Last week, we talked about Why Visuals are So Valuable. So this week, with the winners of the 2013 DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards about to be announced (this Friday, April 12th), we thought we’d offer some tips and resources on video.
Why video for good is good for your organization
While you may not want to set your sights on video awards just yet, you should definitely include video in your communications plans this year. As Michael Hoffman (CEO of See3 Communications) suggests in a recent post on MassNonprofit.org, “Video obviously is a vehicle for you to tell an engaging story, but it’s also becoming a way for people to find you. ... Video has become a central focus of the online experience, and YouTube has become the fourth-largest website in the United States."
According to YouTube’s latest statistics:
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
- 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
Help getting started with video production
Ok so you’re convinced you need to look at video, but is that even possible without a big budget and big video production talent? We’re not video experts, but here are some resources that might help you get started:
1. The Starter Guide to Non-Profit Video Storytelling:
Causevox and ListeninPictures wanted to help organizations tell powerful stories to mobilize supporters and propel peer-to-peer giving. So together, they developed an ebook about how to create a non-profit video strategy. The Starter Guide to Non-Profit Video Storytelling is a comprehensive (53-page) ebook that discusses:
- What questions you should always ask before starting a video project.
- How to avoid the biggest mistakes of non-profit video.
- What the key ingredients of effective videos are (including a huge list of ideas).
- When you should produce videos internally and when you should outsource.
- How to move from making videos to telling stories.
- How to structure compelling impact stories.
- How to tell stories that mobilize and inspire.
- How to use video to create effective fundraising and advocacy campaigns.
2. Nonprofit Film School Primer:
On the Idealware Blog, Kyle Andrei suggests “you don’t need to have a film school degree to make low-budget videos that don’t look low-budget.”
In his post, Nonprofit Film School Primer: Or, The Idealware School of Video for Nonprofits That Don’t Video Good (Part 1), Andrei notes: “if you follow the basic principles of video production, and know how and when to use certain equipment, you can avoid such common mistakes as shaky video, poor lighting, inaudible audio, and boring scenes that make videos look amateurish and cut through the crowd of bad cat videos.”
In his two-part Idealware blog series, Andrei offers “simple fixes to these common issues” such as:
In Part 1: Improving Video Quality:
- Shot composition
In Part 2: Improving Audio Quality:
- Improving audio quality
- Background noise
- Improving content quality
Idealware also offers an article which outlines A Few Good Tools for Video Editing.
3. YouTube Playbook for Good (PDF):
As they note in the introduction of this presentation, the YouTube Playbook for Good is designed to help organizations that want to use video to “engage and educate.” It’s goal is “to help you gain an audience for your content and turn those view counts into charitable donations, volunteerism, community, laws changed, and so on.” This presentation offers ideas and examples on the following topics:
- Activate Your Cause!
- Storytelling for Causes!
- Campaigning on a Shoestring!
Getting your video to “go viral”
Once you create a video, how can you promote it and get it to “go viral”? As Michael Hoffman suggests, "the average viewer spends an astounding 58 minutes on YouTube at each sitting. ...To grab some of those 58 minutes, nonprofit organizations can easily build on their existing video assets, which may include PSAs, general introductory videos, and specific campaign videos.” To “ensure that your YouTube strategy helps you reach and retain your intended audience,” Hoffman offers Eight Essential YouTube Principles for Nonprofits - here's the list, you'll need to check out his post for the details:
- Search is critical.
- Video requires planning.
- Your audience is watching.
- Don’t let the technical overwhelm you.
- Leverage other users’ content to program your channel.
- If you’re not part of the Nonprofit Program, you should be.
- Buy a handheld camera—or two—for the office.
- Test and learn.
"The secret behind creating viral content”
In a great post on Socialbrite, John Haydon looks at “the secret behind creating viral content.” While Haydon doesn't focus solely on why video goes viral, he notes that while "the common ingredients of viral content are well documented,...there seems to be something magically delicious and fantastic that's hard to pinpoint." And in the post, he outlines what the “scientific research on what makes content go viral has found:
Give video a go
We hope these tips and resources help you get started with or improve your video for good. Who knows, maybe next year your nonprofit video will be among the entries or even one of the finalists for the DoGooder Nonprofit Video awards!
Have you recently created a nonprofit video? Share your own video for good tips with us in the comments below.
Image source: Movie director dog - courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com