Nonprofit Video Experts Share Tips & Tools: #501TechNYC (Part 1)

It’s so challenging for nonprofits to get video right, especially with limited budgets and bandwidth. That’s why I so appreciate the practical guidance shared by NYC’s 501 Tech Club presenters Cathe Neukum, Executive Producer at International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Lane Beauchamp, Manager of Marketing and Media at Broadway Cares. Here’s a brief summary of what I learned:

Know Before You Go

  • Why us and why now? Ensure that the video is designed to advance priority goals, and is one of the best methods of doing so. Don’t just do it to do it. (Lane)
  • Powerful videos require planning, lots and lots of planning. Know what you’re getting into before showtime. (Cathe)
  • Make your video shareable. It’s not enough for people to like it, they need to share it. (Lane)
  • Earmark some of your video budget for paid distribution; social is a pay-to-play world at this point. (Cathe)

The Greatest Challenge in Producing High-Impact Video

  • Broadway Cares’ greatest challenge is balancing both stories—the razzle-dazzle of the Broadway community it serves (and who support it), and its less glamorous but vital mission, fighting HIV/AIDS.
  • IRC’s greatest video production challenge is streamlining staff participation. Cathe warns that having too many “cooks in the kitchen” will seriously slow your video production process, and slay your vision.

#1 Success Factor
“A creative mind is more important than the equipment you use. Someone on staff must have a clear vision of content that will play well on video, and help bring it to life,” says Cathe.

Who Does What?
Lane is part of an eight-member communications team at Broadway Cares that produces (from concept to design) and distributes all videos. Broadways Cares brings in additional help (typically volunteers from the Broadway community—lucky them!) when needed.

IRC takes a different approach, with Cathe serving as the one-woman in-house video shop. She was hired to launch the video program (showing IRC’s investment in the medium and channel), and outsources video production and distribution help.”It’s vital to have the creative expertise in-house to direct the production team, at the very least. Your organization will gain more control by doing it all in-house, but the potential downside is that things can get stale” says Cathe.

Read Part Two, featuring planning, process, people, and distribution guidance.

What’s your organization’s #1 success factor for effective videos? Your greatest challenge?