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A Information to Nonprofit Video Storytelling

Utilizing movies as a part of your nonprofit’s storytelling is among the most partaking methods to achieve your viewers.

Natalie Stamer, co-owner and managing accomplice at Streetlight Digital, defined that movies make your group stand out amongst others vying for consideration throughout the web, from overflowing electronic mail inboxes to endless social media feeds.

“When you concentrate on the noise throughout the [digital] panorama, you actually have to consider what breaks by way of the muddle,” Stamer mentioned. “Actually, video storytelling is what’s breaking by way of the muddle — it’s what individuals are watching; it’s why TikTok is such an enormous platform proper now and on the rise.”

Plus, movies allow you to share a lot extra together with your viewers than photographs or textual content alone.

“If an image is value a thousand phrases, then a video is value a thousand footage,” mentioned Janet Tonner, president of media and digital at Moore. “We all know that emotion is actually what results in motion, and that’s what we’re asking of potential donors or advocates or volunteers — we’re asking them to take some motion. In my thoughts, video is among the finest methods to showcase emotion.”

Movies are an effective way to indicate how your donors’ actions affect the group’s mission, which builds belief. Due to this, donors usually tend to have interaction with movies, thereby serving to increase retention, Tonner mentioned.

Getting Began With Video Storytelling

A part of what makes video storytelling so efficient is its versatility.

“CTV has so many functions,” Tonner mentioned. “It may be used for advocacy, it may be used for lead gen, it may be used for acquisition, it may be used to improve donors to a sustainer or mid-level present. It may be utilized in all levels of the donor journey.”

Movies additionally lend themselves simply to many channels — MMS messaging, electronic mail, social media and even QR codes on unsolicited mail — which makes them a wonderful part to incorporate in your omnichannel advertising.

“Our purchasers use outbound telemarketing,” Tonner mentioned, “and what we’ve discovered is after we serve a video earlier than they’re even contacted, they’re extra prone to take the decision — after which once they do take the decision, they’re extra prone to convert.”

Whereas video matches many wants, Stamer emphasised the significance of testing to see if movies work to your viewers.

“You could be serving an viewers that’s pleased with nonetheless photographs, however you gained’t know that till you check [videos and images] facet by facet,” she mentioned. “We at all times say we by no means ‘set it and overlook it.’ We at all times suppose by way of what we are able to check facet by facet, particularly with video.”

Moreover, Tonner mentioned that video is an efficient device for focusing on the subsequent era of donors as a result of “that’s what they grew up with — they grew up conversing by way of video.”

Nonetheless, Stamer cautioned towards relying too closely on video.

“I’m an enormous proponent of not leaning into anybody sort of channel for storytelling,” she mentioned. “I feel there nonetheless are individuals who wish to dive deep right into a weblog submit that offers you the intimate particulars. There’s anyone else who would possibly wish to simply see the image and the caption and get an actual fast learn. After which there’s anyone else who’s going to wish to take 30 seconds, minute, minute and a half, to see that story in video.”

What’s Working for Nonprofit Movies

Now that you’ve got the fundamentals down, listed here are some pointers that will help you take your video storytelling to the subsequent stage.

Linked TV

One of many video channels that has been profitable for nonprofits currently has been linked TV (CTV).

“CTV is dramatically on the rise,” mentioned Stamer. 

In response to the newest analysis, CTV advert spend in america was anticipated to surpass $30 billion in 2024, up 17% from 2023. And it’s no shock why: CTV reaches 99% of households, per the identical knowledge.

CTV is among the dearer channels for launching movies, however its advantages can’t be ignored.

“CTV adverts usually are not skippable, and the platforms don’t use cookies,” Tonner mentioned. “What’s extra, you get 30 seconds — that’s the vast majority of the stock for CTV — so it provides you that 30 seconds of emotional storytelling with the focusing on capability of digital.”

Meaning you may goal people and segments of your donor base, reminiscent of lapsed donors.

Tonner additionally highlighted that, in contrast to a video on social media, your viewers usually tend to have the quantity up for CTV, that means you may get inventive with sounds, background music and even voiceovers to ship your message.

Preserve Your Viewers In Thoughts

When making a video marketing campaign, it may be straightforward to get tunnel imaginative and prescient about what you wish to talk to your viewers. Stamer warned that this won’t be the best technique for creating partaking content material.

“I feel nonprofits have a tendency to inform their viewers what they need them to listen to about themselves and what they’re doing and their mission,” she mentioned. “However what the viewers appears to typically wish to hear — a minimum of in our expertise — is who’s being helped, what’s the affect, what are the outcomes of the donations, why ought to they offer.”

As well as, you need to be aware of your viewers’s consideration span. Whereas 30 seconds is an ordinary video size, Stamer mentioned it’s extra necessary to make sure your video makes a great impression proper off the bat.

“Our consideration spans are simply getting shorter and shorter, so it’s a kind of issues that I don’t know that the size of the video issues, however the consideration grabbing at first is what issues,” Stamer mentioned. “If you may get their consideration and hook them in these first 5 to eight seconds, then you may hold their consideration for the total 30 seconds, minute, minute and a half.”

Synthetic Intelligence

Synthetic intelligence (AI) may help cut back the time and monetary sources put into video creation. Whereas some could fear in regards to the ethics of AI, there are two guiding ideas you may comply with: 

  1. Make sure the AI you’re utilizing solely pulls from content material you have got full permission to make use of.
  2. Solely do what you’re snug with.

“Let’s say, for instance, we’re filming anyone at a meals financial institution who agreed to be a part of our video,” Tonner mentioned. “We inform the shopper and this particular person, ‘Right here’s the script. I’m going to movie you saying these phrases for the core video, however listed here are all the extra strains we gained’t have to movie immediately that I could use for versioning utilizing generative AI. This manner we shorten your time funding and ours whereas nonetheless capturing what you need your story to be.’ We get full permission forward of time, after which closing sign-off from the particular person and the shopper earlier than something airs.”

This may additionally assist in circumstances reminiscent of somebody lacking their line repeatedly. Tonner gave the instance of a pediatric hospital affected person who couldn’t get their line proper and “simply wished to go residence.” With the permission of the affected person’s mother and father, they used generative AI to get the specified video whereas taking the burden off the affected person and slicing down on recording time.

As a closing observe, Tonner emphasised it is best to at all times get approval on the ultimate video.

Strengths-Based mostly Messaging

Your group could also be hesitant to make use of video storytelling to generate assist to your trigger since you don’t wish to present the recipients of your assist as victims.

“You wish to characterize folks with dignity, and never put them in a destructive gentle,” Stamer mentioned.

The excellent news is that there’s no have to keep away from video. As an alternative, you may look to strengths-based messaging. Stamer used Boys & Ladies Golf equipment, considered one of Streetlight Digital’s purchasers, for example.

“We may present actually depressing youngsters hanging out on the street, avoiding gangs, entering into medicine — no matter,” she mentioned. “That may be a horrible option to characterize these youngsters, however as an alternative what we do is we current the constructive facet of what Boys & Ladies Golf equipment do to assist these youngsters and the alternatives they’ve due to the Boys & Ladies Golf equipment. So it could be smiling youngsters who’re having lunch juxtaposed with the truth that one in 5 youngsters are meals insecure proper now, and Boys & Ladies Golf equipment is stepping in to fill that void.”

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