57% of Those Who Watch Nonprofit Videos Go On to Make a Donation

YouTube_LogoA recent survey from Google found that 57 percent of everyone who watches a nonprofit’s video will go on to make a donation to that nonprofit.

57 percent.

So, what is your nonprofit’s video strategy? As recently as 10 years ago, that question was ludicrous for a large number of cash-strapped organizations. But video is far more affordable than it used to be. High-quality cameras that provide HD video can be purchased for just a few hundred dollars. Editing software is either free or low-cost …most of us even carry phones that shoot decent video!

Below is a video from a workshop with tips to help even the most novice photographers shoot quality video that can be uploaded to sites and networks like YouTube and Facebook. It’s likely your organization has someone who could easily become a decent videographer. Think about your staff members who have active Instagram feeds or those who often post cool pictures to Facebook – they could become highly valuable video producers for your nonprofit. Get them started with the tips in the video below…

Now that you know how to shoot, the next question is, what should you shoot? Think about the following when deciding what to produce and/or post:

  • Length: Shorter is always sweeter. Remember, the total running time on YouTube videos is apparent before a person starts to watch. If you’re at your desk taking a short break, which video are you more likely to watch …the 2:00 video or the 20:00 video?
  • Authenticity: Avoid the urge to produce what looks like a traditional TV ad. Instead, deliver the message straight from the mouths of those your organization helps. Simple thank yous, like this one from The Children’s Hospital Foundation, are beyond powerful. [WARNING: grab a tissue before clicking on that Children’s Hospital Foundation video]
  • Produce videos that carry emotion. Whether it’s a deeply moving piece like this one from the Cleveland Clinic or something that makes you laugh like this video for the Rain Forest Alliance, nothing moves a donor to give more quickly that connecting with them on an emotional level.
  • Get creative: From lip dubs, to pink gloves, the viral hits are those that took a chance and did something unique. It’s video …have fun with it! 

Justin Ware is an Emmy-winning YouTube video producer who helps BWF’s clients build online and social media content strategies. To learn more, click here.

Smart, High-quality Content Leads to More Engaged Supporters

For years I’ve been preaching to audiences far and wide that “quality counts!” when producing online video. And for years, audiences have been pointing me toward videos that are grainy, hard to see, and even more difficult to comprehend …and those videos often earn tens of millions of YouTube views. Case in point, is the following viral sensation “Charlie Schmidt’s Keyboard Cat”:

Yes, quirky videos sometimes find their way to Internet stardom. But that doesn’t mean you should forego any investment in developing good online content – that includes written and photographic content, along with video. Because first of all, we are an increasingly savvy group of Internet content viewers who expect more thanks to several years worth of high definition videos on sites like Vimeo and YouTube, plus countless slide shows and photo galleries with breathtakingly beautiful imagery.

Beyond the allure of pretty or cool images, is the point that well-produced, high-quality content does an amazing job of telling the story of your organization and its culture …AND has the potential of going viral while accomplishing those goals. Case in point #2 is this wonderful piece from the Cleveland Clinic that (gently) leads viewers to associate empathy with the Cleveland Clinic. Take a few minutes and watch the video below. Be sure you grab a tissue or two first…

Consistently producing powerful, moving, funny, endearing, and high-quality content connects you on an emotional level to your biggest supporters. Your biggest supporters then share that content with their networks, enlisting new supporters and new donors for your organization. That’s not opinion, it’s a fact. Thanks to this amazing study from Georgetown University and Waggener Edstrom, we now know that social media is by far the #1 way supporters find out about and support new causes if those supporters are even remotely engaged online. And since more than half of America is on Facebook alone, people who are engaged online make up a strong majority of the public.

YouTube_LogoThe moral of the story? Invest in good content. Ideally, you’re able to hire someone who can lead the charge in managing daily online and social media conversation, in addition to producing quality, visual content. The best case scenario is that person can also build and lead an online and social media strategy for your organization. With how much we’re starting to learn about the value of a strong online and social media presence, having a good, well-rounded communicator on board who is also a content producer is one the best investments your organization can make when it comes to building for the future.

Justin Ware is a fundraising consultant who specializes in online and social media engagement at Bentz Whaley Flessner. To contact Justin, click here.