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August 3, 2023

How to Use Video to Connect with Potential Supporters

Guest Blog Writer

Did you know that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video but only 10% when they read it in text? 
While you should still keep up with your typical marketing methods, you can perhaps more effectively propel your mission forward using video on your website. Videos are an engaging way to connect with potential donors and volunteers and explain why they should lend their support.
To help you create high-quality video content for your nonprofit, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • Planning Your Nonprofit Video
  • Incorporating Nonprofit Storytelling
  • Focusing on Impact
  • Ensuring Accessibility
  • Inspiring Action

By focusing on these areas, you’ll produce website videos that are informative and inspiring for potential supporters. That way, you can grow your supporter base, enabling you to promote your cause to a wider audience. Let’s get started!

Planning Your Nonprofit's Video

Before you dive into creating your video content, take the time to nail down the details. Start with the overarching goal for the video. Videos that are meant to encourage donations will look a lot different than those that are trying to increase volunteer registrations.

Next, make sure your video will be compatible with your website. For websites created using WordPress, it’s recommended to upload videos with 1080p resolution and use their web-optimized setting.

When creating video content for your website, you should not only consider your CMS’s specifications but also ensure your content can be cross-promoted on other platforms. Every platform has its own aspect ratio, posting regulations, and file size limitations that you’ll want to be aware of before content creation begins.

For example, Google Ad Grant participants have access to the YouTube Nonprofit Program, which offers special features geared toward nonprofits. Going over YouTube’s upload guidelines would be beneficial before making content for the platform.

Lastly, determine if you’d like to create one, all-encompassing video or different variations for each platform. Think about the audience and features of each platform to help you decide.

Combining all these considerations into a cohesive strategy will save you time and resources later on during the filming and editing processes.

Incorporating Nonprofit Storytelling

Compelling storytelling will help supporters feel connected to your mission. As Graham Pelton explains, building your case for support around a narrative that highlights your organization’s strengths is a powerful way to encourage contributions to your cause.

It’s helpful to introduce a character for your story that potential supporters can root for. In the case of an animal shelter, this character may be a dog that was returned to the shelter in a malnourished condition. 
Then, you can explain how your organization helped this character out. For example, an animal shelter would detail the ways its team nursed the dog back to health and ultimately found the pet a loving home.
The key to storytelling is to indicate how viewers could help continue supporting success stories like the one you’ve presented. Rounding out the animal shelter example, demonstrate how donors or volunteers enabled your organization to help this lonely pet. Then, you can tell viewers how they can get involved to make a similar impact.

While data and statistics certainly have their place, use them sparingly in your nonprofit videos. Storytelling is more likely to elicit emotion and thus draw viewers in, ultimately encouraging them to lend their support.

Focusing on Impact

After viewing your video, the top insight viewers should glean is how they can make a difference. When you focus on how donors and volunteers support your mission, you can highlight the significant impact your supporters have.

A great way to illustrate supporter impact is through testimonials. Ask your supporters about their experience with your organization so they can explain the mark they’ve made in their own terms. You can also ask your beneficiaries to share their stories and explain how your nonprofit has helped them.

For example, this video from the “Get Involved” page of the Ronald McDonald House website features real families to encourage volunteer signups.

In addition to gaining new supporters, impact-focused videos are also beneficial for retaining donors. Seeing the importance of their contributions illustrated in an engaging format can remind donors why they enjoy supporting your cause. 

To make sure your video is entirely focused on impact, cut out all unnecessary or repetitive information. That way, you can also make your video shorter and more likely for viewers to watch all the way through.

Ensuring Accessibility

Following accessibility best practices ensures that as many potential supporters as possible can experience your video content. Use the list of video accessibility tips below as a checklist when creating your video:

  • Add captions. Captions allow deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers to understand the message of your video. They can also be useful for viewers who are experiencing sound issues on their devices or watching your video in a public space without headphones. Make sure your captions are synchronized with the accompanying audio and appear on the screen long enough for viewers to read them.
  • Offer audio descriptions. Audio descriptions are the opposite of captions. They summarize the visual aspects of your video so blind and visually impaired people can understand them in an audio format.
  • Choose colors and fonts carefully. To make your video as easy to view as possible, ensure there’s sufficient color contrast between each visual element. Additionally, opt for fonts that are easy to read and have distinct letters.
  • Ensure your website has an accessible design. Nonprofit websites should be designed with accessibility in mind. Ensure the video player on your website supports captions and audio descriptions, and equip the rest of the site with high-contrast colors and legible fonts. 

When everyone can experience your video content the way you intended, you can include all potential supporters and encourage them to contribute to your cause. Check out Kanopi’s roundup of top nonprofit websites for examples of how the best websites use accessibility to engage audiences effectively.

Inspire Action in Your Video

Circle back to the initial goal you established for your video. How can you inspire viewers to take action and push you toward your objective?

Clear calls to action make it easy for potential supporters to get involved. Don’t assume viewers understand what you want them to do just by watching your video. Make it explicit what their next actions should be and how they’ll add value to your organization as a result.

To accompany those calls to action, supply the necessary information viewers need to follow through. For example, if your goal is to encourage volunteer registrations using your nonprofit website, add a link to your volunteer signup form in the video description. Including a link to your testimonials page would be appropriate for videos that are focused on raising general awareness for your cause.

With new technology and resources evolving daily, it can be difficult to know which new processes to incorporate into your marketing strategy. Nonprofit videos have proven to be a powerful marketing tool that can help rally support and inspire action. Adding video to your mix of marketing methods with the tips we’ve outlined will help initiate new donor and volunteer relationships and consistently build your support base.

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.