Jim Lynch

Jim Lynch

TechSoup is currently running their annual Storymakers contest so today we have TechSoup’s Jim Lynch to share some tips on how to create short, but compelling videos you can use for fundraising, to say thank you or to share your mission. ~Kivi

Guest Post by Jim Lynch of TechSoup

The heart of effective fundraising is telling a story that a donor can emotionally connect with. These days, one of the easiest ways to reach a donor with a story is through social media. When it comes to social media, visual marketing is a primary driver for connecting with audiences. This is why videos — and super short videos in particular — are attracting millions of users.

Why Really Short Matters

In my Nonprofit Technology News Celebrity Forecasts for 2014, one of the most cited themes among charity leaders was the importance of multi-channel fundraising. In a multi-channel approach, fundraisers go beyond just email and direct mail to incorporate other channels, including social media.

To be successful on social media, you need to give potential donors what they want the most: stories that are told visually.

Here’s why: Videos engage multiple senses with images, sound, and captioning. Stories told visually tend to naturally engage both sides of our brain. They speak directly to our emotions much more than text alone can. Even short videos can be emotionally charged. Facebook posts that include photos or videos tend to get many more comments than posts without them.

There are two newer social channels that have attracted the younger donors that many fundraisers are eager to reach: Instagram and Vine apps. Both are heavily used by people under 35 and have massive audiences, Instagram with 200 million monthly users and Vine with 100 million. If your organization wants to connect with younger donors and you’re looking for low- or no-cost approaches, these apps are a great place to start.

What Are Super Short Stories Anyway?

Instagram and Vine social media services are the key to super short videos, and are the easiest way to experiment with video making.

The Instagram and Vine mobile apps are free micro-video blogging services. The catch is that Instagram and Vine videos are short – really short. Instagram’s maximum is 15 seconds and Vine’s even less at 6 seconds. The apps make it very easy to create videos since they provide everything you need to shoot and edit your footage, and require no video experience. It only takes a few minutes to download the apps to your phone and try them out.

Once you’ve made your video, both apps allow you to share your videos on other sites such as Twitter and Facebook, or add them to your organization’s website by copy and pasting a bit of code.

What I find most astonishing about super short video is how much can be conveyed in just seconds, and still be effective storytelling tools for fundraising.

3 Types of Short Stories Your Organization Can Tell

According to nonprofit video expert, Aaron Bramley of Lights. Camera. Help, there are three basic types of super short videos that charities tend to use for fundraising.

1. Fundraising Videos

The Rape Foundation

2. Thank You Videos Diabetes UK: Thank You

3. Mission Execution Videos

Center For Literacy – A School for adults who want to improve their lives.

How To Use Super Short Videos For Fundraising

In polling charities who attended our recent TechSoup webinar on super-short videos, we found that most of them haven’t yet tried doing short videos. And most of them had no budget for doing any kind of video.

Like all social media marketing, it’s wise to begin by reaching out to the audiences you already have, probably on Facebook and Twitter. Try posting and tweeting about your new super short video there and ask what people think.

Engage with your audience in an active conversation — retweeting and commenting on their what they share. And, of course, don’t forget to ask your community members to share your video with their networks — ask them via social media and also your organization’s website, phone, email, or even face-to-face.

It will take some time to develop an audience on Instagram or Vine, so be patient. If resources are tight, choose one app and concentrate on building an audience there.

TechSoup Storymakers2014 LogoTechSoup Storymakers 2014 Contest

Another great way to get some serious attention for your super short story is to submit it to the TechSoup Storymakers 2014 Contest.

We’re giving away $13,000 in cash prizes for YouTube videos, photo sequences, and for our newest digital story category: super short videos. Justsubmit your nonprofit video or photo series and join the#Storymakers2014 conversation on Twitter.

The contest deadline is September 26, 2014, so get shooting!

Jim Lynch is a staff writer for TechSoup. He writes a column and other nonprofit technology pieces for the weekly TechSoup By-The-Cup Newsletter, the TechSoup For Libraries Newsletter, and NetSquared. He’s been a nonprofit fundraiser and techie for many years with a specialty in electronics recycling and reuse. He has been interviewed extensively over the years on computer recycling and related issues by the Wall St. Journal, National Public Radio, PC World Magazine, and many other news outlets.