1. Tell a story.
If you want your audience to identify with your mission, you need a compelling story that connects your work to real people. If a story moves you, it will likely move others as well—and become the foundation for deeper involvement.
2. Be relevant.
People respond to what’s going on around them, so try to relate to the news or the calendar as much as possible. You’ll also have a better chance at success if you’re pitching your video to bloggers or other websites—they’re always looking for something current and fresh.
3. Tell them what you want.
You have their attention, now tell your viewers how you want them to engage, whether it’s donating money, visiting a website, or volunteering. They won’t know to give unless you ask for it.
4. Be brief.
Few people are watching your 7-minute online video—that only works when you have them locked in a room. Try to get everything out in 2 minutes or less.
5. Videos don’t raise money by themselves.
Your organization should think of online video as one of many tools to fit into your fundraising program. Adopting video into your organization is critical, but it has to be a means instead of an end.
6. Embed video on your donations page.
The distance between the “play” button and the “donate” button should be short. Also, give your viewer the right web tools. Can the viewer forward the video to a friend, subscribe to your RSS feed, get involved, and sign up for your newsletter right there on the spot? If not, they should.
7. Put video at the center of a campaign.
Video is often best used in the context of a campaign. A campaign can be raising money for a particular village, trying to reach a specific goal, or giving limited to a specific timeframe.
8. Empower your viewers.
Ever heard of peer-to-peer fundraising? Encourage your audience to pass your videos along. Make the embed code easily accessible within your page so your video can reach a broader audience.
9. Create a media library.
Start gathering your footage now—you might have all the ingredients already! Building a media library is a valuable long-term asset for your organization. Have a camera ready for every important event. Ask volunteers to document their work and make it available for future events, trainings, and online use. Using existing footage you get more bang for the buck.
You don’t know if something works unless you test it. Send out emails with email and some without, and measure the results. Each nonprofit will have different nuances, and you’ll want to know when using video is most effective.
11. Know when not to use video.
Truth is, your strongest donors will likely donate with or without online video. They have been already, right? They don’t need any extra convincing. Use online video for attracting new audiences, for driving specific campaigns, for empowering your membership to spread your story or for deepening or expanding existing relationships.