5 Types of Low Cost, High Impact Videos That Nonprofits Can Create to Raise Awareness and Money- David Deschenes

Technological advances in visual marketing have presented opportunities for smaller to mid-sized nonprofits to establish a video marketing presence that may have been financially out of reach just a few years ago.

Smart phones now produce very high quality video, as reasonably priced smart phone accessories such as wireless or traditional mics, add-on lenses, and internal camera apps help to improve the quality even more. Add to that browser-based video editing software which can be subscribed to for a nominal fee, and you have the ability to create a high impact, low cost video to promote your mission and raise money.

And if you want to have even more control over the quality of your video, video cameras have come down quite a bit in price as well. For $400, you can buy a HD quality camera that offers lots of manual controls and inputs.

There is a learning curve to taking video and producing it, but not too much of one if you’re going for a simple look and message. Lots of non-pro video editing software now works much like iMovie – geared to the novice film maker.

Videos don’t have to be cinematic productions, and in fact, some donors can be put off by lots of editing magic and built in bells & whistles in video. They may feel that an organization is spending lots of money in an environment of funding cuts and tight budgets.

Following are five types of videos that are short and to the point, and fairly simple to produce.

  1. BRANDING This kind of video gives the viewer a good idea of what your organization does and for whom. It can be a “b-roll” format with fast paced images & video over music combined with punchy text and ending info with your logo and website info.
  2. APPEAL This can be tied to a general appeal, or a special event like GivingTuesday. In this video you would want to show the impact you’re having on the population you serve. And like the branding video, you can combine positive images and video with testimonials of success. Always important to end this with a call to action: “Give Now at ________.”
  3. EDUCATIONAL / INFORMATIONAL Informative video that provides information on how you do what you do, or where you fall within a cause or issue. Examples of this kind of video can be an organization showing their success (or increased challenges) helping people with opioid addiction. Include testimonials from experts, staff, volunteers, and clients to underscore your message. This type of video would also include a call to action to direct the viewer on how they can donate or get involved.
  4. STORIES / TESTIMONIALS This video can include short vignettes highlighting the beneficiaries of an organization’s service, each story clearly showing challenges and success (or perhaps ongoing challenges, because sometimes the story doesn’t end with a perfect solution). Pair these clips with staff and volunteers talking about their passion for the mission. Again, an ending call to action drives donations or another kind of engagement.
  5. THANK YOU Communicate the results of someone’s monetary or volunteer support. Walk around a program and get brief comments from people on how they were helped. If you’re a land trust, show some work in progress and talk about how “your donation is helping our local environment”. This can be a brief video to a particular donor, where you narrate and address them by name, or a group of donors/volunteers. This kind of video can have a higher share/forward rate as people love to share this kind of news with their own networks.

As you explore and discuss types of videos going forward, you will find that many have overlapping formats such as application of b-roll, music underlay, contributing staff, volunteers, donors, clients, etc.

While it is important to create the right kind of video for your intentions, it is just as important for a nonprofits to establish a video marketing strategy, as well as internal policies & guidelines;  it is important to ensure that those tasked with filming and producing videos are aware of legal implications and usage limitations.

While it is crucial to plan your approach to in-house video production, there is also somewhat of a “just do it” approach that can help you get over those first hurdles. Your first videos don’t have to be cinematic masterpieces. Number one priority is to tell your story clearly and with the most impact.

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