Conventional wisdom says that it is the small nonprofit organizations who stand most to benefit from Web 2.0 opportunities, where so much can be accomplished for such a small investment of time and resources. Online video, for example, puts multimedia broadcasting into the hands of organizations that could never afford to buy television air time.
There's no charge to post an unlimited number of video on YouTube, for example, and a camera and computer are all the gear you need to get started. But is online video-sharing really a useful communication tool for you? Is it an effective way of connecting with others who share your interests, and spreading your nonprofit's message?
A report by eMarketer in February 2008 estimates at 85 million the number of podcast viewers in the US alone. By the end of 2008, YouTube hopes to reach 1 billion playbacks -- and with 30 million visitors per day playing 100 million videos each day, that goal seems well within grasp.
That's a huge potential audience.
What if you could reach even a fraction of that number? What if you could tell your nonprofit's most compelling stories to the rest of the world, or let donors see for themselves the results of your projects in the field?
Anyone can sign up for a free account to post a video on YouTube (and
American 501c registered charities can also take advantage of a special section dedicated to nonprofits: http://youtube.com/nonprofits, which includes enhanced promotion and a fundraising option via Google Checkout).
YouTube's own videa called Broadcast Your Cause gives tips for creating an effective video for your nonprofit, and making the most of sharing it online. It is a short introductory video (just over 2 minutes) so it hits the highlights quickly.
We've enlarged a bit on those video tips with a few more ideas -- but please feel free to share your own video experiences and advice in the comments section below.
Five Tips for NonProfit Videos:
1. Reach out: Think of your video as one-half of a conversation, not "a shrunken TV screen" on which you must perform. Ask questions, invite comments, and let your viewers know the address of your nonprofit's blog where they can find more information about your cause and continue the dialogue.
2. Partner up with like-minded organizations to promote each other's work -- or even to collaborate on your podcasting ventures. YouTube's channels and search function make it easy to find other nonprofitss on YouTube who are working for the same cause.
3. Keep it fresh: Frequently updated content will keep an audience coming back for more: consider a series of short videos, rather than one long.
4. Spread your message by embedding your video in your blog, on your website, and on social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Include the link in your organization's newsletter, or email it to your members with an invitation to view, comment, and share.
5. Be genuine: Slick professional video production is much less important in this new media than a sense of honest communication -- person to person -- about this cause that's close to your heart.
Explore YouTube's Non-Profit & Activism channel or Nonprofits page for a sense of what other organizations are doing. What ideas come to mind for your own organization? How might your nonprofit use video to carry your message to the world?