Alright, let’s talk about the king of content – video! According to our 2023 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, nearly all nonprofits (95%) now create some type of video content. Video marketing is now more important to nonprofits than ever.

And rightly so. Did you know that videos get 1200% more shares than text and image content combined? On Instagram alone, videos get over 2 times more engagement than Instagram photos.

Yeah, you read that right! As you know, with the explosive rise of Tik Tok, people just can’t resist watching videos, and that includes your supporters.

And what’s the ROI for busy social impact marketers like ourselves? A few quick stats:

  • Hubspot reported that 83% of video marketers claimed that they had generated leads with the help of video content. That’s certainly not a small number.
  • 58% of Instagram users claim to have become more interested in a brand/product after seeing it in Stories.
  • A further 50% of them say they have visited a website to buy a product/service as a result of seeing it in Stories.

There’s no arguing about the value of video in our marketing strategies these days.

So, how can nonprofits keep using video marketing to their advantage? Well, take a look at charity: water, for example. They create emotional and engaging videos suitable for social media sharing that showcase their mission to provide clean drinking water to people in need. These videos are so powerful that they’ve raised millions of dollars in donations!

We know video can seem daunting, but don’t let your questions, fears, or already overwhelming to-do list stop you from capitalizing on the power of video.

As non-profit marketers, we too can take advantage of this trend by creating engaging video content that tells your story and inspires viewers to take action.

But what does one need to do to actually drive action and engagement?

What’s Trending in Video Marketing

Let’s start by exploring the latest video trends and what types of videos viewers are actually watching:

  • Vertical Short Form: This is all about those videos you see on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, where the video is shot in a vertical format and lasts just a few seconds. These are great for catching people’s attention and sharing quick messages.
  • Educational and how-to videos are highly effective: Consumers are always looking for ways to solve their problems or learn new skills, so instructional videos that offer helpful advice can be very successful.
  • Emotional storytelling is key: Nonprofits are often focused on creating change in the world, and emotional storytelling can help connect viewers to that mission. According to the Nonprofit Marketing Guide, “A video that tells a compelling story, even if it doesn’t mention your nonprofit, can be an effective way to introduce people to your cause.”
  • User-generated content: This is content created by your audience, whether that’s through submitting photos or videos or participating in a social media challenge. UGC is not only a great way to engage with your supporters and build a sense of community around your nonprofit, but it encourages a popular theme in today’s social content – authenticity.
  • Trending audio: No doubt by now you’ve seen a video with a popular song or sound effect playing in the background. Hopping on the latest viral audio can be a great way to stay on-trend and add some personality to your videos.
  • Shoppable videos: This is all about making it easy for people to donate or take action after watching your video. You can add a call-to-action or donation link directly to your video on some platforms, making it easy for people to take action.

But first…Strategy: Create a Killer a Video Marketing Strategy

Now that we know what types of videos are popular, let’s take a step back to  create a video marketing strategy that will help your specific nonprofit stand out. Here are some steps to get started:

  1. Set goals and objectives: What do you want to achieve with your video marketing campaign? Are you looking to raise awareness of your cause, drive donations, or recruit volunteers? Be specific about your goals, and think about how you will measure success.
  2. Identify your target audience: Who do you want to reach with your videos? Consider factors such as age, location, interests, and values. You may need to create different videos for different segments of your audience. This will also help you figure out which platform to focus on.
  3. Create a content plan: Based on your goals and target audience, develop a plan for the types of videos you will create and when you will release them. This might include a mix of educational videos, emotional storytelling, and calls to action (keep reading on for some more suggestions).
  4. Find your voice and niche: To stand out from the crowd, it’s important to develop a unique voice and style for your videos. Think about what sets your nonprofit apart from others, and how you can communicate that in your videos. Then be consistent with this voice throughout all of your videos and other content types.

Content Ideas to Connect with Your Audience

Okay – I got the strategy but what exactly should I talk about?

