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Video is the perfect medium for storytelling and creating an emotional connection to a cause, which is why many nonprofits find fundraising videos to be a worthwhile effort.
In this guide, we’ll explore what different types of nonprofit videos are out there and why each is useful. We’ll also share advice on how to make the best videos, and where and how to share them as part of your overall fundraising strategy.
What are nonprofit videos and why are they so valuable?
Nonprofit videos are just like any other type of video content you might see online, only they’re created to serve the mission or goals of a nonprofit organization or campaign.
Video forms a key part of many nonprofit and marketing engagement strategies. An incredible platform for storytelling, video is a strategy that successful nonprofits use in abundance. Successful nonprofit fundraising videos help organizations increase awareness about their cause, connect with their community, and raise vital funds.
Not only do online videos grab people’s attention, but they also keep it. In fact, viewers remember 95% of a message told in a video. That’s why nonprofit video storytelling is such an effective tool to wake people up and inspire change.
Types of nonprofit video production
The best nonprofit video strategies make the most of various kinds of videos. Each format offers different benefits and helps you engage with your audience in a new way. When assessing your capacity for fundraising video production, you’ve got a few different options.
Live videos 🎥
For entertaining, informative, and collaborative content, live video is generally a lower lift, production-wise.
Whether you’re broadcasting a campaign update from your phone via Facebook Live, hosting an interactive Q&A, or livestreaming your benefit show via Zoom, live video has an exciting, informal, fun quality that makes viewers part of the action.
Self-recorded videos 🤳
Filmed before you share them with the world to give you more control over the final outcome, these videos are relatively simple, straight-to-camera shots that anyone can record right from their computer or smartphone, selfie-style.
You can cut them down a bit before sharing, and even brand them by adding some simple titles and a logo—no major editing needed. You can see several different examples of this kind of video on the campaign page for Fostering Great Ideas’ 10th-anniversary fundraiser.
Produced videos 🍿
Perfect for informative, educational, and promotional content like explainer videos, event recaps, and donor request videos, these videos are edited together from different kinds of elements—interviews, testimonials, photos, “B-roll” footage, music, and even animations.
You don’t have to hire a video production company to create these for you (though you can!). Free online platforms like VideoAsk, Loom, and Canva and apps like InShot allow you to import your video clips and edit them online with user-friendly tools and templates. Offline, Mac users can use the free iMovie software, and folks with Windows on their PC have OpenShot.
You can make a pros and cons list of each type of video, but all are worth considering across your entire campaign strategy. Think of pre-recorded and edited videos for when you want to get the message just right and live videos for when you want to drive more interaction between you and your community.
15 of the most effective fundraising video ideas
Since videos provide such a wide variety of possibilities, the type of content you decide to create is entirely up to you. Here are some of the best fundraising video ideas to help you visualize how they can make your next campaign even more engaging.
1. Nonprofit mission or brand videos ✨
Your nonprofit brand video can be vital to explaining who you are and what you stand for. It’s a great way to connect with your audience, educate them about your mission, and show what they can do to help.
Mission videos should be informative and inspirational. You can also use brand videos to show off your company culture, share the history of your cause, and even show what a “day in the life” is like at your organization.
Learn more about how the team behind Junkyard Social Club hit their fundraising goal with crowdfunding and fun-filled brand videos.
2. Fundraising livestreams 🖥️
Livstreaming fundraisers are the twenty-first century’s answer to telethons. But instead of taking donations over the phone, you can do it all online.
Livestream video, whether fully virtual or executed as a hybrid event, gives you the opportunity to tell viewers about your cause while incorporating special guest appearances, unscripted hijinks, and even performances from musicians and other entertainers.
With a platform like Givebutter, you can sell tickets, collect donations, and host your fundraiser livestream all from one simple fundraising event page. Build momentum with a goal bar that updates in real time, and shout out donors as they contribute—the more interaction, the better.
Take a look at how Amate House used video livestreaming for a virtual gala that raised $117K!
3. Interviews 👥
Interview videos put the spotlight on someone within your organization or wider area of work. Think about the people involved in your cause—could you interview your CEO, an industry expert, a volunteer, or a beneficiary of your nonprofit?
