Make Video a Powerful Tool, Not a Wasted Resource
Last year, we were engaging in dialogue with a board after presenting a campaign-planning and feasibility study report. A board member emphatically shared, “We have to have a campaign video!” and many board members expressed their support.
“Video can certainly be an effective and emotional tool,” I replied.
And we moved on to the next comment.
We are huge proponents of video—carefully planned video with a clear objective. In most campaigns that are focused on major gifts, we are not big fans of a fundraising video, unless there is a reason that prospective donors can’t see impact of the client’s work firsthand.
Videos are always very effective in raising overall awareness (as opposed to fundraising), but if you are considering a campaign-focused video, be sure it is thought out before you jump because often you don’t need one.
One client was very proud that they had prepared a video for a campaign. It, too, had its roots with a board member’s emphatic plea at a board meeting (before we were retained, I should add).
The video included an “ask.” They had no idea how they would use it.
Our pushback: You are going to ask for gifts face-to-face, not through a video.
Overall, the content was strong—it just didn’t need an “ask.” Thankfully, the client was understanding and revised the video to be an effective component for awareness tours.
Last week when I was viewing a very strong video from a production company, I happened to play the next video on their YouTube page. This turned out to be an 8-minute video on an organization’s mission and plans, and the “ask” was to come tour the organization.
Again, this could have been a very hopeful positioning piece, but to ask viewers to come tour—this should happen, again, face-to-face. Eight minutes is way too long for a video, and it was something I have never seen—their consultant’s name appeared in the closing.
If you are considering a campaign video, be sure:
- You first have a campaign plan that outlines the needed communications pieces. Know what role a campaign video will play (e.g. general awareness or a call-to-action).
- Be sure that it is the appropriate length (e.g. 8 minutes is twice what we would consider the maximum for a campaign video). And if you are using it on social media, (in most cases) it should be under a minute.
Video is a very powerful tool, especially in sharing messages that someone can’t experience first hand. But plan ahead to know the objectives and that you are truly fulfilling a need in advancing your campaign.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.