A guest post by Doug Scott of Tectonic Video
Nonprofits rely on donations from supporters to fund their missions and make a positive impact on their communities. However, with so many organizations competing for attention and resources, it can be difficult to stand out and connect with potential donors. That’s where video comes into play.
Nonprofit video storytelling can help you create a compelling narrative that engages viewers and inspires them to take action. In this guide, we’ll discuss four effective ways to engage donors with nonprofit video stories.
Ready to inspire support for your cause? Let’s get started!
1. Film for each stage of the donor journey
One useful strategy for attracting prospective donors and building stronger relationships with current supporters is to tailor your nonprofit videos to the donor journey. The donor journey, also known as the donor pipeline, refers to the steps that a person takes to become an official donor for your cause. The more familiar you are with a donor’s journey through your organization, the better you can appeal to their interests and solicit their support.
To ensure that your content is relevant and personalized to each donor’s level of engagement, film your video stories with the following stages of the donor journey in mind:
- Awareness Stage: In the awareness stage, your nonprofit’s goal should be to raise brand awareness and attract new potential donors. Create videos that introduce your mission, values, and services.
- Interest Stage: During the interest stage, you want to engage potential donors and encourage them to learn more about your organization. Provide in-depth information about your services through behind-the-scenes looks and interviews with staff or volunteers.
- Consideration Stage: In the consideration stage, nonprofits work to convert potential donors into actual donors. Highlight the impact of your programs and services, making sure to include success stories from people who have benefited from your services. You should also explain how donor contributions make a difference in the community.
- Action Stage: The action stage occurs when a donor makes a contribution in support of your cause. During this stage, remember to thank donors for their gifts and showcase the direct impact of their support. These videos should also include calls-to-action that encourage donors to deepen their involvement with your organization, such as by volunteering or attending events.
Track donor behavior at each of these stages to gain insights into which types of content or messaging resonate most with your audience and adjust your communication strategies accordingly for future engagement efforts.
2. Follow a narrative storytelling structure
Most written stories take readers on a journey from beginning to middle to end, providing them with memorable and intriguing experiences along the way. Your video stories should do the same.
To tell a compelling video story that engages and creates an emotional connection with viewers, follow a narrative storytelling structure that includes these elements:
- Introduction: The first scene of your video should hook viewers and entice them to stick around for the rest of your story. To do so, introduce a compelling main character that has a strong connection to your organization, such as a beneficiary, donor, or staff member.
- Conflict: Introduce a conflict or challenge that the main character is facing. This could be a personal struggle or a larger social issue that your nonprofit is working to address, such as world hunger.
- Rising Action: Add momentum by showing how the main character is attempting to overcome the conflict.
- Resolution: Show how the main character overcomes the conflict or challenge with the help of your nonprofit’s programs or services. For instance, if your character is suffering from food insecurity, demonstrate how your nonprofit’s food delivery program provides them with nutritious meals.
- Conclusion: Wrap up with a conclusion that ties everything together and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. This could involve underlining the importance of your nonprofit’s mission and encouraging viewers to get involved to help drive your impact.
Keep in mind that this storytelling structure can and should be adjusted to align with your specific video storytelling needs. For instance, if you’re filming a fundraising video, you might choose to introduce your campaign in the opening scene, rather than introducing a main character.
3. Prioritize high-quality video production
NXUnite defines nonprofit video production as a multi-step process that includes planning, scripting, filming, editing, and publishing video content. While it’s possible to oversee this process yourself, a video story that is filmed, edited, and produced by nonprofit video professionals is more likely to achieve your desired outcome.
Nonprofit video production companies are dedicated to helping mission-driven organizations create high-quality content that engages donors. They can provide your organization with:
- High-quality video content that effectively communicates your mission.
- Assistance with developing ideas, scripting, filming, and post-production.
- Access to professional-grade equipment and editing software for creating more polished and engaging video content.
- Collaboration with a team of experienced video professionals who have knowledge of the latest video production trends.
As professionals bring your video story to life and oversee each of these complex steps, they free up time for other important initiatives, allowing you to focus on driving positive change in the community.
4. Adopt a multichannel marketing strategy
Once your video is scripted, filmed, and edited, it’s time to share it with donors. Tectonic Video’s guide to video marketing recommends publishing your video stories on Vimeo or Youtube, as these platforms have built-in tools for tracking engagement. Then, share the link across multiple marketing channels like:
- Social Media: Share your nonprofit’s videos on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Use hashtags and tags to increase visibility and encourage sharing.
- Email Campaigns: Include videos in your email outreach, making sure to add a compelling subject line and preview image to encourage donors to click on the video.
- Website: Embed your nonprofit’s videos across your website’s homepage, donation page, or program pages. This provides an engaging way for donors to learn more about your nonprofit’s work and can help you remain relevant online.
- Events: Screen your video stories at events, such as fundraisers, galas, or community gatherings, to showcase your impact and inspire attendees to contribute to your cause.
By adopting a multichannel marketing strategy, you increase your chances of reaching donors on their preferred platforms and inspiring them to act.
Author: Doug Scott
Doug is the Founder & CEO of Tectonic Video. He has more than 20 years of nonprofit communications experience as a filmmaker, communications director, chief marketing officer and leader of two creative agencies for nonprofits. Doug is a global citizen having traveled to more than 50 countries. He earned his B.A. in Strategic Communications from DePaul University, and he’s a frequent guest lecturer at Stanford University on topics related to nonprofit storytelling and storytelling ethics.