  1. Personal stories: Share stories of real people who have been impacted by your nonprofit’s work. This can help humanize your organization and show the impact of your work in a powerful way. Or share stories of your staff! What do their days look like? Why do they choose to work there?
  2. Behind the scenes: Give viewers a sneak peek into the day-to-day operations of your nonprofit, including how you fundraise, volunteer, or collaborate with other organizations. Or show a day in the life of a staff member.
  3. How-to tutorials: These have yet to get stale. Create videos that teach viewers how to get involved with your organization, such as how to volunteer, donate, or advocate for your cause. You can also teach them how to do things that are aligned with your mission. For example, PETA created a video tutorial on how to create vegan meals, encouraging viewers to make the switch to a more sustainable and ethical diet.
  4. Events and fundraisers: Create videos that promote upcoming events and fundraisers, and show the excitement and energy of these events.
  5. Success stories: Share success stories of your nonprofit’s impact and how you’re making a difference in your community or the world.
  6. Expert interviews: Invite experts in your field to share their knowledge and insights on your cause. This can help position your nonprofit as a thought leader in your space and increase credibility with your audience. An example of this is how the ACLU created videos featuring interviews with legal experts on issues related to civil liberties and human rights.
  7. Call-to-action videos: Create videos that inspire viewers to take action, such as signing a petition, making a donation, or sharing your content on social media.

Which of these do you think would resonate most with your audience?

Whatever theme you choose remember the keys to a successful video are that they have a clear message, are visually appealing (usually), evoke emotion and shareability. Sometimes the best videos are the ones that are simple and straightforward. Don’t try to overcomplicate things with fancy effects or elaborate scripts. Focus on delivering a clear message and telling a compelling story that resonates with your audience.

Creating Videos on a Budget: Cutting Costs, but not Creativity

I know. Most of us don’t have a big budget for video creation. But, don’t worry, you don’t need a Hollywood budget to make great or effective video content. Here are some tips for creating videos on a shoestring budget or timeline:

  1. Use free or low-cost tools: There are many free or low-cost video editing tools available, such as iMovie, Adobe Premiere Rush, and Animoto – a user-friendly platform for creating video content with pre-made templates and music. Canva is a great tool for creating video thumbnails, title cards, and other graphics.  And as far as equipment, you can also use your smartphone to record video footage with the proper lighting and sound.
  1. Repurpose existing content: You may already have photos, blog posts, or other materials that can be repurposed into a video. This can save time and money while still delivering a compelling message.
  2. Leverage user-generated content: Encourage supporters to submit their own videos or photos that showcase your nonprofit’s impact. This can be a powerful way to engage your audience and highlight your mission. Charity: water did this with their “My Charity: water Birthday” campaign. They asked people to donate their birthday to charity: water and share a video about it. This campaign raised over $3 million and was created with just user-generated content!

Show Me the Metrics: Measuring Success

You made a killer video, but how do you know if it’s paying off? Once you’ve created and released your videos, it’s important to track their performance and make adjustments as needed. Here are some key metrics to monitor:

  1. Views: How many people are watching your videos? This is a good starting point, but keep in mind that views alone don’t necessarily indicate success.
  2. Engagement: Are viewers leaving comments, liking, and sharing your videos? This can be a sign that your content is resonating with your audience.
  3. Conversions: Are viewers taking the desired action after watching your videos? This might include making a donation, signing up for a newsletter, or volunteering.  If you are a wildlife conservation organization for example, working to bring awareness to endangered species through your videos, how many of your viewers clicked through to sign your petition or donate to your conservation efforts?

Let’s take this concept a little deeper:

  • Click-through rate (CTR): If your video contains a call-to-action (CTA), such as a link to your website or a donation page, CTR measures how many viewers clicked on the link. This can help you understand how effective your CTA is and whether you need to adjust the placement, wording, or design of your CTA in the video
  • Cost per conversion: If your video campaign has a specific goal, such as acquiring new donors, you can calculate the cost per conversion by dividing the total cost of the campaign by the number of conversions (donations, sign-ups, etc.) it generated. This can help you evaluate the ROI of your video marketing efforts and make informed decisions about future campaigns.
  • Finally, Audience retention: This metric can be very telling. It measures how long viewers are watching your videos. By analyzing audience retention, you can identify which parts of your videos are most engaging and which parts are causing viewers to lose interest. Or if you need to adjust your length. This information can help you optimize future videos to better capture and hold viewers’ attention.

