Video is the trend of the moment. If you’re not creating video content for your nonprofit, you really should be. Creating video content doesn’t need to be overwhelming, and you don’t have to spend tons of marketing dollars to create cinematic, lengthy, elaborate videos. Great video content can be short and simple – and still draw awareness to your cause!

You can start by creating a quick one-minute video (or less!) that can be shared on social media. You can even use your smartphone to capture a few video clips and just add a voice-over to it. What’s more important than the quality of your video editing is the quality of the message you are sharing.

So what should this quick one-minute video be about? I recommend your video describe the problem you are solving and how others can get involved. Notice I didn’t say you need to create a video that talks about you and the history of your nonprofit. To be real honest, that type of video won’t get you the donations your cause deserves. A video that invites donors to be part of something meaningful is a much more effective approach to engaging donors. Don’t make your nonprofit the hero of the video. After all, if the video just talks about all the great things you do, how will a donor insert himself into that story?

But before I get into all the tips, check out this video that Love Justice International recently posted on social media. It’s only 35 seconds long and they didn’t spend a lot of money making it. They simply created a video that invited donors into a story they could be part of. The video introduces people to their monthly giving program; more specifically, it asks people to “Join Project Beautiful.” Watch the video, then keep reading because I’ve put together a few helpful tips for your nonprofit, using this video as an example.

Here are your 5 tips:

1. Don’t make yourself the hero – Who is the main character of the story? In this video the main character is clearly the amazing young women whose lives are at risk for human trafficking. The story was about them. The story was not about how great Love Justice International is. In fact, not one staff member is even in this video. Why? Because the video is not about the staff or the nonprofit. Your organization should never be the hero of the story. The hero (the main character) of the story, in this type of video, is always the people your nonprofit is helping.

2. Use the right type of images – The pictures or video footage used in this video show what life can be for young women after they are saved from a life of sex trafficking. It’s basically painting a picture of what success looks like for the people their nonprofit helps. The video shows happy smiling images and it’s full of joy. Notice that they’re not using sad, depressing pictures to guilt people into giving. Guilt is not always the best motivator for donations. Invite potential donors to be part of something great! Show them what their donation can do by using images of success. People really want to be part of a happy story!

3. Get philosophical – You have to state the physical need you are meeting, but if that’s all you do, it’s often hard for donors to connect with why they should give. That’s why I always recommend using words that present the philosophical side of the issue. In this case it’s why SHOULD young women be rescued? Here are some of the words Love Justice uses in the voice-over of their video to show the underlying philosophical issue. And these words tie in beautifully with the name of their monthly giving program, Project Beautiful.

We believe every life is beautiful.
She is a child of God, and He knows her by name.
She is worth everything to Him.
She is not just a victim.
She is human. She is precious.
She deserves to be free.
Because every life is beautiful.

4. Keep it short – Let’s face it, attention spans are getting shorter. For social media, you really need to keep it short or you risk losing people’s interest. This video is only 35 seconds long, and yet it still lets the viewer know the problem being solved and how they can get involved. You don’t have to use as many words as you think you do to get your point across. It’s using the right words that really matter, not the length of the narrative.

5. Give a clear call-to-action – The goal of this video was to raise awareness for their nonprofit via social media and drive more traffic to their website. That’s why at the end of the video it gives the viewer instructions to “Learn more at www.projectbeautiful.org” Think about the purpose of your video, and tell the viewer what you would like them to do next. If you want them to donate, tell them where to donate or even a suggested donation amount. If the purpose is to get them to your website so they can learn more about you, tell them how to do that! Just make it clear.

If you follow these tips, like Love Justice did, you’ll have a simple video that you can share on social media. And more than that, it will be a video with content that helps potential donors understand what you are all about and how they can be involved.

So, grab your smartphone and create a quick video, or look through video footage you already have and make something your nonprofit can use on social media! After all, shouldn’t more people know about your nonprofit and how they can get involved?!

– Michelle Arnold, Messaging & Creative Lead at Leading Good

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