How to Use Online Video to Strengthen Your Nonprofit Marketing Impact — Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

How to Use Online Video to Strengthen Your Nonprofit Marketing Impact -- Carnival of Nonprofit ConsultantsHow do you put online video to work to boost your nonprofit marketing? That’s what I asked colleagues to share in this week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants.

Here goes:

  • Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies Direct remembers how Video Killed the Radio Star (not a bad song 20 years later). She recommends that online video should complement — not replace — more traditional and online channels at this point. She also shares 5 key tips for online video success, including keeping it under 2 minutes.
  • Steve Andrews at the UK-based Whitewater agency shares the SolarAid (a nonprofit he’s helping to establish) online video strategy — they’ll be using video primarily to deliver timely, tangible, powerful feedback to donors. Donors and beneficiaries will be able to converse via blogs and vlogs (video diaries).
  • Higher ed marketing guru Bob Johnson suggests that online video is an expectation for many nonprofit audiences (definitely for prospective college students) and warns against talking heads and other staged approaches. He also stresses the importance of quality production — as budget permits.
  • Katya Andresen advises on how to succeed in nonprofit marketing in a quick-and-dirty (but effective) video, with links to easy directions for doing it yourself. Katya, you win the “most original” prize by a landslide. Enthused by her video experiment, she goes on to critique Neiman Marcus’ anniversary video campaign, concluding that show, don’t tell is the ultimate video must.
  • This startling video from Greenpeace absolutely captivated me because it’s startlingly original, short, a bit frightening and hugely compelling because I get blamed for a huge world crisis. I clicked on the call-to-action link at the end of the video.
  • Hatef Yamini at Frogloop interviewed video experts at Online Video Services (OVS) who advise that knowing your audience and selecting video “stars” that appeal to that group is key. Another  important guideline — quality counts, e.g. you get what you pay for. OVS estimates the cost for a professional video shoot, including editing, at $1K for each minute of on demand finished content.
    • Caveat — There is an active debate what quality means, and adds, in online video. Some Carnival bloggers hold out for the authenticity of amateur video. My take — that amateur video will soon become tedious as the novelty of the medium erodes. Expectations for higher-end production values will begin to increase very quickly. I’ve watched this cycle before, most recently with blogging.

Some Nonprofit Video Successes
There are many powerful nonprofit videos out there to inspire and guide you. Here’s a list of top picks from Carnival bloggers:

  • The Buffalo Movie — Video evidence connects donors and beneficiaries
  • This video from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School lets students talk about how they advance their careers in a great example of “storytelling” content that’s more effective delivered in video than written out as text.
  • The Central Dallas Ministries Transition Resource Action Center produced this video, which motivated NPowerDC’s Jocelyn Harmon to become a first-time donor.
  • Kids radio program Kidcast put together this simple video to spread the word. Thanks to David Brazeal for the heads up.
  • Alia points to IRC communications officer Emily Holland who recently traveled to Darfur to document the lives of displaced Sudanese survivors. Her video diary shows us that IRC is working on the ground in key areas and is an absorbing story. Again, authenticity rules.
  • NC environmental organization is using video for online training, with the long-term goal of reducing training-related travel. This is a very simple and clever use of video — simply video tapes a PowerPoint presentation with the audio, resulting in a full-fledged Webinar. Simple but elegant.
  • OVS credits the California Bar Association with setting the bar in using video as a fully-integrated component of its anti-smoking campaign. Here’s Carol Burnett.

Let me know (click the Comments link below) how your nonprofit is using video, and what’s working best. I’ll spread the word.

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Nancy Schwartz on September 11, 2007 in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Video | 4 comments

  • Video: the what, why and how for nonprofits

    Photo credit: tychay, flickr
    Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention fame is hosting an excellent carnival this week on video. Click here to read about:
    Whether video is worth it
    How to use it effectively

  • Nancy
    I am so glad you put this together and that so many of our colleagues are singing the praises of using video online.
    For the past two years we at See3 Communications have been shouting from every rooftop that the web is changing — broadband is finally here and that means your site is more like your channel. What will you do with a channel? Put up a PDF? A brochure?
    Organizations need to be nimble in their creation of new video content. What this means is that the paradigm of the dinner video as a stand-alone project doesn’t work any more. Make that dinner video, but do it in a way where you create a library of content that can be reused and repurposed over time.
    We have had great success with this model with groups like the American Jewish World Service. In addition to the dinner video, we created more than a dozen additional video pieces from the same set of source material. And because we want them to keep it going, we have trained their staff to shoot video themselves, adding to this library of content.
    With this model, an organization can quickly put together a video for an email campaign or a special event, or even create a custom DVD for one specific high-net-worth donor based on what they are interested in.
    We are also connecting the creation of the video material with social media marketing. “Micro-chunk it” is what the venture capitalist Fred Wilson says about content online today. In other words, put content into the smallest possible usable package to be distributed online.
    Video content is, by the nature of embeddable Flash video players, portable. What this means is that video messages can make their way around the social web, in people’s blogs, Facebook pages and through video sharing sites.
    The continued success of DoGooderTV is another indication of non-profit’s increasing use of video. By giving organizations a place to maintain their brand image while sharing their video material, DoGooderTV has become a nice compliment to the wild west that is YouTube.
    For those interested in this issue specifically, we send out a monthly email highlighting the use of video online and case studies of what other organizations have done successfully. More about this is at the See3 website (
    Nancy, thank you again for taking up this important topic!

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