All signs point to 2012 as the “Year of Video” in the nonprofit sector.
And no wonder. Video is perfect for transforming an abstract mission statement into a compelling and very personal story, an annual report into a moving piece about the lives your nonprofit changed, and an orientation packet for new board or staff into a dynamic welcome to your organization. Nonprofits are using video to celebrate their organizations’ history, and even to convey their heartfelt thanks to donors.
Consider this: In one weekend this video, created for the United Nations World Food Programme, was viewed over half a million times and raised enough in donations to feed more than 140,000 children.
You don’t need the muscle of the United Nations to produce compelling video. Anyone and everyone can do it with a few simple tools (or even without: Animoto allows you to create video without a camera, with no budget, and little or no tech skills!). Vimeo even offers a video “school” for “do it yourself” videos.
Many professional videographers have experience working with nonprofits and are skilled in translating abstract goals, outcomes, and theories of change into powerful engagement tools via video. But before you hire a professional, or tackle this as a do-it-yourself project, what do you need to know? We asked our friends at LifePrints Video to create this article for you suggesting tips for getting started with video.
More Tips from the Pros:
Five more tips for making compelling videos, from Wild Apricot:
“1. Reach out: Think of your video as one-half of a conversation, not ‘a shrunken TV screen‘ on which you must perform. Ask questions, invite comments, and let your viewers know…where they can find more information about your cause and continue the dialogue.
2. Partner up with like-minded organizations to promote each other's work -- or even to collaborate on your podcasting ventures. YouTube's channels and search function make it easy to find other nonprofits on YouTube who are working for the same cause.
3. Keep it fresh: Frequently updated content will keep an audience coming back for more: consider a series of short videos, rather than one long.
4. Spread your message by embedding your video in your blog, on your website, and on social-networking sites... Include the link in your organization's newsletter, or email it to your members with an invitation to view, comment, and share.
5. Be genuine: Slick professional video production is much less important in this new media than a sense of honest communication -- person to person -- about this cause that's close to your heart.”
What is the measure of success of a video? The number of views may not be the measure of success of a video. Instead, your goal may be to attract new donors, educate viewers, or engage viewers in a campaign for your cause. One huge benefit of video storytelling: Visibility. Posting a video on your nonprofit’s website is likely to increase the overall visibility of your nonprofit. According to Storyfarm New Media’s principal Dan Gerlach: “Google and most other search engines LOVE video on websites. If you're hoping to attract new eyes to your site, consider this ...a website with video on it is 50 times more likely to appear at the top of organic search results than a website without it!" Consider posting your nonprofit’s video to YouTube. “In addition to the potential search engine optimization, someone may stumble on the video and be drawn from YouTube over to your nonprofit’s site” advises Rick Cohen, of the National Council of Nonprofits. Visit YouTube's nonprofit page for more tips and tricks on using video to help raise the visibility of your nonprofit.
Many State Associations of nonprofits are a resource for finding videographers, learning more about incorporating video into a nonprofit’s communications portfolio, and even for creating videos. We loved hearing a story from the Montana Nonprofit Association about how loaning their video camera to a member horse rescue organization resulted in that group being able to demonstrate to a potential funder through video how bringing water from one pasture to another was a critical need for the organization – literally an example of how pictures were “worth a thousand words.” We also love the topic of an upcoming training sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits: How Nonprofits Can Successfully Use YouTube to Become Powerful Storytellers (February 15, Sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits). For more help creating and learning about the power of video, connect with resources offered by your State Association of nonprofits.
Prediction for 2012 from eMarketer.com: 71% of US internet users will be watching online video each month.
Nonprofit Marketing 360: “Make your video brief, friendly, perhaps a bit off-kilter, and don’t worry about whether the video goes viral.”
Both YouTube and Vimeo have special hosting features that make it possible for nonprofits to upload a library of videos onto their sites.
Outlook for 2012: Charities still facing challenges, survey finds
Sixty-five percent of charities surveyed experienced higher demand for their services in the first nine months of 2011, according to a recent survey by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative. The responses from charitable nonprofits with under $3 million in assets reported higher declines than larger nonprofits, and were more likely to report plans for budget and service cuts in 2012.