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Video Helps Nonprofits Open Eyes To Gain, Retain Donors

The idea of "pivot to video" has become incredibly important in the digital world, with many online news outlets putting more budget into their video production and output. Nonprofits should be no exception! According to a report from Cisco, by 2019, video will represent over 80% of all Internet traffic. That's why it's important to get ahead of the trend now and establish a strong video strategy for your nonprofit’s marketing.

Here are a few ways that video can help you gain, or retain, donors:

All about storytelling

As a nonprofit, you should definitely be aware that the cause story you tell is one of the best ways to bring in new donors and keep current ones engaged. Whether it’s through outreach letters, your website, or your social media, it’s up to you to craft a narrative that both explains why your cause is important and what part your donors play in supporting it.

Video can provide a vital piece of storytelling by visually demonstrating the need for a charity’s support, as well as potentially showing a before-and-after of what passion for a cause can accomplish. In our Realize a More Beautiful World campaign to help nonprofits publish videos, we rely heavily on the power of video to tell a charity's story, and have seen evidence that it’s a medium that can deliver a strong message to viewers.

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For instance, Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga was able to show a heartwarming story about the impact on four families, gained by building a home for four men with autism who are friends.

Social platforms pave the way

Don’t be intimidated by prep. If you think you need an expensive editing studio and a sweeping setting to film in, you’re wrong. It’s easier and more cost-effective than ever to shoot a quick video to share with your donors (and potential donors!). Social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have built-in functions to let you film video, plus they have a ready-made audience for you to deliver these videos to. Add the increasingly high resolution in the latest smartphones, and the path to production is right in your hands.

For example, Instagram Live Video offers a wealth of options. Want to use video to interview an expert, or take viewers on a site tour? You can totally do that (and for free). Plus, you’re able to add links to your videos, which makes it easier to convert viewers into donors - and for the videos to be shared with broader targeted audiences.

First-mover (viewer) advantage

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, few companies are currently utilizing the power of video, which means many are missing out on the audiences they could be attracting. There is huge opportunity to get ahead of the curve and start using video now. Look at some of the great video storytelling done by the SickKids VS campaign. They may have a larger budget, but their video appeals make waves in the media regularly.

It’s easier than assumed. It’s cheaper than expected. And it’s still a relatively untapped medium for nonprofits. Less awareness of video means that there won’t be as many other charity appeals to compete with, offering a distinct advantage – as well as leeway to experiment. Short videos? Long-form content? The only limits are what you can brainstorm and how well you script the story. Test a few strategies and see what attracts donors, and builds their loyalty.

Also, be sure to close the loop with a blend of “outcomes” to show both the call to action andthe impact of their donations. After all, you’re looking to attract and retain donors and there’s no better way to do this than by reaffirming the power donors have to make a difference.

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