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In today’s digital age, video content has become an essential tool for nonprofits seeking to raise awareness, engage supporters, and drive positive change in their communities. However, with the vast sea of content available online, it can be difficult to distinguish your nonprofit’s videos from the rest.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through five best practices that will not only help your videos rise above the noise but also inspire meaningful action. Whether you’re a seasoned videographer or just starting to explore the world of video production, these insights will help you create the best nonprofit video content.

1. Start With a Clear Goal

Multiple, conflicting objectives can dilute the impact and effectiveness of a video, making it difficult to encourage the intended action. To prevent this, pinpoint a specific objective, such as raising funds, increasing awareness, or inspiring volunteerism, for each video.

Use that goal to inform the videos that you make, which may include:

  • Fundraising videos. These videos inspire viewers to donate money or lend their in-kind support to your cause. They often highlight the urgency and importance of reaching a specific fundraising goal.
  • Testimonial videos. With testimonial videos, you’ll shine a light on individuals involved in your mission, such as beneficiaries, volunteers, donors, or staff members. Showcasing their real voices and stories can build trust with viewers.
  • Explainer videosAs short, informative clips, explainer videos clarify complex topics related to your nonprofit’s mission. For instance, if you promote sustainable agricultural practices, you could simplify concepts like crop rotation, soil health, and biodiversity through a visually appealing video.
  • Organizational videos. These videos provide an overview of your nonprofit, its mission, history, and the scope of work to raise brand awareness. Plus, it helps your nonprofit stay transparent and gain trust.

While each video should have a narrow focus, you should produce diverse content to keep viewers engaged. For instance, create an organizational video to introduce new donors to your cause. Then, send out an explainer video to clarify how your programs work and use a fundraising video to solicit their support.

2. Tell a Story

Stories have the power to elicit empathy and inspire action, which is often more effective than presenting facts and figures alone. As you plan your next video, ensure you account for the following storytelling elements:

  • A compelling main character: Having a main character humanizes your nonprofit’s work and provides a relatable focal point for your audience. Choose an individual with a compelling narrative related to your cause. This could be a beneficiary of your nonprofit’s services, a volunteer, a staff member, or a donor.
  • A clear setting: Anchor your video in a setting that is relevant to your message. When filming an organizational video, for example, you may choose to take viewers on a journey through your facility or the communities that you serve. For testimonials, on the other hand, you could use a plain backdrop to center the focus on your main character.
  • A beginning, middle, and end: Add structure to your video with a clear beginning, middle, and end. One way to add this structure is to introduce your main character, explain their connection to your cause, and position the viewer as another critical component of your mission.

Studies show that 65% of video consumers prefer short-form video content, so aim to keep these stories under 2 to 3 minutes in length. If you have more information to share, consider creating a video series. For instance, leading up to your year-end fundraiser, you may film multiple campaign videos, each one introducing a new character and providing updates on your fundraising progress.

3. Prioritize Visual Appeal

Visual elements grab your viewers’ attention and draw them into your story. In addition to using lighting, color correction, and video editing to enhance the overall visual appeal of your video, you should:

  • Focus on composition and framing. Pay close attention to the composition of your shots. Use the rule of thirds to place subjects or key elements off-center and add visual interest.
  • Maintain consistent branding. Maintain consistent visual style and branding throughout the video. Incorporate your nonprofit’s logo, color scheme, and fonts into the content to create a professional and cohesive look that reinforces your organization’s brand identity.

If your budget allows for it, consider collaborating with skilled videographers or designers to ensure your video meets high visual standards.

4. Call Your Viewers to Action

In the final scene of your video, invite viewers to take action in support of your cause, making sure to:

  • Be clear and specific. Your call to action (CTA) should leave no room for ambiguity. Clearly state the action you want the viewer to take, whether it’s donating, signing up for a newsletter, volunteering, or sharing the video. For example, “donate to our crowdfunding campaign” is a clear CTA, as opposed to “support our cause.”
  • Create a sense of urgency. Encourage immediate action through terms like “now” or “today” and let your audience know why it’s important to act promptly. For instance, when asking viewers to donate, you might say, “Donate now to feed an influx of puppies at our animal shelter.”
  • Include contact information. Make it easy for viewers to connect with your organization and stay engaged beyond the video. Alongside your CTA, provide contact information, links to your website, or a QR code to your social media profiles.

Getting Attention’s guide to donor engagement recommends tracking relevant metrics like click-through rates, response rates, and website visits to analyze the effectiveness of your CTAs and refine your approach.

5. Optimize for Sharing

Once your video has been filmed and edited, publish it to Vimeo or YouTube. Then, optimize it for sharing by:

  • Crafting a compelling thumbnail and title. The first thing potential viewers see is your video’s thumbnail and title. Create an eye-catching thumbnail image and a title that accurately describes the video’s purpose to increase click-through rates.
  • Incorporating social sharing buttons. Add social sharing buttons or links within the video player or in the video description. These buttons enable viewers to quickly share the video across their social media platforms, expanding its reach to a wider audience.
  • Sharing on multiple platforms. Don’t limit your marketing efforts to just one channel. Tectonic Video’s guide to marketing recommends sharing your content across various social media platforms, your website, and email newsletters to reach a wider audience. Different platforms may attract different segments of your audience, so diversifying your distribution channels can be highly effective.

As you promote your video, encourage viewers to leave comments and respond to them. Engaging with your audience fosters a sense of community around your video, making viewers more likely to share it and bring others into the conversation.

By implementing these best practices, your nonprofit can create videos that not only stand out but make a lasting impact on your cause. Remember, the power of video storytelling lies in its ability to connect people to your mission. Remain authentic and your efforts will be a success.

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