Year-End Fundraising Through Video Content

As the year comes to a close and donation season enters full force, nonprofits must explore every available avenue to cultivate contributions. Today’s consumer behavior, namely the increasing amount of time individuals dedicate to watching online video, compels organizations to utilize film as a means of capturing attention. Almost half of all Internet users frequent YouTube. More than one billion unique viewers visit the site each month where they consume over six billion hours of content (YouTube Stats).

This demand may seem daunting to a nonprofit with limited time and resources; however, Beth of Beth’s Blog makes some incredibly helpful suggestions that we have tweaked and expanded upon. Here are several ways to go about creating fewer, effective clips, recycling material, taking advantage of specific programs, and making the most of a final product.

Video Content: Tips to help make cost efficient yet successful appeals

1. Reuse footage from previous projects

  • Whether one injects still images or clips from past promotional videos, found footage is a priceless, convenient resource.
  • Example: The Tanzanian Children’s Fund repurposed a 10 minute video as a shorter 3 minute one.

2. Utilize Personalization

  • When making appeals to individuals or corporations, employ a targeted title to engage the viewer, instilling a sense of importance and hopefully a desire to participate.
  • Example: Charity: Water took the time to personally thank donors with tailored videos and documented the process.

3. Take Advantage of YouTube Annotations

  • YouTube for nonprofits affords 501(c)3 organizations the unique ability to link videos directly to home or donate pages.
  • Be sure your nonprofit is registered on and all videos have the potential to drive traffic back to your site or generate donations.
  • Learn how to make annotations from the attached video below

4. Create a video geared directly to lost donors

  • The pool of onetime donors is a valuable audience. They were compelled to give before and are thus likely to do so again. Recapture their interest with a targeted video that may subtly pull on strings of guilt.
  • Walk a cautious line when addressing this group so as not to seem ungrateful for past contributions. Use strategic, appreciative language without barraging them.
  • Example: Watch this video from the Haiti Cardiac Alliance that deeply touches the viewers’ hearts.

5. Answer several key questions: What did we do in 2014? Why did it matter? Why is 2015 even more important?

  • Maintain a clear, concise message; donors will respond to tangible goals, comprehensive language, and brevity.
  • Example: This well executed Wellbody Alliance video is short but informational.

How to Make the Most of the Final Product: Tips to extend a video’s shelf life.

1. Embed Video on a Donation Page

  • If donors are still unsure, they may need some last minute encouragement to contribute.
  • It the video content is articulated well, the donation page can become autonomous – the page can be shared or visited without extensive background information from a homepage to garner donations.
    • At the very least it may drive traffic back to website

2. Use it as a way to thank donors in an email

  • Donors will appreciate the validation of their decision to give.

3. Take advantage of YouTube as a search engine

  • YouTube is the 2nd largest Internet search engine
  • Name your video something that will easily come up during common searches with strategic key words.
  • Again, make sure you’re taking advantage of YouTube for nonprofits!
  • Read more about YouTube and other social media platforms in digital marketing here

Megan Orlander, Media Lab, Northwestern University ’14