What Makes an Outstanding Nonprofit Video Campaign?


Guest post by Maddie Rockwell

Video is a powerful marketing resource for nonprofit managers — if used correctly. Whether you hope to advance your programs to a wider segment of the community you serve, bring your organization’s work to the attention of potential donors or have an entirely different goal, video may be the right medium for your message. Let’s look at some of the elements of a successful nonprofit video campaign.

Know Your Purpose

First of all, you’ll need to have a clear vision as to the purpose of your
video campaign. Usually, nonprofit videos aim to increase awareness about a particular program or project, often as part of a fundraising campaign. Really pinpointing what you want your video to accomplish will help you craft a message that will be well received by your target demographic. Though some videos may meet more than one purpose, each video that is finely tuned to your audience will be noticed, shared and remembered.

If your video is meant for fundraising purposes, look at some of the more successful recent nonprofit-fundraising-video campaigns and see if any of their tactics would work to tell your nonprofit’s story. For example, taking a look at some of the finalists for YouTube’s DoGooder Awards, which recognizes successful nonprofit video campaigns, will give you some inspiration.

Know Your Impact

Build your video campaign around authentic footage and sound bites. Though your first instinct may be to include interviews with people from the board of directors, marketing managers or other administrators — after all, they’re the ones who know the facts and figures, right? — it’s actually best to depict the community your project will impact. With video, you can show viewers exactly why your programs are essential and share some stories that illustrate the true need that makes your project worthy of funding. If possible, focus on the real people who benefit from your nonprofit’s actions. While the administrators of your nonprofit can certainly explain the numbers and strategies of your programs, it may be better to include interviews with third-party officials, such as local government officers or other high-standing members of your community. Then, see if you can work that information in through their words.

Know What’s Shareable

The best nonprofit video campaigns consist of relatively short videos, especially if you’ve created these videos with the intent for them to be shared online. The challenge for nonprofit managers, hoping that their messages will be seen and enjoyed, is that the Internet is full of other content competing for viewers’ attention. Keeping the videos to three minutes or less will increase the probability your viewers will watch the videos in their entirety; a video that is only a minute or 30 seconds long will have a higher likelihood of being finished.


However, it takes just as much time — and possibly even more — to produce a short video as it does to make a longer one. This is an important point to remember when you are creating the budget for your film and seeking permission to fund it from your board. To have the best possible results, you’ll want to give your video production team permission to shoot and reshoot scenes they think will be most compelling and provide plenty of time in your production schedule for tight editing.

Once you’ve produced your content, your next task is sharing your videos with the world. Ideally, your social media manager will have been involved in the production process from the beginning and will be poised to introduce your videos on the platforms where they’ll be noticed the most. Choosing your distribution sources is also important. If you’re using YouTube or a similar social-sharing service to host your videos, you’ll want to make sure your social media managers spends some time setting up your nonprofit’s profile and optimizing your presence on that platform. Don’t forget that you can include links and teasers to your video campaign on your company’s blog, website and newsletters as well as on social media profiles.

By researching other nonprofits’ videos, seeking out authentic voices and images for your video and taking care to optimize how you distribute your videos, your organization will enjoy a successful nonprofit video campaign that the world cannot wait to see.

Contributing blogger, Maddie Rockwell is a techie with 8 years of experience with technology and social media.  She is also a regular volunteer for several nonprofit organizations and enjoys helping the less fortunate.

One Comment on “What Makes an Outstanding Nonprofit Video Campaign?”

  1. trevormaat
    November 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    “However, it takes just as much time — and possibly even more — to produce a short video as it does to make a longer one. “–which is very true. One road-bump we often hit is a desire to compress the message, but as something gets passed through stakeholders, suddenly the message becomes much longer and convoluted.

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