7 Tips to Create a Fundraising Video to Increase Donations (Even If You’re Not a Tech Person)

Marketing June 10, 2020

Sayana Izmailova

By Sayana Izmailova

This is a guest post from Kerstin Heuer, founder of Non-Profit Today.

We currently live in the YouTube era, where information is often better shared and voraciously consumed via video. Who has time to read these days? People 💓 videos because they’re easy to access, easily digestible, and immediately actionable, too. 

It’s not all funny cat videos and sports fails, though. 

These days, nonprofits are expected to get on the video bandwagon too. 

According to Indiegogo, campaigns that include a fundraising video raise 4 times more funds than campaigns without one, so it’s pretty important. 

Plus, a great pitch video that can be shared over and over again can help you gain support for your cause. 

Wait, so you’re saying I have to learn how to shoot videos now, too? 

Yup — and more than that, it should be part of your fundraising plan

Ready or Not

COVID-19 has forced nonprofits (and the rest of the world) to pivot to digital, whether they’re ready or not. 

And considering how much time people are spending online, it’s the perfect time to learn how to create a fundraising video. You’ve got no more excuses. 

Pivot meme

Fortunately, it’s way easier than you probably think it is to write a fundraising video script and create a fundraising video.

You can breathe that sigh of relief now, because:

  1. You don’t need a professional videographer anymore (and you can’t use this as an excuse anymore, either). 

  1. You can create a high-quality fundraising video straight from your phone. 

Set the Stage

It might be easier than ever to create a fundraising video and develop a video marketing strategy, but you still need to do some planning and preparing first. 

It’s a good idea to set the stage. 

While you don’t have to be a techie to shoot a video, you should still put some thought into techie-type things like natural and artificial lighting, an optimal backdrop, framing, placement, and props. 

(Pro tip: a plain bedsheet behind your head can work wonders!)

Once you’ve got that all figured out, be sure to follow these 7 tips to create impressive fundraising videos that are sure to increase donations. 

1. Have Your Pitch Ready


Your fundraising video script should include your elevator pitch — you know, that succinct message about your nonprofit that you can pitch to a donor if you only have 30 seconds in an elevator before the doors open. 

Ideally, you should have already gone through the exercise of creating an elevator pitch when branding your nonprofit. If not, there’s no time like the present to write one. 

Being able to quickly convey who you are and why supporters should care will help you successfully pitch your nonprofit with video. In fact, the first 30 seconds are the most important of your video, so make them count!


2. Don't Forget to Include Roll Credits

One of the critical mistakes you’ll want to avoid is assuming that the people watching the video already know who you are and what your campaign is all about. 

Spell it out for them:

  • Who are you? 

  • What does your nonprofit do?

  • Why are you awesome? (There’s no need to be modest.)

  • Why are you raising money?

  • Where is your campaign taking place?

  • When will it be completed?

  • Why should they care? 

While your loyal supporters might know all this, their friends, and their friends’ friends, probably won’t. So, roll those credits at the beginning of your video because anyone could be watching. 

3. Turn it Into a Pixar Story

Who doesn’t love Pixar movies?

Monsters, Inc. 


Toy Story

Finding Nemo

Pixar movies

Wondering what these iconic titles have to do with your fundraising video? 

Well, the power of storytelling simply cannot be overestimated in the nonprofit sector. 

If you can turn your pitch into a Pixar story, you can make a bigger impact on your audience and ensure your narrative is more memorable.


And you don't need a Pixar budget, either. 

To adopt the Pixar story approach, just fill in the blanks with your own story.

Once upon a time ________.

Every day, _______.

One day, _______.

Because of that, _______.

Because of that, _______.

Until finally, ____________.

To fill in the blanks, source information from your mission statement and vision to find details about why you need donations, where the money will go, and what impact it will have on and on whom. 


4. Keep It Short

People are busier than ever and they have the attention span of goldfish, so it’s best to keep your fundraising video script short and to the point. 

After all, video is all about getting your message out there in a digestible format. And donors decide very quickly whether or not they’re going to support your cause. So you have no time to lose. 

Make sure all the most important information you’re sharing occurs in the first 30 seconds and keep the video to under 2 minutes long for best results.

The last thing you want is for your viewer to X out of the video before you’ve made your pitch!


5. Be Authentic

Authenticity can be difficult to define, but it’s critical to nonprofit branding. Focusing on authenticity helps you create an image that people trust and want to support. But being authentic isn’t just excellent branding advice but video-shooting advice too!

Fundraising videos give you the opportunity to put a face to your nonprofit and your cause. So include real people in your video, either as B-roll footage or as talking heads. If you’re able to,  you can even include a video from one of your funders, like A Better World did on their Facebook page

A Better World 1A Better World 2


This can help you create a personal connection with donors, which can make a huge impact during and even after your campaign. But that will only happen if you can authentically show your passion for your cause and explain why it’s so important, too. What’s more, make sure you seem approachable and human by steering clear of jargon and technical language. A good rule of thumb: write your fundraising video script like you’re talking to your child or grandparent.  

The good news is shooting a video on your smartphone, rather than investing in professional videography, can actually make the video feel more authentic — so that’s a bonus. You might also want to consider live-streaming — it’s a great way to build connections in the moment and helps build trust with your audience. 

The bottom line is that true authenticity will help donors trust you, so they’ll be more likely to want to join and support your cause. 

6. Be Specific

This isn’t a promo video. It isn’t an awareness campaign, either. It’s a fundraising video. 

It isn’t the time to be vague (especially if you want to grab attention quickly and get what you came for). So, don’t be afraid to get specific with your audience. Tell the funders how much money you need and what it’s for. Don’t be shy. Own the request for donations!

The Executive Director of the Golden Circle Seniors Centre wanted to raise $10,000 to boost the seniors programs of her non-profit and decided to get her head shaved during Seniors week. Everything was recorded via video, and they surpassed their goal

Golden Circle

For example, you might state that you’re looking to raise a total of $10,000 for museum renovations or you might want to ask for small $20 donations for a shelter’s veterinary bills, stating that every little bit helps. 

And don’t be afraid to put a number on it. It’ll make a much stronger impact. You might even want to consider explaining the impact that different levels of monetary donations will have on your goal — for example, a $50 donation will help you vaccinate one dog and a $200 donation will help you neuter one cat. 


7. Add This At the End

The point of the video is to get the audience to donate. 

You know this and they know this — so, again, don’t be afraid to ask! 

I’ve been working with nonprofit leaders for over 25 years, so I know this might be tough for you, but trust me when I say it can make all the difference. 

Tell them exactly what you want them to do near the end of the video, whether that’s clicking on a button, following a link, or reaching out to you by phone or email.

I hope this post has reduced some of your nerves around creating a fundraising video that really works. 

Best of luck! 


Read More: 4 Easy Tips to Help Your Nonprofit Win at Video (Funraise.org)


Kerstin HeuerKerstin Heuer is the co-founder of Non-Profit Today and creator of the 5 Pillar Social Media Content System. Since 2008, she has used the trifecta of branding, marketing, and design to help nonprofits communicate the heart of their organization, connect with their audiences, and achieve their missions. With over 25 years of industry experience and lessons learned from work on 500+ non-profit projects, Kerstin is skilled in collaborating with NPOs to make sure they have a clear message and the traction they need to spread it. Connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at kerstin@non-profit.today.

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