I think video is a hugely important way to talk to donors and show them what you’re doing. It’s quick, visual and human. You could never get the same feelings across in a tweet or a letter that you could with a two-minute video. But as usual, the social sector is lagging behind in using this now-cheap tool. After all, people are spending tonnes of time on Youtube: The average American watched 200 videos in July 2012 alone! And over the last five years, the average time spent watching videos online increased by over 600%.*
If your organization hasn’t jumped on the video bandwagon, then you should march right over there and spank your fundraising and marketing colleagues. Any video, no matter how simple, can create a personal connection to a donor. Try it out for god’s sake! Just get that iPhone out and practice with a client who’d like to talk about your services, or film the kittens at the shelter with you talking in the background about what donor dollars are used for, or record a brief Q&A with one of your researchers. You can use the video from your phone as-is, or upgrade to a little video camera and buy some simple editing software. Here’s a good example of some basic, low-budget fun from my friends at Options for Sexual Health, shot to promote an upcoming event.
Are you starting to believe me? Great! Now let’s have a look at the best of the bunch for some inspiration. Note the one thing they all have in common – Spoiler Alert! – they cause an emotional reaction. And I should mention I am a harsh critic with a nose for “suckyness”, so the emotional reaction can’t be manipulatively over-the-top.
This is the funny one! The best example of a video used to thank donors that I have ever seen. From Bowling Green State University, obviously crafted to thank donors after a capital campaign. Watch it and die laughing!
A public service announcement from the UK. No words, very strong. Check it out:
A break-away hit from the private sector that addresses attitudes about mental illness. Again, no spoken words but a simple message at the end. Have a look:
What you should steal from these
- Use spokespeople from the frontlines. Notice how there are no CEOs in any of these videos!
- Keep it short! If your video is over four minutes long, you are including too much info.
- Don’t try to tell the whole story of your organization. Just tell one story about a person.
- Use music – it’s an amazing emotional trigger. I saw you tapping your feet to that Falcon’s song!
Now go get that iPhone!
– Siobhan : )