6 Types of Nonprofit Video Messages

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of creating a meaningful message when a nonprofit wants to engage with their donors.

With the captivating visuals and persuasive copy that come from the work of a nonprofit, these messages are naturally compelling and have the potential to motivate donors to act. When you add a cinematic touch via video to that message, it becomes the most effective method to draw in viewers and spread the word about the work than any other available option.

People love watching videos!

Video has an unbelievable advantage over other forms of messaging. Studies have shown websites that include a video message are 53 times more likely (Insivia) to reach Google’s front page than those who don’t, and video can boost conversion rates by up to 80% (Unbounce). They educate and entertain viewers quickly, feeding information to them in a comfortable, effective way. To get the right message across to your viewers, it’s important to understand the purpose of your video message.

There are six types of video messages nonprofits can use to get the word out to their donors. Let’s dive into them and offer tips to get the most out of your next video.

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1. The Brand Story

A brand story relays the history, character, motivations, and other defining qualities of your nonprofit, from conception until today. It lays out the facts of your accomplishments, the timeline and development of the organization, and conveys the integral code that your nonprofit’s brand adheres to.

The key to producing an effective brand story video is treating it like a novel. The length of the video must be short, generally between one to two minutes, and the message must be consistent with your other marketing, but it needs to be presented as what it is: a story. The script should provide insight into the nonprofit by following to the common writer’s mantra of “show don’t tell.” You want your audience to feel your message, as much as hear your message. Because time is limited, you should begin with an attention-grabbing image and/or statement, then start right in and tell the story that you want to be known through a narrative arc that will take your donors on a journey.

2. The Awareness Video

An awareness video can be a powerful tool for nonprofits for many reasons. Particularly, when a general understanding about their mission will back up a plea for funding. There are several approaches that can be taken to achieve this goal, but it is important to remember the main issue that matters most to your organization. Raise awareness about who you are and what you do and inspire people to act by offering a donation, spreading the message over social media, or by taking some other specific action.

Producing an awareness video is about creating a story of change. It acts as a transformative agent in that it creates a lasting impression on the viewer’s subconscious. Begin by raising awareness about the way the natural world works and show the viewer just how much change can happen when there is purposeful effort put to it.
This video should not be “preachy.” It merely shares a story of change and leaves the rest up to the viewer to interpret. This style of short video can be incredibly effective for sharing important stories about the completion of projects, achievements, and profiles of people without adding an emotionally charged element to the message.

3. Impact Videos

This is the power player in your video message toolbox. Information that is delivered in an impact video should resound with a level of importance and urgency that goes beyond your other types of videos. This could be a need for immediate funding for a specific project or a call out for volunteers. Use powerful images in your video to demonstrate the significance of your need so your viewers will witness it through their own eyes.

All the creative elements—music, word choice, images—should all be centered around the seriousness of the information being provided. Start with a strong opening that tells the viewer that it is important for them to watch and go on to provide all the information they will need to move forward with your call to action at the end of the video.

4. Event Promo Videos

Typically, when a nonprofit advertises an event it’s cause for celebration. Videos promoting galas, networking events, #GivingTuesday, etc. should all be treated with an appropriate level of enthusiasm. Bring in images and video from past events that can deliver the appropriate emotional punch that will pass that same level of enthusiasm onto the viewer.

Think about your target audience. If they are millennials go for a youthful look and feel in the video. If you are targeting the baby boomer generation write the copy in a way that will appeal to their sensibilities. Ask yourself if your audience is conservative or liberal, are the rural or urban; get to know what will pique their interest and be able to create welcoming feeling that will mimic what they’ll experience at the event. Open the video with visuals in a way that will grab their attention right from the start, then go into the general information and conclude with the details and an invitation to join your team at the big event.

5. Community Update Video

There are times in every organization when a straight-forward message the community needs to hear. Provide the most pertinent details in the short amount of time allowed (11 to 2) and let them know where they can go for more information. If there is something the community needs to do, let them know it in a clear, concise way to inform a community.

Every element in a community update video must be relevant to the message. Images, action, word choice, and background music and sounds must carry a cohesive message in order to provoke the same feelings in the viewer. Drill down on a pointed message with key words that will resonate with the audience is the best way to grab their attention early on in the video.

6. Thank You Videos

As every nonprofit knows, expressing gratitude for every contribution is an invaluable tool in building positive relationships with your donors. If done well, you’ll not only convey your gratitude, you’ll also be securing a donation for future appeals. Passing along the feeling you had when you received their support will help your donors realize just how much their donation has meant to a cause that’s important to them.

The goal of this type of video is to make sure your donors know just how much their funding is appreciated, but you don’t want it to come off as a fake, overly sentimental, even groveling message. Evoke the power of your organization and provide evidence of success through images, testimony, copy, etc. to let your donors know their contribution is being put to good use.

Getting your message out to donors

While all these types of video messages are different in their purpose, they share similarities in their production, dissemination, and the ways you track their success. Keep your message brief—only one to two minutes—and optimize your video with keywords in its title, meta description, and any other related information so search engines can find it.

When it is ready to post share it on your website and across all your social media platforms and video channels. Engage with your viewers when they post comments and encourage them to share your video to further its reach. You can pay to promote your video through ads on most social networks, and you should track its success through your website’s analytics, or the analysis provided through the websites where you publish content.

A video message can create a pathway for donors into your nonprofit. Creating one that is unique to your group and can successfully carry the message you want to convey. Tailoring it to your main donor demographic will make sure it reaches the viewers you want to connect with most.

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