How Nonprofit Organizations Can Benefit from Video Marketing

Your nonprofit needs video marketing. It is a beautiful project that is closer to your heart, and you want it to have the same impact on your viewers!

For this, videos are unique in their ability to generate emotion. They keep people engaged, and there is no better way to get the community involved in your wonderful work. Here are all the basics you need to know to get started on making awesome videos for your nonprofit.

Benefits of Nonprofit Video

So first, let’s cover the benefits of choosing video as a medium to achieve your goal.

Video is the best medium for content promotion

Yes, you have heard this before. But we cannot stress the importance of video enough. In fact, check this out — a recent survey we conducted showed that 78% of video marketers term video as the main reason behind them getting new customers.

After face-to-face conversations, video is by far the most effective medium to get your message across. And think of it this way, with a video you are kind of conversing with thousands or even millions of people at the same time.

Video does not perish

While conversations can be forgotten, a video will remain online so long as you don’t delete it yourself.

This makes video a great long-term investment. Imagine ten years down the line, people can still access your video online and watch it.

Especially when 80% of social media users spend over a quarter of their time watching videos. Isn’t that great?

Hence, it is highly likely that your nonprofit video will get the limelight it deserves when you use video as your go-to medium. And it is a solid long-term investment that will bring you excellent returns if made right.

Here’s a hilarious video from Rainforest Alliance. They do a great job of addressing that underlying feeling of dread many of us have about the idea that we’re not doing enough to help our fellow man or to make the planet a better place for everyone (hello mid-day existential crisis!).

The video then shows you how you can take a small step—follow the frog—that will actually make a big difference. We really feel bad for the guy in the video though.


If you liked that video as much as we did, you probably wish you could make one yourself. Well, unfortunately, we aren’t a bunch of wish-granting genies, but you’ll learn to make your own wishes come true. Here are the fundamentals for mastering nonprofit video production.

How to Produce a Nonprofit Video

1.    Budgeting and timeline

When you think about producing a nonprofit video, the first thing you want to decide on is your budget and timeline. Basically, you are going to answer the questions — how much is it going to cost you, and how long is it going to take to produce your nonprofit video.

Read more: Live-Action Videos—What Drives Up the Cost?

In doing so, there is no wrong or right answer to these questions. There is no one answer either.

How costly it will be and how long it takes to produce a short two-to five-minute nonprofit video will be based on all the concurrent factors of pre-production, production, and post-production.

It is only when you take all things into account and get a birds’ eye view of your nonprofit video production project that you can decide on your budget and time.

2.    Creating a creative brief

Now, you are getting things rolling and moving from theory to concrete. So the first thing to materialize your idea is to create your story, also known as the creative brief.

Creating a compelling storyline is the key to making your idea come to life. And there are a lot of steps and tricks involved in conquering it, which we will get into later on in this post.

Primarily, you have to have a clear understanding of the goal of your video to start things off.

Remember, your nonprofit video is the way the society will understand you and your mission, the unique nature of your services, your message as well as your position on issues you are dealing with.

So ask yourself and your team, what do you want to achieve with this video? What is the purpose?

  • Is it a feel-good piece to show at an event, such as your organization’s anniversary?
  • Do you have to raise money for a specific cause?
  • Maybe you want to raise awareness about a specific law that you want to be passed for an animal sanctuary in a state?
  • Are you encouraging people to sign a petition?
  • Or simply, do you want to post the video on your website to offer an emotional overview of your organization in a way that text just can’t?

3.    Deciding on distribution

Once you have your goal laser-focused, your story ready and your script on the table, you can then proceed to decide how you will distribute your video once you have created it. It is very important that you decide how you are going to distribute your video right at the start, and not after you have done everything.

Why? It all comes down to visibility. You can make the best video in the world, but if people don’t see it then it will be a waste of your resources.

Deciding right at the start about how you are going to distribute your video will also help you in producing your video the right way as well.

For instance, if you were producing a video for a particular social media platform, such as Facebook, you would need to create a very short, compelling video that will get people to click on the sound. And, for that, you might also want to put some words on the screen to attract people’s attention.

4.    Wrapping up your preproduction

The pre-production stage for a short nonprofit video usually takes about 3 to 8 weeks. Though again, it can vary based on the scope of things for your particular video idea.

Preproduction can involve things like finalizing your script and location, scouting members of your crew, getting the required equipment and recruiting actors.

Here, a number of factors can affect your timeline length and budget, based on the number, types, and feasibility of locations you choose, your subjects and actors, etc.

5.    Cameras rolling

This is what you have been setting the stage for, quite literally!

