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If you don’t have a good video for your nonprofit work, you need one! YouTube has over 1 billion users (1/3 of all internet users), and even if you have a limited or nonexistent budget, you can make a video that helps share your mission and impact to the world. Here are 8 tips to help you.


Making videos for nonprofits


1. Keep the video length to under 3 minutes

You can record a longer video, but put the most important parts upfront. Most people only have an attention span to watch a video for a few minutes – a few seconds in some cases. Seer research analyzed advertising data to determine a quotient for viewer retention and video length on YouTube. Very clearly, viewing declines rapidly with video length. You will get 20% of your target market to watch a 15 second ad video, but only 2.5% stick in for the full 3 minutes.

2. Copy the best videos

Do some research and copy from the most successful nonprofit videos out there. The doGooder Awards are a good place to start. Sponsored by YouTube, every year the best nonprofit videos win awards for their style and impact. The 2016 winner from a Canadian hospital told a Notebook reminiscent story of love between an elderly couple that received more than 4000 votes.

3. Tell a story

You don’t have to have access to professional equipment, a trained director, or even tech-savvy staff to help you. You do need to tell a story though – engage people in your mission and why they should care. One way is a “testimonial” video, or recording a recipient’s experience with your work. (More about storytelling.)

4. Call your viewers to action with the video

Research indicates that the generations that watch YouTube (Millennials and Generation X) like to actually “take part” in nonprofit action. They are more likely to give if they are engaged in your cause with simple volunteering as a result. Dressember is a good example. It engages women to wear a “uniform”, a dress, every day in December, to silently advocate to end human trafficking. Volunteers can start their own crowdfunding pages to encourage donations as well.

5. Educate your audience with your video content

Telling a story and calling people to action are both important elements of your content, but educating your viewer on why they should care about your mission is also powerful.  Showing what happens when a person doesn’t receive support or providing simple statistics are both means of “educating”.

The Girl Effect’s video has gone viral with more than 2 million views and all it does is educate the viewer of why it is important to empower girls that live in poverty with simple animation, music, and text.

6. Make your video mobile friendly

YouTube reports that more than half of views are on mobile devices. Google offers advice for users that will probably answer all of your questions on how to format your data for upload and to work through posting steps to make your video available on all platforms.

7. Use YouTube’s Nonprofit Help Site

YouTube has an entire program dedicated to nonprofit support. You just need to register your nonprofit for free, and YouTube helps you link “donation cards” directly to videos and gives production access to YouTube’s creator programs and technical support.

8. Use a free or inexpensive video making resource

If working out how to format and upload your video is giving you a headache despite Google and YouTube’s free resources, or you are still perplexed on how to get started, try using a web-based software service that simplifies videos for nonprofits and businesses. Search for “free online video makers” “free video animation” or similar and several services show that offer free trials and low cost video creation tools. For example, Animoto offer free trials and start as low as $8 a month for a subscription to walk you through creating a video quickly, effectively, and with simple resources that any nonprofit has access to. You can even create an entire video from photos or animation if you don’t have the resources to film.

Even if you have to pay a bit for online help, any nonprofit can make a video in just a few simple steps that engages and inspires viewers to not only care more about your mission, but to give more to help you accomplish it.

(More YouTube statistics.)

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