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Five ways charities can use video to promote their cause

8 minute read

video camera

With more than one billion hours of video being consumed every single day on YouTube alone, there’s absolutely no escaping the fact that video has become an incredibly powerful marketing tool.

If that’s not enough to prompt any organisation to brush up on their production skills, perhaps learning that video content will make up a staggering 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2022 will spur you into action.

Why charities need to embrace video marketing

Aside from the fact that consumers love it, why is video such a powerful medium and how can it help to promote your charity’s message?

They build trust

With charities relying on financial donations from the public, trust is absolutely necessary for survival.

Unfortunately, the Internet is an easy place to commit fraud which can make consumers very cynical. Videos are a great way of overcoming this because you can show you’re genuine by showcasing what you do, who you’ve helped, where the money goes and who you have working with you.

57% of consumers say that videos give them more confidence to purchase online. This is something that charities in particular really should be embracing.

It stirs emotion

People want to work with, buy from and interact with other people. Video is the best way to get that face-to-face appeal but with the added advantage of crafting your message in a clear and concise manner.

People are also more likely to react to content that engages them. With a compelling video, you can really tap into people’s emotions which is what’s going to lead to support and donations.

Videos can evolve with you

Unlike a leaflet or brochure which can quickly become dated as your charity evolves, a video can evolve and adapt with you. This saves money in the long-run which is something that’s very important in the charity sector.

They command attention

A video can simplify large amounts of text which people don’t have the time (nor the inclination) to digest. The more you engage your audience, the more likely they are to donate.

The brain also remembers far more from imagery than it does from text. If you have an important message you want to share with your audience, it will be far more effective if it’s done in video form.

Five ways your small charity can utilise video:

Your main goals are to raise awareness about your charity, reach new supporters and receive donations. Below I share five great ways video marketing can help you do exactly this.

1. Introductory videos

An introductory video is a great way to give people an insight into what your organisation is all about.

It should be short and tell the viewer everything they need to know about your charity while also setting the tone for your brand. Ultimately, this allows you to tell a story, bring your company to life while increasing donations and support.

Adding an intro video onto your website (especially your homepage) can be an effective way to get people’s attention. They’re also great to send via an email when someone has registered on your site, signed up to your newsletter or made a donation for the first time.

Research shows that video can increase a customers’ understanding of products and services by as much as 74%. This is especially important for charities because people won’t just give their money away if they don’t have some kind of understanding about who you are and what you stand for. The more people who know about you, the more likely they are to trust you as well.

The video below is a great example of an introductory video used by the Charities Aid Foundation. It explains who they are, how much money they passed onto charities last year and what they do with the donations they receive. At just over a minute long, they don’t have to worry about their audience getting bored and the use of images also helps to keep viewers engaged.

2. Case studies

As a donor, it can be difficult to understand the true impact of your financial gift. Case study videos are a great way to overcome this obstacle however.

By showcasing the people you’ve helped, you can truly capture the hearts and minds of your viewers. You’re also enabling your audience to feel a connection with your subject or to imagine how they’d react in the same situation. What’s more, they really help your customers to understand how you’re making a difference which can create a warm, genuine connection.

When it comes to creating case study videos, the main aim is to illustrate the life-changing effect your organisation has had on those you’ve helped. Powerful personal testimonies turn the work your charity does into a reality, something that lines of text simply cannot achieve.

By allowing potential donors to understand the true significance of their contribution, this strengthens your relationship with them which will in turn encourage them to make future donations.

The video below is a powerful case study example from the charity, Water for Africa. We’re introduced to the subject, Siabatou who tells her story about how far she has to travel every day just to access clean water. The footage of her walking the Paris marathon and the clever use of music really helps to stir emotion in the viewer – something which is going to prompt people to get involved.

The video concludes by highlighting the impact that the campaign had all around the world. Highlighting the success of your stories helps people to feel that their donation really will make a difference.

3. Volunteer stories

Unfortunately, in today’s digital world it can be difficult for brands to establish a human connection with their audience.

Sharing volunteer stories is a great way to humanise your charity, show personality and share what it’s like to work with you. The people who work for you are your cheerleaders and you should be using them to highlight the difference your charity makes.

You can show clips of your team hard at work or feature face-to-face interviews with your volunteers. Don’t be afraid to let people’s personalities shine through – this makes it easier for your audience to connect with and relate to your organisation.

Volunteer stories not only provide an insight into what you’re doing, they can also encourage people to sign up themselves. With a healthy base of volunteers on hand, this ensures you’re setting your organisation up for success.

It’s also important to recognise and thank your volunteers for all the hard work they do. Showing the impact they’re making with the world creates a great experience for them which means that as well as becoming long-term volunteers, they’re also more likely to become donors too.