When it comes to production, it can take anywhere from one day to a week. It depends on the sophistication of graphics you are aiming for and the video quality you are looking to produce.

Though it is important that you stay within your budget, you need to remember that nonprofit video production, though taxing, is more or less a one-time thing. Do not compromise on quality; it is the most important asset for any video.

And you don’t need to spend big to achieve high quality. Using your current equipment and resources to their max potential for maximum benefit can help you achieve amazing results even with a limited budget.

Production is fun, but it can also be quite tricky. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

  • Don’t rely on studio recording footage to produce a nonprofit video.

There are very few chances that people will be interested in listening to your executive director talking on the screen at length throughout the video.

Put yourself in the mind of your viewer. What is fun to watch? What will help you get to them?

Then, get into your element, and for doing so, get out of the building and on the go!

Go get your hands dirty, and capture the footage to give your viewers the context for your story.

  • Pursue spontaneity.

If you want to evoke emotions, you have to make and keep things natural. Capture the real culture of your location. Show things the way they are.

Yes, it is good to have a storyboard, but who said that you have to stick with it at all times?

In fact, don’t make the mistake of obsessing with shooting the right shots and letting many priceless moments pass you by. Go with the flow. Be genuine, and try to keep it natural. Strive to make videos that last much longer and have a longer shelf life.

Above all, remember, nonprofit video production does not require you to be a master journalist, it requires you to be an empathetic filmmaker.

  • Get to know your subjects before you start filming.

Aside from being common human courtesy, it also works wonders from transforming your footage from a ‘deer caught in headlights look’ to capturing people with true emotions who are being themselves.

So, establish a rapport with your subjects. Talk to the children you are about to film. Get to know them, and then ask them questions and record their testimonials.

  • Make sure to highlight your donors’ contributions.

Yes, your viewers are interested in knowing about your nonprofit and the impact you are having on the society. But they also want to see their own contributions come into fruition.

So give them that, and show them how their contributions are part of your success.

6.    Post-production

This is where you add voiceover talents, music or anything that you want to in your editing process. This ‘after-work’ is actually quite intensive and can take anywhere between a month to four months. Also, it will involve rounds of feedback between you and your team members to create the final look.

7.    Distribution

Distribution of your video can take as little as one month to a year, depending on the homework you have already done.

Remember when we mentioned in the beginning about how important it is to know how you are going to distribute your video beforehand? That homework will come in handy at this stage. And you wouldn’t have to see your efforts proven fruitless in the end.

And since the story is the central part of your video, we have got you covered with the basics of storytelling.

Conquering Storytelling for Your Nonprofit Video

Every story needs a strong structure. In order to create a compelling story for your nonprofit video, you need to follow the right structure.

Now, don’t worry, if you think this is going to be too formulaic, it is not. Think of the story structure as a loose guide that tells you what to put where. Your story itself is unique and that will make it stand out. There are five basic elements to any story structure, and in this case, your nonprofit video.

  1. Connection

This is about creating the initial impact on your viewers as they first come across your story. At this point, you immediately have to make a connection with them.

You can do this through shared values, emotions, or through a real-life moment that you use to capture their attention.

Read more: How to Use Videos to Trigger Customer Emotions

  1. Character

You can introduce your character simultaneously while you make a connection. But even if you have introduced your character first-hand, you want to unpack it here a little bit more.

Who is this person you are telling the story about?

Allow your viewers to get to know some of the details to make the story memorable. Remember emotions and details make a story stick with your viewers.

  1. Conflict

When it comes to nonprofit video storytelling, conflict is especially essential. Conflict is where you are able to actually show them the need. It tells them why what you are doing is important.

And the need is what gets viewers motivated to participate, be it in the form of donations, supporting and sharing your message, etc.

  1. Resolution

This is where you make it all come together. You tell your viewers how your organization and your donors are able to resolve this conflict together. This is where they see hope and a practical solution to the cause you have discussed.

  1. Call-to-action

And finally, you create a call-to-action to help your viewers join the story and make a difference with you.

If you want to dive deeper into the science of storytelling and why stories are awesome, check out Charisma on Command’s in-depth account of storytelling science.


Nonprofit video storytelling can be a powerful tool to evoke emotions and inspire action. Let’s hear it from those who have tried and tested storytelling in their nonprofit business model, and how successful it has been for them!


And there you have it, all the basics you need to get started with your cameras rolling to show the world how positive an impact your nonprofit is having in our world.

We commend you on choosing video as your go-to medium! After all, your nonprofit video is not only a great tool to reach masses but to create a legacy that does not perish.

As you give back to future generations with your nonprofit work, make sure that you leave behind a digital mark as a testament.

Posted by Fatima Ali

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