Live Video Versus Pre-Recorded Videos for Your Nonprofit
Not too long ago, a nonprofit pro asked in a social group what others would do to market and promote their organization with a limited budget. Interestingly, many of the answers involved investing in pre-recorded videos and photography with a professional photographer. While that might sound good in theory, is it indispensable to make that spend if a nonprofit has a small budget?
Storytelling through digital marketing is essential for any nonprofit. As we know, people have been sharing stories for generations, and that’s one of the key ways people absorb information. It's the best thing you can do to ensure that people retain ideas about your work. Good storytelling, accompanied by fantastic visual images, only adds to the retention and engagement of people with your nonprofit.
Still, if your nonprofit has a limited budget, is it best to make a marketing spend on a professional photographer and videographer? Let’s explore.
Pluses and Minuses of Live Videos
Live videos and streaming, such as using Facebook Live or a scheduled webinar, are excellent. You have real-time engagement with people. From a marketing perspective, our team enjoys the energy we get from the questions and people who attend our fundraising webinars by our social enterprise from across the nation. It’s an opportunity to answer questions and interact in a way that’s social.
If your nonprofit is having, for instance, an event or wants to share fun and engaging insights into the work you do, live videos are great. One thing you should do is promote them heavily beforehand in direct response and social. You want to ensure you build the most extensive audience, which involves letting people know you're going live.
Remember that AI algorithms won't share your content unless people have been engaging with you consistently—and that's why cross-promotion is vital. In the work we do, we usually promote our live events a month in advance and we raise the intensity of the promotion the closer we get to the live event.
Nevertheless, there are downsides to going live. One of the top ones is that you can’t control what happens. You might end up with technical issues or poor video quality, for instance. Still, the risk is worth it because you can’t beat real-time communications and engagement with your target audience.
Pros and Cons of Pre-Recorded Videos
Pre-recorded videos, especially professional ones the social group mentioned, take time—and money. With pre-recorded videos, you ensure that if something goes wrong, you can redo it. And, if you mess up in your chat, you're not going to have any bloopers that happen live.
While you could get a professional to do your photography and video recordings, it’s also something that you could do internally. For example, with the latest iPhone, you could take high-quality videos. And, because of the events that pushed millions to go remote, there are all types of resources to ensure you look great on video.
For instance, you could purchase a green screen for the back of your chair, which will help you have any background you want using graphic technology. Platforms such as Zoom come with many functionalities, including backgrounds and filters for professional (or fun) video recordings.
Sure, getting a professional video that provides great imagery about the work you do is worth the investment, but, more often than not, that expensive video isn’t going to have a long shelf-life. You may share it a few times on social or at your next virtual gala, but that’s about it.
Recording Live and Pre-Recorded Video at Less Cost
Fortunately, for nonprofit marketers and fundraisers, there are excellent tools and resources to ensure your live and pre-recorded videos look great. So, here are a few tips and ideas to keep in mind to make the most of your marketing budget spend.
- Learn the functionality of the iPhone camera. (Someone in your office has one to borrow if you don’t!)
- Get the lighting right to create the best video. It's worth the time to ensure people enjoy the content you share.
- Understand pre-production and what it takes to create awesome video content.
The reality is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get high-quality video and photo content done to share. Also, when you learn and master visual content, there’s just so much you could do and share. Of course, the more you share, the greater the opportunity for engagement.
And a final note, if I were to make a marketing investment, I would focus on sponsored advertising. Again, there's lots of tech, tips, and tricks available online to ensure you create great visual content internally and at a much lower cost than hiring a professional photographer and videographer. Have those spends for the unique times when you want to share something exceptional.
Kristy Morris is a creative professional in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising and brand strategy. As the chief marketing officer at Funds2Orgs and Elsey Enterprises, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands and manages national campaigns for her clients. She hosts a monthly webinar with Funds2Orgs, teaching nonprofits how to make an impact with their social media strategy. Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.
Kristy also contributes monthly to her NonProfit PRO blog, “Marketing IRL.”