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Using Video to Engage Members and Supporters

Lori Halley 03 August 2011 2 comments

Video sure has come a long way from dad’s home movies! YouTube videos of talking dogs and children in a post-dentist haze can go viral in a flash. And interest in videos spans all of the generations.  I’ve recently seen an 85-year-old grandmother getting hooked and watching videos on my laptop for hours!

Pew  Research Report Confirms Increased Video Use

A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project report confirms the increased interest in video. The Pew Report found that:

“71% of online Americans use video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, up from 66% a year earlier. The use of video-sharing sites on any given day also jumped five percentage points, from 23% of online Americans in May 2010 to 28% in May 2011.

The report suggests that “the rise of broadband and better mobile networks and devices”  means that  “rural internet users are now just as likely as users in urban and suburban areas to have used these sites.”

Kathleen Moore, the author of the report, noted that “people use these sites for every imaginable reason – to laugh and learn, to watch the best and worst of popular culture and to check out news. And video-sharing sites are very social spaces as people vote on, comment on, and share these videos with others.”

Our Experience With Video

Wild Apricot has seen first-hand how effective video can be in attracting attention and promoting support.  Not only have the videos we've posted on our YouTube page gained a high volume of views, but we've also found that these not only drive traffic to our Membership Management Software website, but they also offer high conversion or software purchase rates.

Here's an example of a video we put together using Camtasia Studio, a program that allows you to capture your screen actions in real-time.  This is a great program to use if you are showing detailed "how-to" type information, but you can also create using free or nearly-free tools to create effective videos.  Movie Maker for Windows and iMovie for the Mac can be used on your desktop, or if you like the flexibility of keeping things in the cloud, YouTube has its very own online editor.

Promoting Your Organization or Message Through YouTube

Video can be very effective for nonprofits and membership organizations who want to get their story told or their message across. As Rebecca noted in a post a few years back about promoting nonprofits through YouTube, ”online video …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 videos on YouTube, for example, and a camera and computer are all the gear you need to get started.”

YouTube offers a Nonprofit Program that is available to eligible organizations (see Program Requirements) in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.  It offers a designated “Nonprofit” channel that you can use to deliver your message, tell your story and connect with your supporters, members volunteers or donors. They also offer tips for small-budget videos in their “YouTube on a Shoestring.” You might also want to check out some samples of popular videos in their Nonprofits & Activism videos page.

Has Your Organization Tried Video?

Has your membership organization or nonprofit explored the world of video? What about your current or potential members, supporters or volunteers - could you grab their attention with a video?

If you haven’t investigated video yet, you’re not alone. In a Socialbrite post back in May, JD Lasica notes that “of the more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, only 10,000 had bothered to apply for the YouTube nonprofits program.” In this post, Lasica outlined  Ramya Raghavan’s (YouTube’s News and Politics Manager) “6 ways Google is offering free help to nonprofits,”  which includes an overview of YouTube Insight, YouTube GoodWork, YouTube Direct and much more – have a look.

If you decide to put on your director’s cap and you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, check out another post from JD Lasica at Socialbrite – a self proclaimed longtime proponent of visual storytelling –  that offers 8 Great Examples of Nonprofit Storytelling.”

Tell us about your video success stories – leave us a note in the comments below!

Read More:

Here are some other Wild Apricot blog posts about video:

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 03 August 2011 at 9:00 AM


  • Carrie said:

    Thursday, 04 August 2011 at 8:48 AM

    An organization I worked for previously has a low-literacy population, and another had a non-English speaking population. Videos were very helpful for explaining things like HIV testing information/processes/etc. or for basic community information low-literacy Spanish speakers in our community.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 04 August 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Carrie: Yes - effective visuals are, as they say, worth a thousand words.

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