The following article was written by Heather Wardle, CFRE at the request of the editor of Gift Planning in Canada, July 2013.
Nearly all nonprofits recognize the significance of the video revolution and the powerful storytelling potential that it offers. Creating and sharing videos has never been easier or cheaper, yet studies show that online video is underused by charities.
In June, YouTube published the results of the first-ever survey on nonprofits using online video. Of those surveyed,
- 80% said that video is important to their organization today
- 91% said they want to make more video
- 62% said they designate very little or no staff time for video production and distribution
Is your organization using video to tell its story? If not, what’s holding you back?
Many charities are intimidated by video, thinking that they need a lot of money, staff time, expertise and specialized equipment to create video content.
Here are some tips on how you can start today using the tools and resources you likely already have at your fingertips.
- Think about your video strategy — who you want to interact with, what you want to say and what your call to actions will be.
- Find a video-maker in your midst. You likely have a staff member, volunteer or intern who would love to create videos as part of his or her role. Find someone who already has some video experience or train someone who has the interest. There are plenty of online classes and local workshops.
- Start with the equipment you’ve already got. Smart phones, digital cameras, tablets and laptops with web cams can all be used to shoot your video. In addition, most computers come with free editing software, such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker.
- Get your field staff to film and photograph your charity at work. Donors love being able to see their gifts in action.
- Create a photo and video archive and a back-up system to store your materials. The cost of a back-up hard drive is less than $200. If you have a system for filing and tagging your visual resources from the start, you’ll save a lot of time later on.
- Get your feet wet with small, simple projects. Use your iPhone or digital camera to film little clips of your organization’s work and share them via your charity’s Facebook page, blog and website. Or use your photos, add music and create a video slideshow.
- Sign up for YouTube Nonprofits at YouTube.com/nonprofits This is available free to registered charities in Canada and the US, and allows you to create your own branded YouTube page, to have call-to-action overlays on your videos, and live streaming of your events.
- Make sure that your videos get viewed by making them sharable, embeddable and searchable. YouTube’s Playbook for Good gives advice on writing descriptions and tags.
Nonprofits yield more than 4 billion views on YouTube – one view for every 2 people on the planet! So far only 22,000 charities and nonprofits have signed up to YouTube’s nonprofit program. If your charity isn’t one of them, I hope this article will inspire you to build your video program today.