Use this kind of video as an opportunity for viewers to learn more about not only your cause or issue but also the inspiring leaders and changemakers within it. If it’s long, break it up into a few shorter, more digestible parts, so people are more likely to tune in.
4. Testimonials 💌
Sharing real-life experiences allows you to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Testimonial videos showcase the inspirational stories from people affiliated with your cause and demonstrate the positive effect you’ve made.
Offer a prompt or two, like “What has [nonprofit name] helped you achieve?” or “Why do you donate to [nonprofit name] each month?” Respondents can self-record on their own device or have someone film for them.
Testimonials can ultimately encourage viewers to get involved and help make a difference—whether that’s volunteering, donating, or spreading awareness. Share them one at a time on social media or in an email series, or group them together to tell a bigger story about your impact.
See how Cycles of Change weaves informal interviews and testimonials into their entire fundraising campaign.
5. Advocacy videos 💪
Showcase your community’s experiences and concerns in a first-person voice and motivate viewers to take action with an advocacy video.
This style can be a powerful way to connect your organization’s mission to the wider issue at hand and gather support from those with power, providing decision-makers with much-needed context about how certain issues impact a given community. Just make sure to provide a clear call to action at the end (yes, making a donation counts!).
6. Special announcements 📣
Any significant news or organizational change is worthy of a livestream. Great examples include the announcement of a new leadership team, program, product, service, or event.
Build hype around major news and announcements by promoting your livestream ahead of time. Let your audience know that big news is coming and drive anticipation ahead of you making the big reveal.
7. Campaign videos 🌟
A campaign video showcases the purpose of a particular effort, demonstrating why you’re doing it, what the impact will be, and why yours is a cause worth getting behind. These videos can be used to drive your audience to take action, whether it be to donate as part of a fundraising drive or to write an email to state officials as part of an advocacy campaign.
Who doesn’t feel moved to donate after watching this video featured in the Prospector Theater’s 2022 Giving Tuesday campaign?
8. Newsjacking and reporting 🌍
When news hits that’s connected to your issue, don’t hesitate to join the conversation with your own video content.
The news media may get things wrong or only tell part of the story, so this is your organization’s opportunity to demonstrate your authority on the topic, correct the record, deepen the conversation, and/or elevate the voices of people who are directly impacted.
The best thing you can do is to promote ways that the concerned public can help out. Just make sure your video gets seen by this wider audience by sharing it with hashtags related to the news and tagging news outlets, journalists, partners, and policymakers.
9. Nonprofit explainer videos 🧠
Explainer videos are highly popular in the business world as they give you an easy way to communicate a challenging concept or process.
In the charity video world, they can be used to spell out your mission, demonstrate why you do what you do, and illustrate how you plan to make a difference. You can see how Help Peru features an explainer video in their fundraising campaign story.
These videos should be short, informative, and shareable. The goal is for your viewers to understand your mission, purpose, program, or campaign so they can build trust and find their way into your community.
If you’ve got a lot of information to share, consider breaking it up into a few one-minute segments.
10. Request for donations 🙏
Amidst all the storytelling, don’t forget to make “the ask.” This straightforward kind of donation video enables you to communicate an urgent need and ask for much-needed funds directly and succinctly.
Videos asking for donations can be used throughout your digital marketing campaigns and also during fundraising events or crowdfunding campaigns to inspire action—make sure you highlight the urgency to prompt your supporters to act now and make it easy for them to take the next step with a short URL, QR code, or text-to-donate number.
You don’t need fancy cameras and graphics to make a video that hits hard, like this one from L-CMD Research Foundation which serves as both a compelling campaign video and an ask for donations.
11. Event recaps 🔄
Maybe your youth group recently held a car wash to raise money for a service trip, or you gathered volunteers to spend the day picking up trash around the city. These events make a lasting impact, one that deserves to be captured on video.
No matter the event, recap videos give viewers a glimpse of the helpful, creative, and fun events your organization puts together. Not only do they help you engage with your audience, but they can be a great way to encourage future volunteers.
12. Impact stories 💛
Impact story videos feature personal stories about the positive change that your organization has had on the lives of those you work with. In addition to testimonials, impact stories can also include program success statistics, further evidence of your impact (like any media coverage you’ve had), and even a collection of testimonials that captures the difference you’ve made in your community.