67% of those who have volunteered in the last 12 months say they donate to the same charities they volunteer at. They also donate 10x more money compared to non-volunteers. Here’s an example from NSPCC who share an inspirational montage of a range of volunteers explaining why they choose to give up some of their time to help the charity and showcases all the different volunteering positions available:  

4. Fundraising campaigns

When you have a campaign to promote, why not create a video to tell your story? The music, the pictures, the people and the voice all help to express your need in a way that a letter just simply cannot convey.

Straight-out asking people for money seldom works. This is why you’ll usually see charity fundraisers tell a story, present a problem, evoke some sympathy and then ask for money.

You can also encourage people to help you raise money in other ways. They could for example compete in a sporting event and get sponsorship from doing so. This is often highly effective because it makes supporters feel like they’re part of something.

While it is important to evoke emotion in your campaigns, fundraising doesn’t always have to be sad. You can also have a bit of fun with it and get really creative. An animal charity for example could produce content as if the animal is talking. Being a bit quirky will really help people to remember you and they’re also more likely to share your video with others.

The video below is promoting a campaign called Houses for Change which helps homeless families. Rather than just asking people for money, it’s getting children involved in a fun and creative manner.

5. Celebrate wins

Just as a video can be a great way to launch a major fundraising campaign, it can also be the perfect way to wrap one up.

Not only will celebration videos get your supporters excited about what was achieved, it leaves people feeling energised and ready to tackle the next challenge.

While in celebration mode, you have the added benefit of strengthening your network with those around you. Your own celebration is contagious and those around you want to share your success which in turn, could encourage more people to donate.

As you look to grow your charity, celebratory events not only reinforce the positive aspects of what you are doing, they also position your charity as a desirable organisation others want to associate with.

71% of donors say they care that their money is used wisely. Once they see their donation has been put to good use, they’re likely to share what they’re doing with their network.

This video by Comic Relief shares one of its many success stories while reminding people of the importance of their donations.

Creating videos on a budget

Video is creative, gets the message out and shows off products and services in all their glory. Understandably, it’s an attractive medium for brands but one of the biggest challenges that charities face is utilising video without breaking the bank.

Fortunately, there are a number of great ways non-profit organisations can produce videos without it costing a fortune:

Take advantage of free platforms

There are many platforms out there which allow you to create, edit and post video content for free. What’s more, they’re also simple and straightforward to use which means that even those with no editing experience can use them.

Some great examples include:

  • Squareready for video – specifically designed for Instagram users, this app allows you to crop video footage onto white backgrounds so you can create a cleaner user experience.
  • iMovie – you can create beautiful HD videos with a range of themes, titles, transitions and soundtrack capabilities.
  • Adobe Spark – you can make custom videos in minutes without the need for any design skills.

It’s also free to post videos on all your social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. If you’re serious about creating videos, it’s a good idea to set up a YouTube account for your charity so your followers can access all of them in one place.

Make the most out of what you already have

Think about what you can do yourself. By adopting a creative, DIY attitude, you can save a lot of money when it comes to making your marketing videos.

Some great tips include:

  • If you have someone within the charity who’s a great writer, ask them to be in charge of script writing.
  • Record your own voice-overs instead of hiring someone to do it for you.
  • Be open to the idea of teaching yourself some new skills. If you take the time to learn now, you will be able to keep more of your video creation in-house in the future.
  • These days even camera phones have great quality cameras so if you have to, you can even film on that.
  • If you need to rent a studio, camera equipment or a presenter, plan to film all your videos in one day. This will work out much cheaper than renting everything out on multiple occasions.
  • Re-editing old video footage is a great way to get more for your money. You can freshen it up with new music or a different voiceover or even mix some old content with new footage.
  • Prioritise your expenditure. If good editing is important to you, consider shooting your own footage and then hire a professional editor to put it all together for you.
  • If you really need an actor, consider hiring a student who will probably be more than happy to do it for free in return for the experience.

Keep your videos short 

It’s cheaper to create a two-minute marketing video on a budget than a ten-minute one. Short videos also hold people’s attention better than longer ones do. The ideal length for your video will depend on its type and the platform where you intend to publish it, but in general, it’s a good idea to aim for two minutes or less. 

Another benefit of this is that if you spend a whole day filming, rather than creating one long video, you can create several shorter ones. This gives you more content to post throughout the year.

Hopefully, you now have some great ideas with regards to the types of videos your charity should be creating and how you can do this on a small budget. You can find out more about creating marketing videos on a budget here.

Here are some other great blogs which may help you including ‘How videos can increase conversions’ and ‘Which video platform should I use?

After completing her degree in Journalism, Monique began her career at a digital marketing agency. It was here she discovered a passion for online marketing with a particular focus on content creation for the web. Six years ago Monique set up her own copywriting business, Copyworks Group, which specialises in creating content for websites, blogs, newsletters and social media pages.

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