Raise Money for Your Nonprofit Using Video

I recently had the privilege of attending the Small Museum Association’s Annual Conference, where I gained a lot of insight into what it takes to run a small museum.
What amazed me most was the passion I saw within each organization. The size of their budget was definitely not proportional to the amount of their enthusiasm. Regardless of how much money they had to spend, their focus was on finding the best ways to share each museum’s unique history and culture.

And yet, money did matter. A lot.

It mattered in terms of updating existing exhibits as well as being able to create new ones. One museum administrator spent close to a year, and over 100 hours of his own time, to create an audio walking tour of his small city. Yes, the project was “free,” but what was his time worth?  Could his skills have been better utilized elsewhere if he’d delegated the project to a paid professional?

Which leads me to the old adage - sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

One of the best ways to do that, particularly for non-profit organizations, is to create a video that moves people to donate to your cause. You will have to invest money, but the money you bring in as a result will make up for the expense, sometimes 16-fold. Does this sound too good to be true? The Harrison Medical Center Foundation in Bremerton, WA could never have imagined what video could do for them, until they decided to invest in a video to show at their annual gala. The amazing response from donors (they raised $65,000 instead of the targeted $30,000) made it possible for Harrison Hospital to respond to far more community healthcare needs than they had dreamed.

Here are some ideas to consider if you are thinking of making the investment:

  • Video makes things personal. Much like Skyping with your family versus emailing, seeing and hearing someone is more meaningful than reading text. It takes a human, emotional connection to move a lapsed donor to give, and video can help you make that connection.
  • Video makes it easy for viewers to understand your mission. Potential donors want to see and hear about your achievements. They want to “get” why you do what you do. Repurposing clips and photos from the past year or two is a great way to show people how their valuable donations are being used.
  • People relate to individuals more than they do a group. Choose one or two charismatic people who have an interesting story to tell and whose lives have somehow been impacted for the better through your organization. Or find a voice from the community to talk about the work your organization has done for the greater good.
  • Get your message out there! Think wide-range.  Post the video on your website, but also take advantage of popular social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as sponsors’ and supporters’ websites. The more people who see your message, the more chance it has to succeed.
  • Make it easy for your supporters. Include a “donate now” tab for their convenience, so that when they’ve been touched by what you’ve shown them, they are more likely to give. (For more information on how to create this for a YouTube video, click here.)  Also, check out this video.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us.  We love working with nonprofits and would be happy to discuss how we can help with your fundraising efforts.