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Nonprofit Video Production: 5 Tips to Inspire Donors

Nonprofit video production is the key to engaging and mobilizing supporters in the digital age, especially when you consider that 82% of global internet traffic in 2022 will come from video alone. 

By combining compelling imagery with dialogue and music, nonprofit video content has the unique ability to captivate audiences and establish an emotional connection with those interested in supporting your mission. Even if you’re not an expert videographer, you can still craft a message that empowers viewers and inspires meaningful action. 

In this guide, we’ll walk through a step-by-step plan for producing the best nonprofit videos. These steps include: 

  1. Create a plan of action 
  2. Choose the right type of video 
  3. Write a detailed script 
  4. Evoke emotions with visuals 
  5. Use a multi-channel marketing approach

Whether you’re filming a fundraising campaign video to drive donations or building brand awareness with an organizational video, our nonprofit video production tips will guide your efforts. Let’s get started!

1. Create a plan of action

Before you begin filming, it’s important to know how your team will approach video production and how the content you produce will align with your larger goals. To ensure you’re prepared, plan out your video production: 

    • Goals: What are you hoping to achieve through your video? Narrow down your focus so that your audience understands the purpose of each video and knows how to take the appropriate next steps. 
  • Target Audience: Sift through your donor database for information like demographics, marketing preferences, and engagement history to uncover trends about your potential audience. If you find that the majority of your supporters prefer long-form content, script and film your videos with this in mind. 
  • Budget: Determine how you can realistically factor video production into your budget by reviewing your revenue and listing all the costs associated with your concept, including props, camera equipment, and editing software. 
  • Timeline: Depending on the size of your project, nonprofit video production can take weeks to months from concept to delivery. Create a timeline that provides a projected start and end date. Then, have your team refer back to this resource throughout the production process to ensure you’re on track.

Once you create a video production plan, you can repurpose it for your future video needs. 

2. Choose the right type of video

From educating prospective supporters to raising brand awareness, nonprofit video stories can support your nonprofit in a variety of ways. However, if you want to maximize your impact, you should focus your efforts on accomplishing one goal at a time. 

Start by choosing from one of the following types of nonprofit videos:

  • Organizational videos: An organizational video serves as a core asset and provides an overview of your nonprofit and mission. 
  • Fundraising videos: Fundraising videos can be used to launch a campaign, inform supporters about a giving program, and encourage viewers to give. 
  • Testimonial videos: Testimonial videos provide your supporters with a platform to affirm your nonprofit’s impact. 
  • Educational videos: Educational videos explain complex issues, such as the current state of climate change, to position your nonprofit as a thought leader. 

Keep in mind that each type of video has its own production requirements. For instance, testimonial videos require in-depth interviews and b-roll footage of supporters, while educational videos might benefit from animations to serve as a teaching aid.

3. Write a detailed script

A script is the blueprint of video production. Whether detailed or brief, the point of this outline is to have a reference document so you don’t forget to cover an essential topic when filming.

Flesh out your story with these scriptwriting elements: 

  • Scene/set description: Describe where your video will take place. For instance, will your film take place at your facility, out in the community, or in front of a green screen backdrop? 
  • Compelling characters: Focus your video on real stories and perspectives. Find a person or group of people impacted by your organization, whether it be a beneficiary, donor, volunteer, or board member, and show their connection to your cause.
  • Dialogue and narration. Decide what you want your characters to talk about and factor in any necessary voiceovers. According to Tectonic Video’s guide to nonprofit video storytelling, you should use personal experiences, statistics, and relevant quotes to hook viewers.
  • Post-production notes: This accounts for any captions, music, animations, or graphics that need to be added to the video after filming.

Remember that the primary goal of your nonprofit video is to encourage people to take action. As you write your script, consider what you want viewers to do after the video ends, such as donating, signing a petition, or reaching out to you by phone or email. With an effective call-to-action (CTA), your viewers will be more likely to lend their support. 

4. Evoke emotion with visuals

By understanding how certain visuals appeal to viewers, you can elicit the right emotion from your audience. Let’s consider color, for instance. Organizations

associated with the environmental movement often opt for backgrounds and props in hues that occur in nature, such as green, yellow, orange, and blue. When people come across a video with this color scheme, they automatically relate the content to a feeling of health, freshness, healing, and generosity.

Camera movement also helps to build the mood of a scene. When used correctly, slow motion can leave the audience feeling inspired, drawn in, and focused on the scene. Even a slight slow-motion effect that is barely noticeable can add the intensity that your nonprofit needs to inspire viewers. 

If you’re relying on footage of real people, facial expressions convey how your characters feel, and therefore how your audience should feel. A smile, for instance, means happiness while furrowed brows indicate concern. Ensure these expressions match the tone of your video so your audience can understand the emotions you’re communicating and can personally relate to the character in your video.

Impact can also be made through post-production editing. After filming, color grade the video, mix in a sound score, and incorporate captions for a final product that inspires change and sparks meaningful action.

5. Use a multichannel marketing approach 

Now that your video is complete, it’s time to promote and distribute the final product to your nonprofit audiences. If you’re looking to reach more people with your video, a multichannel approach is essential. Multichannel video marketing takes advantage of several communication channels, including:

  • Youtube: YouTube is free and includes built-in analytics for tracking ROI, making it the go-to platform for nonprofit video promotion and consumption. Post content to the site and share the link across your other marketing channels for the best results. 
  • Email: Email is an inexpensive and easy way to engage supporters in your video content. Prompt recipients to open the email and click through to your video with an eye-catching subject line, such as “Watch this video message from our nonprofit CEO.”
  • Social media: Social media is an excellent tool for reaching large audiences. NXUnite’s guide to nonprofit influencers suggests reaching out to industry leaders who have a large following and asking if they would be willing to share your content with their own networks. It’s likely that their mission-driven audience will take notice of your organization and take action.
  • Website: Embedding videos across your nonprofit website is an effective marketing strategy. Not only does this increase the chances of your videos being seen, but it also increases the amount of time users spend on your website, as people spend about 1.4x more on web pages with video content. 

With multiple touchpoints, you can reach your target audience on their preferred platforms and grab the attention of as many supporters as possible. In turn, you’ll see higher traffic and an even higher ROI.

If the process of video production seems overwhelming, consider hiring a nonprofit video production company to do the heavy lifting. An experienced team of video professionals will handle everything from script writing and filming to delivering a valuable final product so you can drive your mission forward with ease. 

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