💪 Pro tip: Create a library of testimonial and campaign success videos that you can roll out for future impact videos, awards shows, donor engagement events, and stakeholder meetings.
Facing Homelessness showcases several videos on their fundraising campaign page, including this heartfelt collection of impact stories from both volunteers and people receiving services.
13. Q&As 🙋
Q&A livestream videos are one the best ways to create engagement between you and your community, especially if there’s a big announcement or topical discussion to be had. Like a town hall or a Reddit AMA, open the floor for questions and give your audience the chance to ask what’s on their minds.
Your answers not only let you engage with individual supporters in real time, but you can also record your livestream and spread your message even further.
14. Recurring video series 📅
A weekly, monthly, or quarterly video series is a great way to get your brand out there, educate your audience, and build a deeper relationship with your supporters.
Whether live or pre-recorded, your recurring series can cover news related to your issue, interviews with special guests, partner spotlights, volunteer and staff appreciation—the sky’s the limit.
Make your time investment go further by recording these sessions and releasing them as video content or podcast interviews. These don’t have to look like the ABC Evening News—a simple setup is fine.
15. Thank you videos for donors 👏
Thanking your supporters isn't just polite; it's an effective strategy to reach your long-term fundraising goals. In fact, donors who receive a thank-you within 48 hours of making a contribution are four times more likely to give again.
While a handwritten card is nice, nothing beats gratitude expressed face-to-face—even virtually. With Givebutter's ThankView integration, you can send personalized thank-you videos to your supporter base at scale. These short videos can be sent via text or email, and help you thank donors, track your ROI, and build relationships for future engagement.
How to create a fundraising video that converts
Making videos can become expensive, even if you’re only accounting for your team’s time in creating them.
Get the most from your investment and make a bigger impact with these tips on how to make a fundraising video that’s worth watching and sharing:
Focus on quality 💡
Adjust your lighting, remove distracting backgrounds, and invest in the best quality audio and visual equipment that you can. Use music and sound effects to help you tell a compelling story, and add graphic elements and visuals to create engaging transitions and calls to action.
You can seek out the support of groups that specialize in video marketing for nonprofits, like those in the Givebutter Experts community.
Keep it short ⏰
Most people will be watching on their phones. Get to the point quickly, and let your viewer know exactly why you’re there. Aim to keep your video length under two minutes, so that it’s engaging and shareable.
Make an emotional connection 💛
Highlight real people’s stories and share photos or video footage of people’s faces. Tell your story with heart, and hold your audience’s attention with emotive language, imagery, and sound.
Establish urgency and importance 🚨
Explain why you’re sharing this message now, and encourage your audience to take immediate action. Try to share only one core message and call to action so that it doesn’t get diluted.
Be prepared 💪
Write a fundraising video script, rehearse, and work out any issues before you start recording. If your video isn’t live, it’s okay to shoot more than once, repeat lines to get them right, and try multiple angles.
Assign roles ahead of time 🗣️
Who will provide tech support? Who will monitor the Q&A and other elements of viewer participation? Who’s making sure we hit all our talking points? Ask yourself these questions and other to make sure all of your bases are covered.
Make it accessible 💬
Use an automatic tool or assign a team member to add transcriptions and subtitles to your videos, to make them more accessible and easier for everyone to watch (and share) on social media.
Video hosting sites like YouTube often provide automatic closed-captioning, or you can upload a file with your captions written out. Free or low-cost captioning sites like Zubtitle or Kapwing can make this process quick and easy, so don't skip it!
Take a multi-channel approach 👯
Promote your videos via email or text, and share them on your supporter feed. And any video marketing strategy should use nonprofit ocial media strategies like paid advertising and influencer marketing to reach potential donors.
Increase the impact of your fundraising videos with Givebutter
Video is one of the most powerful mediums for fundraising out there. With video, you can raise awareness, connect with your audience, demonstrate your impact, and rally support behind your mission or goal. Use these video fundraising tips and ideas to enhance the way you approach video marketing for your nonprofit.
As you invest more in creating compelling video content this year, Givebutter is here to help you spread your message further. Discover a better way to connect with your supporters to build relationships, drive engagement, and raise more funds for your nonprofit organization.
Free nonprofit marketing and donor engagement tools
Help your fundraising video go further—sign up and give Givebutter a try today.
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