001: Everything to Know About Nonprofit Video Marketing

According to YouTube, users view over 1 billion hours of video each day on its platform.

Why is it that so many nonprofits are still not leveraging the power of video?

In this kickoff episode of the Nonprofit Growth podcast, I caught up with Travis Sanchez, the Communications Director at FIRM. FIRM, or Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries, is a nonprofit organization that works to connect believers with effective ministries vetted in Israel.

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I know, I know. He’s my brother. But he’s also a video marketing wiz.

Travis and I discuss:

  • The value in emotional marketing for nonprofits.
  • 3 videos every nonprofit organization should have.
  • Examples of best-in-class video marketing.
  • Advice for nonprofits who want to get started in video marketing (because you really should).

This post is based on a podcast with Travis Sanchez of FIRM. To hear this episode and more like it, subscribe to the Nonprofit Growth podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, email, or wherever you get podcasts.

Why emotional marketing works

Leveraging the emotions of viewers is essential for successful video marketing, particularly for nonprofits.

At FIRM, Travis and the team are working to deliver a message of hope and belief. While there is a wholesome and inspiring story to be told, it can still be difficult to stand out from for-profit company videos that are backed by million-dollar (or more) budgets.

No, those for-profits aren’t directly FIRM’s competitors. But, in a very real way, we’re all competing for the viewer’s attention. That’s why it’s so vital that nonprofits pull at heartstrings, pile on the warm and fuzzies, or ignite a fire… figuratively speaking, of course.

Making a deeper connection with your viewers through emotion will help them remember you. Even if they aren’t ready to take the desired action yet, they will still keep your video in mind for when they are ready.

If you successfully leverage emotion, your viewers will remember the personal connection you made with them through the screen.

“If you care about your organization, you need to be in the video world.”Travis Sanchez

3 videos every nonprofit organization needs

Travis points out that for each of the following video types, it might prove most effective to keep them 1-1:30 minutes long. According to Vidyard, 73% of business videos are 2 minutes or shorter.

There are examples of successful longer marketing videos, however, shorter videos tend to be easier for viewers to digest and retain.

If your organization only has the time or resources to make a handful of videos, seriously consider creating the following three.

1. The explainer

Your nonprofit’s explainer video should give a clear image of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re doing it.

This is your chance to put visuals to your organization’s purpose. You should touch on the problem your nonprofit is passionate about and the solution you’ve implemented. Talk about the inspiration of your organization and the populations you’re serving.

In the end, make sure to include a call-to-action. It’s important to include a CTA so if the viewer is moved to take action, they’ll know what to do.

2. The “why you should care”

The “why you should care” video, or problem video, is meant to sell the problem that your organization is solving.

It’s easy for us in the States to distance ourselves from the turmoil outside our borders. Nonprofits based outside of the U.S. — such as FIRM (Israel) — need to use emotional marketing in order to get viewers to care about a problem outside of their homes.

Your problem video should use more emotion than the explainer video. Essentially, you’re deep-diving into why your organization does the work it does.

What’s the driving force? What’s the passion behind your mission statement? Most importantly, why should everyone else care?

Again, include a CTA at the end of your problem video. Viewers should be especially moved to take action after this type of video.

3. The hero story

The third video your nonprofit should seriously consider making is the hero story.

The hero story highlights an individual that your organization has impacted in a positive way. The hero can be someone who your nonprofit has helped or a partner of your organization.

The hero story video is effective because it shows a third-party that vouches for your organization. This increases your nonprofit’s credibility in the eyes of the viewer.

(Don’t forget the CTA at the end!)

Videos tell stories and stories are memorable.” —Travis Sanchez

Examples of best-in-class nonprofit video marketing

Oftentimes, it’s easier to envision your own organization’s videos after watching a few top-notch examples. Travis suggests checking out these videos and channels for inspiration:

Charity Water YouTube Channel

Travis advises nonprofits to take a look at Charity Water’s “problem” videos. This organization does an excellent job of selling the problem they’re working to solve and making the viewer care about their mission.

Pencils of Promise (PoP) YouTube Channel

Travis admires the clarity and educational element to PoP’s explainer videos.

Invisible Children KONY 2012

Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 video is an example of a long-form video that touches on almost every aspect of the organization and the problem. While it’s a good idea to keep your videos short, this is one instance of a successful full-length video. It shows elements of all three of the most important videos every nonprofit should have.

FIRM Shabbat Shalom // An Invitation to Come Home

FIRM’s very own video on the meaning of “shabbat shalom” exemplifies awareness-building content. Although the video doesn’t necessarily promote anything that FIRM does, it builds a bridge between content the targeted audience cares about and what FIRM wants them to care about.

Hopefully, these examples of successful video marketing spark inspiration for your own strategy.

Advice for nonprofit video beginners

Through his experiences in video marketing, Travis has picked up a few tips along the way. He offers advice for nonprofits looking to outsource video production as well as for organizations thinking about doing it in-house.

Outsourcing video marketing

  1. Know your message. If you can’t describe what your organization does in less than two minutes, how will your videographer do it? Ask yourself, “If I were a stranger, would I get it?”
  2. Create a script beforehand. This will help your videographer better understand what you’re looking for. Besides, their job is to shoot video, not to write.
  3. Align yourself with a videographer who appreciates your purpose. It’s likely that you’ll be happier with the finished product if the videographer is also passionate about your mission.

In-house video marketing

  1. If you’re waiting for the resources to make that mind-blowing, ultra-produced video, you’re never going to get any content up.
  2. Grab your phone, a tripod, and hit record. Talk about what’s important to your nonprofit and why others should care.
  3. Keep posting videos that demonstrate the passion in your organization. They will begin to gain traction.

Just start creating

There’s no doubt that most nonprofits have limited resources for video marketing. Travis emphasizes that it’s still not an excuse to not be creating. You don’t need the fanciest equipment or the most impressive scenery.

The video can literally be you just strolling through your office or down the street, talking to your phone. The content of what you’re saying is the most important factor.

Recording high res video is easier than ever. Keep Travis’ expert advice in mind, grab your phone, and start creating!

“If you’re a nonprofit, you just need to start creating.” —Travis Sanchez

Dan Sanchez, MBA

Dan Sanchez is a marketing director, co-host of the B2B Growth show, and blogger. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and BS in Marketing Management from Western Governors University. Learn more about Dan »

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