Tracking and measuring are keys to assessing if all of your video planning, strategy, and creativity is truly achieving the goals you set out for. Take back your time by working smart with metrics.

Going Live: The Power of Live Video

Live video can also be a powerful way to engage with your audience in real-time and build a sense of community around your nonprofit’s mission. It allows you to share updates, answer questions, and even showcase events as they happen. Here are some tips for leveraging live video:

  1. Promote your live stream in advance to build excitement and increase attendance.
  2. Use a platform that is easy to use and accessible to your audience. Almost all platforms  have the mechanism to go  live. Pick the one where your audience is: Is it Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Tik Tok Live, YouTube Live, or a combination of them all?
  3. Plan your content ahead of time, but be open to responding to audience questions and feedback during the stream.

TIP! It is okay to say you don’t know something and even throw it back to the audience

American Cancer Society used live video for their Relay For Life event. They streamed the event on Facebook Live, allowing people to participate and donate from all over the world. This creates a sense of unity and urgency around the cause, and helps raise even more funds for cancer research. So, don’t be afraid to go live and connect with your supporters in a whole new way.

If you want more on this topic, check out this still relevant guest post by John Haydon on How to Use Facebook Live to Raise Money

Leveraging Influencers and Partners in Your Video Marketing

We all know that collaborating with influencers and partners can help your nonprofit reach new audiences and build credibility. But how can you find the right people to work with? Here are some tips for successful partnerships:

  1. Choose partners who align with your nonprofit’s mission and values. For example, if you’re a nonprofit focused on animal welfare, partnering with a popular pet influencer on social media could be a great fit.
  2. Be clear about your goals and expectations for the partnership.
  3. Collaborate on the content and make sure it feels authentic to both parties.

Remember to be genuine in your outreach and offer value to the influencers or partners you want to work with. It’s not always about what they can do for you, but what you can do for them too.

Ensuring Your Videos are Inclusive to All

Creating accessible video content is important to ensure that all viewers can engage with your message. Here are some tips for making your videos accessible:

  1. Use closed captioning or subtitles to make your content accessible to viewers with hearing impairments.
  2. Include audio descriptions to provide context for viewers who are blind or visually impaired.
  3. Make sure your video player is compatible with assistive technologies like screen readers.
  4. Using additional tools like alt text ensures that people with screen readers can understand the images and graphics in your videos.

By making your videos accessible, you’re also ensuring that your nonprofit is in alignment with accessibility best practices. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that organizations make their digital content accessible to people with disabilities. By making your videos accessible, you’re not just encouraging best practice, but also showing that you value and respect people of all ability levels.

While Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not specifically mention digital content, the Department of Justice has made it clear that the law applies to websites and digital media. In addition, several court cases have established that websites and digital content must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Here is a link to an article by the National Association of the Deaf that provides more information on the topic

In short, making videos accessible is the right thing to do both morally and legally. It also ensures that your nonprofit’s message is being heard by as many people as possible, regardless of their abilities.

Optimize! Boost Your Video’s Discoverability

Finally, if you want people to find your videos, you need to make sure they’re optimized for search! This means:

  • using relevant keywords in your video title and description
  • adding tags to your video
  • and making sure your video thumbnail is eye-catching and on-brand (scroll up for a tip on using simplistic graphic design platforms like Canva to help with this!).


And there you have it, folks! With these tips and trends, you’ll be well on your way to creating effective video content that engages your audience and supports your nonprofit’s mission.

Remember to keep your videos simple and don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content and styles to find what works best for your organization. By staying true to your mission and values, getting creative, and engaging with your audience, you can create impactful videos that inspire action and drive real change.

Leave us a note in the comments and tell us what’s been working best for you in your video marketing strategy or  sign up to join us on May 4th where we will go deeper on the latest trends in video

Published On: April 12, 2023|Categories: Video, Graphics, Photography and Other Visuals|