Video Storytelling Builds Emotional Bond Between Nonprofit and Prospect
To thrive and succeed in this fast-paced, technologically driven age, nonprofits are required to stay up-to-date with current and innovative trends, as well as continue to be experts in building strong, lasting relationships with their donors.
Think of yourself personally: When you scroll through your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, what is the first thing that catches your eye. As you all may already know, I fall into the Millennial category. Social media is so natural to me, and it’s become a staple in my daily routine. And I’m sure many of you can relate. As I scroll through my social media feeds, the first thing that always catches my eye—no it’s not a compelling article on what’s happening in our political climate or a stunning photo that my friend took on her Hawaii vacation—it’s usually a video. Why? Because for some reason, when I see movement on my feed, it triggers my brain to stop out of curiosity. And subconsciously, I know that it will take about 10 seconds to find out what the video is about. It’s sad to say, but it’s different with written copy because it takes more time and more effort to get to the meat of the story.
Video storytelling is a power tool. It has the capability to evoke much more emotion than copy because it is a visual tool. And as nonprofits, they need that kind of emotional trigger. At the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans this past April, I sat down and spoke with two experts in the field to help me understand more about the concept of video storytelling. Both from FrontStream, director of digital philanthropy Claire Kerr and marketing director Taylor Corrado both understand and support the value that video has in our marketplace.
While video is great for SEO purposes, but there are so many more potential opportunities for nonprofits to seize. One of the major reasons for investing in video is the opportunity to attract new prospects to your organization. Without having to read 2,000 words of copy about your organization, its mission and its goals, a prospect can watch a 30-second video and think, “Wow. That was incredibly moving. I want to support this organization, so I will not only donate to the cause, but I’ll also share this on social media where my friends and family can support this organization as well.” And two minutes later, this prospect has spread the word to their 750 or so friends on Facebook.
“On another level, humans now love video and love sharing video. Now all the platforms are mobile-optimized, so you know that if you email your donors, your donors are reading that email on a mobile device. Imagine them just clicking around and up comes your video,” Kerr said.
Piggybacking off of Kerr, Corrado said, “I know for me, personally, I give when I emotionally connect to the cause or the person fundraising. And you just can't evoke emotion in copy all the time. It's really hard. So, even a 30-second emotion to drive you to give or at least click on the link that is associated with the video to read more, is so much more than reading an article. Nonprofits have so much emotion in everything they do, so video is a great way to showcase that emotion.”
Video Doesn’t Have Cost a Fortune
In an ideal situation, a nonprofit would hire some kind of storyteller or film director to help it craft its story into a captivating 30-second video. And then help them put together a strategic plan to distribute it. Which platforms should we post the video? Like any other marketing initiative, a video needs a strong strategic plan to reach the optimal number of prospects.
But in our sector, many of us don’t have the funds to hire a said professional. There are other cost-effective methods for using video in an organization marketing practice. We don’t realize it, but all of us have an incredible device inside our pockets. These days, everyone has a smartphone, which has the ability to shoot high-quality videos. According to Kerr, there are many low-cost apps that you can purchase—and YouTube even has editing tools built into their platform. “If you're going to shoot straight video and upload it to YouTube, which I can do with just a click, there are editing tools inside YouTube where I can add captions or cut things out. It does take some time to learn it, and it will be basic. But it’ll take some time to get comfortable with these new tools.”
Corrado recommends thinking outside of the box. Sourcing help doesn’t necessarily mean going to an upscale agency for their services; it’s important to find someone who can help you be creative and tell your story in an impactful way.
"I think there are easier ways for nonprofits to get people to donate their time to be a videographer—whether it's students from a local high school or university. I bet a lot of people don't think about it, but these people need to do projects for school—and they have a camera, they know how to lighting and they are more creative than most people with video. With videographers, there's a ton of contractors, and people would do it for low cost; and they would probably do it for even less for nonprofits. They would possibly donate their time or donate a portion of it, but it's all about thinking outside the box,” Corrado said.
Another option that a lot of nonprofits don’t think about is asking for “donations” from your corporate sponsors. While writing a check or encouraging your employees to participate in fundraising events is great, asking them for donations in a form of digital resources is an option that many corporate sponsors are open to. Kerr said, “Most times, if you have a corporate giving team at a charity, they are thinking of their corporate sponsors as a monetary one. But what I'm suggesting people build into their corporate sponsor packages is the digital resources component. A lot of times with these bigger brands, they usually have an in-house team. They have the ability to produce video for you. We hear from our corporate partners that no one has asked them for digital resources. Talk to your corporate giving teams!”
A Video Initiative to Help Nonprofits Succeed
In recognizing the high-value opportunity that video provides for nonprofits, FrontStream launched an initiative called “Realize a More Beautiful World.” This initiative offers nonprofits a chance to showcase their organization through a creatively and professionally produced video. A grant initiative that was originally launched in November 2017, FrontStream has recently announced the 10 finalists for their second grant. You can watch the first grant video produced for Habitat for Humanity of Ontario here.
“The idea of the grant is to provide creative services and support and direction to our nonprofit customers to tell stories of the people that are impacted by their work or the communities that have been impacted by them,” Kerr said.
The top 10 finalists for the second video grant are: