How To Create Compelling Fundraising Videos During the COVID-19 Crisis

Nonprofits are facing new challenges due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic: hard hit by a tidal wave of new volunteers to address, a surge in the needs of the populations served, and time and resources stretched thinner and thinner by the week. Understandably, creating a fundraising video may be the last thing on your mind because, yea, it can be time consuming.

But consider this: A Google study has found that a whopping 57% of people who watch fundraising videos will go on to donate to that cause.

And of all Facebook posts, the M+R Benchmarks Report concludes that videos have the highest level of engagement!

With stats like that, it’s safe to say that using what little time you have to broadcast your organization’s needs through this crisis is worth the community of support you’ll gain. Perhaps the most relieving part about making a video is that you don’t even have to leave your couch.

How to Video

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7 Tips for Creating a Successful DIY Fundraising Video

Fundraising Video Tip #1. Use the resources you have.

You don’t need to be a producer to create quality video content that will resonate with your nonprofit’s supporters and their social networks. Whether you’re still able to work on-site or you’re making it work from home, all you need to create your fundraising video is a smartphone. In fact, the not-so-highly-produced video you create may even come across as more authentic and relatable.

Fundraising Video Tip #2. Keep it short.

Let’s face it, human attention spans are not what they used to be, thanks to ever-evolving tech and its subsequent reduction to our patience. Even though the world is currently at home and without their regular daily routines, it still holds true that you’ve got about 30-60 seconds to get your message across.

Fundraising Video Tip #3. Download a video editing app.

Short attention spans not only require short video lengths, but a fast-paced, constantly moving picture, as well. So that your video is not entirely focused on one subject, you can break it up with some fairly simple editing tools that you can use for free for a limited amount of time. Of course, with a new tool comes the need to learn how to use it; however, this took my not-so-tech-savvy self about 20 minutes to discover and learn the features I needed. The above video I’ve created was with the help of a free app I found, called Splice (for Apple devices).

Pro tip: 92% of viewers watch videos with the sound off. Consider using an app that adds closed captioning for you.

Fundraising Video Tip #4. Tell your story.

People don’t typically seek careers in nonprofit organizations without feeling some sort of attachment to its mission. What drives you to create the positive impact you make every day? Your audience wants to know what your mission means to you personally. And, according to cognitive scientist, Jerome Bruner, telling them in a story format will make your overall message 22 times more memorable. Now especially, people crave human connection and what you share may be the feelgood content they need to get through another minute of quarantine.

Fundraising Video Tip #5. Show your impact.

Remember that your video will be shared and seen by many who are unfamiliar with the good work your nonprofit does, so be sure to give a short introduction to what your mission is and what makes it unique. Brief the audience about your programs and the specific progress you’ve made – down to the dollar amount – toward reaching and surpassing your goals. Witnessing your successes and well-structured programs will build trust in those engaging with your organization for the first time.

Repurpose videos and pictures.

You’ll notice in my video that there are transitions to multiple forms of media, such as photos and videos, clearly shot at another time. In an app like Splice, you can add anything from your phone’s library to your video with slick transitions and uniform audio throughout. Dig up some compelling media from your website or even some footage you’d taken on the job that clearly illustrates (1.) the issue that your organization is actively working to resolve and (2.) the action you take to resolve it. Perhaps include footage of your facility or, if appropriate, powerful images of the population you serve.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure how to obtain a video file from your organization but know how to view it online, then that’s all you need. You can record your screen on either an Apple device or Android for a quick way to save a video to your Photo Library to be quickly accessed and used in your video editing tool. (Note: Be sure that you or your organization are the owners of the video you record to avoid copyright infringement!)

Fundraising Video Tip #6. Make your call to action clear.

What action do you want your audience to take? Though you may have several needs, you should keep the number of calls to action to one or two per video. Any more, and your request may get lost.

Tell your audience how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting your mission and how they can help by showing them just how easy it is for them to participate in your campaign. Providing scalable, tangible goals will help them to visualize how their donation or time will be spent and will prompt a more specific action.

For example: “Your donation of $36 will provide food for a homeless dog for 2 months, or, “One hour of your time will help us to create 100 more care packages for children being homeschooled in our community.”

Make this the last segment of your video so your audience knows just what to do after being inspired by your message.

Fundraising Video Tip #7. Share your video far and wide.

What’s nice about videos made on your phone is that they’re just as easy to post to your social media platforms as anything else you’d post. And with millions at home seeking entertainment from their phones, you can guarantee that yours will at the very least get a passing glance!

Consider uploading your video to YouTube or Vimeo and including it in your emails, as well as a crowdfunding campaign. If you use an email marketing tool like Constant Contact, you can include a link to your video in the call to action button of your email and track your recipients’ engagement.

By adding video to your organization’s crowdfunding page, NonProfit Source shares that you may raise up to 4 times as many donations! Plus, your DIY fundraising video could encourage others to make their own, on your behalf. After all, this pandemic is proving more and more that we’re capable of getting through anything if we work together. Fortunately, DonorPerfect Crowdfunding forms allow you to simply drop video links right onto the top of the page without needing the skills of a programmer.

Want to make a lasting impact with your donors? Cultivate your new donor relationships with a thank you video.

It goes without saying that you should always thank someone when they give you a gift, but you can take it a step further by saying it with a personal video. If you use a solution like CauseVid, you can delight your donors with a “thanks,” branded for your organization and delivered right to their email inboxes.

So you may not be Steven Spielberg, but the authenticity of your homemade, heartfelt video will speak to the passion you have for your mission. This format will equip your supporters with short, but impactful material that they can easily share with friends and family and will highlight how important it is that we all work together to see it through the COVID-19 crisis.

by Laura Bucher

Apr 14 20
7 Comments
  1. Very helpful, especially with our small nonprofit. We lost our major funder due to the virus and need to fund raise as inexpensively as possible.

    • Emily Patz permalink

      Hi Jeffrey, We’re so glad you found this information helpful and we’re sorry to hear about your major funder. We hope your video will inspire many donors in your community to give. Thank you for inspiring us through the wonderful work you do!

  2. Wende Burbridge permalink

    this was great! the most useful information yet for my nonprofit!

    • Emily Patz permalink

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Wende! We’re thrilled to hear you can use this information to help your awesome organization.

  3. Emily – I was struggling to make an at-home donor video. More than 30 shots with shots going from 30 seconds to almost 3 minutes, and then I came across your how-to video (and we use Donor Perfect. I hate being in front of the camera, but your presentation puts everything in perspective. Tomorrow is a new day, and I am ready. Thank you!

    • Emily Patz permalink

      Hi there, Jimmie! We are so thrilled to hear that Laura’s awesome tips and tutorial inspired and encouraged you. That’s exactly what we’re striving for every time we create content. I’m sure Laura along with our entire nonprofit community would LOVE to see how your video turned out and even write a story about how you leveraged the tips if you’re interested in being featured. You can drop her a line at lbucher@softerware.com anytime!

  4. The impact of this pandemic is not confined just to the people, who continue to face hardships due to a blow on their source(s) of earning, since industrial growth across the globe is witnessing a slump which might take them a couple of years to recoup from.

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