A Beginner's Guide to Video Marketing for Nonprofits to Inspire Action

A Beginner's Guide to Video Marketing for Nonprofits to Inspire Action

Did you know that, in a survey conducted by Google, 79% of nonprofit donors said that online videos were the most influential element in their decision to donate? 

Consider our minds blown. 

Video marketing for nonprofits is a rapidly growing technique that is proving to be one of the most beneficial methods of reaching audiences. 

So, naturally, we want to help you get started! 

Read on for more on inspiring donors to take action through nonprofit video storytelling. 


What is Video Marketing for Nonprofits? 

Video marketing is another tool to sling in your nonprofit marketing tool belt. And as the online space continues to prioritize visual content, like short videos, it’s a tool that you may want to consider learning for your organization. 


What is Nonprofit Video Storytelling? 

Within the umbrella of video marketing, there’s something we call nonprofit video storytelling. 

This technique combines video marketing and nonprofit storytelling. And when it does, it creates powerful content that hooks your reader’s attention so they become invested in your mission. 

We know that storytelling works. The human brain is hardwired to subconsciously create stories so we can make sense of information. 

But studies are showing that video storytelling is taking it a step further! 


Why Is It Important to Prioritize Visual Storytelling? 

While we know that stories in any form are powerful, research is showing us that visual stories are even greater. 


Because, according to research from 3M Corporation, humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. 

So, while prioritizing nonprofit copywriting to effectively communicate your mission on the internet will always be beneficial… 

…using nonprofit videos throughout your marketing means explaining your mission to your audience even faster. 


4 Tips to Help Your Organization Get Started with Nonprofit Video Storytelling

If nonprofit video storytelling is so wonderful, then how are you supposed to get started with it? 

Try using these 4 tips to leverage the power of visual stories for your mission: 


1. Come Up with a Video Storytelling Strategy

Just like with any major marketing move, it’s always a great idea to sit down and create a strategy. 

Within your visual storytelling strategy, you’ll want to decide: 

  • Where you’ll post your videos -  (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, your nonprofit’s blog, the website?) 
  • You’ll also want to establish what kind of content you want to film. Will you educate your audience about your mission? Showcase volunteers or staff? Will you provide “boots on the ground” content that depicts the cause you’re fighting for? 
  • And, come up with a percentage of nurture and fundraising content. A healthy mix of both kinds of content often creates better results for your organization. 


2. You Don’t Have to Start with Top-Tier Equipment

Just because you want your nonprofit to get started with video marketing doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy the most professional equipment. 

We live in the 21st century! And that means there are plenty of resources to get you started that won’t break the bank. 

If you’re just starting to dabble in video marketing for nonprofits, try using the equipment you already have: your smartphone! 

iPhones and Androids are powerful video cameras right in our pockets. So using that to start with, along with some smaller equipment can still get you started on creating amazing visual content. 

Try adding in a tripod to help reduce camera shake, which leaves your videos feeling more “amateur-hour.” 

Once you have the videos filmed, take them into a post-processing tool to add in any edits or visual effects. Simple tools like Adobe Lightroom can help with this! 

Or, if you want more advanced programs, check out this guide at Nonprofit-Apps! 


3. Use Video to Tell Stories, Not Just Facts

In a lot of nonprofit marketing as a whole, many organizations rely on facts to get their message and point across. 

And it’s true that readers need those facts to make a decision. Because in the end, before someone decides to donate, they need to justify it to themselves logically. 

However, logic isn’t the only motivator for donating to a nonprofit. Emotion is just as important. In fact, 95% of the purchases consumers make (including donations to nonprofits) are first driven by emotion. 

The great thing about nonprofit videos is your organization can use compelling, powerful imagery. And in doing so, your visual narratives can tap into the emotion needed to empower someone to donate. 

As you’re creating your nonprofit videos, be sure to use both facts and imagery to touch on the logical and emotional sides of your supporter’s brain. 


4. Start with the Power of One

When it comes time to film your content, focus on the power of one. The human brain, when it’s presented with too much information, can become overloaded. That leads us into a state of information paralysis which keeps us from taking action on anything. 

AKA - your supporters will feel less inclined to donate to your cause if you overload them with information. 

So, try focusing on one element. For example, if you’re getting footage of dogs that need adopting from your animal shelter, introduce your audience to one dog. 

This does two things: 

It keeps the brain from feeling overwhelmed by the number of dogs that all need adopting. 

And it allows the brain to make a deeper connection with the one dog. With that deeper connection, your audience is more likely to take action. 


3 Incredible Nonprofit Visual Storytelling Examples to Help You Get Inspired: 

It might be hard to get started with video marketing for nonprofits if you’re not familiar with a successful visual story. 

While success varies from nonprofit to nonprofit (for a number of different reasons), the best thing you can do is look within your organization. What does your organization need from videos for your marketing efforts to be successful? 

And how can you tailor your videos to reach your ideal donors so they feel inspired to take action? 

Start with those two factors, first. 

But, to help you feel more inspired, we’re sharing 3 nonprofit visual storytelling examples! 


1. Charity: Water’s “About Us” Video

On the home page of their nonprofit website, Charity: Water uses a 20-minute, long-form video that introduces new supporters to their mission. 

It’s a longer video, but they immediately suck you into their story. How? By focusing on the creator of the nonprofit. The video starts with his story as a young child and how it eventually led to his desire to leave this world better than he found it. 

The video uses the power of one by focusing solely on his story as the creator of the organization. 

2. International Rescue Committee’s Facebook Ads

International Rescue Committee uses short-form (think 15-30 second) videos for their Facebook Ads. 

In these ads, they combine both a text caption and video marketing to create a more compelling story for their readers. 

And here’s an interesting part – many of their video ads don’t have narration. Instead, they use nonprofit copywriting to write text for the videos. Then, they use footage from countries in need to show viewers what’s happening in countries that are in need of assistance. 


3. Sea Shepherd’s Educational Videos

Sea Shepherd has several different videos on one of the nonprofit website’s pages. Many of them are no longer than 2 and a half minutes. 

But they all, for the most part, are great at doing one thing: educating their readers on their mission. 

Rather than telling the story of their creators, they tell the story of the Earth, or as they call it, “Planet Ocean.” 

Their videos, similar to International Rescue Committee’s, don’t always feature narration. Instead, it’s compelling copy laid over the top of footage from their rescue missions on the ocean. 

But the transition work, the music choice used in post-production, and the ocean-life audio all weave a story that’s propelled by the copy! 

Video marketing for nonprofits is an incredible tool to use for your organization. And while it’s recently become more popular, we don’t see this as a trend. It’s more than likely a marketing tool that will be used for years (or decades) to come. 

And if you’re looking to get started with nonprofit video storytelling, then we’re here to help you! 

Take a Look at Our Nonprofit Video Storytelling Training Using Smartphones!

Topics: nonprofit marketing, nonprofit social media marketing plan, Video for nonprofits