewers to take action. Follow these tips to create a video storytelling strategy that makes an impact:
- Hook viewers from the beginning. Studies show that, after the first 10 seconds of a video, engagement drops significantly, so make this time count! Introduce your campaign with a strong hook like: “There are approximately 1,500 stray animals who go hungry and suffer from disease in our community. That’s why we’re raising money to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals in crisis.”
- Choose a compelling main character. Most nonprofits center their fundraising video around their beneficiaries, rather than themselves. This helps to create an emotional connection between donors and your cause. For example, you might follow the story of a stray animal’s journey from homelessness to being adopted by a loving family.
- Set the scene. Decide where your video will take place. For instance, you might show the behind-the-scenes of your facility or walk viewers through the community you serve.
- Problem solve. Introduce a challenge that your character faces, such as a puppy being forced to live on the streets. Then, show how your organization is working to solve that problem with the help of donations. For example, you could say, “With your support, puppies like Luna can live a life free of cruelty and suffering.”
While it may be tempting to include multiple stories, statistics, and voices, centering your video around one powerful narrative will keep viewers focused and engaged on the campaign at hand.
4. Include a call to action.
In the final scene of your video, tell viewers exactly what you want them to do, whether that’s donating, following a link to your campaign site, or reaching out to you by phone or email. Though you may have several needs, you should keep the number of calls to action to one or two per video to avoid any confusion.
For the best results, introduce a tangible goal that helps the audience visualize how their donation will be spent and prompts a more specific action. For example: “Your donation of $50 will provide a warm meal to a family suffering from food insecurity.” Or, “By helping us reach our fundraising goal of $5,000 this month, we can provide clean drinking water to communities in need.”
With an effective call to action, your viewers will be more likely to lend their support. In fact, according to fundraising statistics from 360MatchPro, simply making your “Donate” button stand out can result in a 190% increase in donations.
5. Adopt a multi-channel marketing approach.
Most nonprofits post their fundraising videos to YouTube or Vimeo, as both platforms are affordable and include built-in analytics for tracking engagement. Tectonic Video’s guide to video marketing suggests that, after pushing the content live, you share the video across your various marketing channels, which may include:
- Email: Prompt recipients to open your message and click through to your video with an eye-catching subject line like, “Watch this video to learn how you can fight food insecurity.”
- Social media: Reach larger audiences by posting your videos to Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok and encouraging viewers to share the post with their own networks.
- Website: Embedding videos on your nonprofit website increases the amount of time that users spend engaging with content and information related to your campaign.
With a multi-channel marketing strategy, your video is more likely to reach its target audience on their preferred platform and drive donations.
Fundraising videos, when done correctly, are a valuable asset to your nonprofit. If you want to ensure the highest level of quality and engagement, consider partnering with an experienced nonprofit video production company. Their team of expert video storytellers will handle everything from filming to distribution to create a final package that makes a lasting impression on viewers and drives your mission forward.