If you’re like any of the nonprofit clients we work with, you are committed to making the world a better place by furthering your organization’s mission. Unfortunately, just because your team  isn’t driven by profits, shareholders, or selling the latest widget – it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be concerned about dollars and cents. Without financial support through federal funding, grants, and generous donors it’s impossible to continue your important work (and make a big impact). 

As a result, one of the many hats you may wear falls under the category of “marketing”. Naturally, marketing is an essential part of what you’re doing every day because it helps you attract more supporters who care and further that ever-important mission. Video marketing, in particular, can be a great way to educate your audience about the problems your organization is working to solve. It can also be a great way to improve your visibility online, boost your engagement, and ultimately garner support. 

In fact, a  study by Eyeview digital shows that including even a single video on your nonprofit’s website can improve conversions by as much as 80%! If you truly want to leverage the full power of video marketing to your nonprofit’s advantage, there are a few key pointers you’re absolutely going to want to keep in mind…

Proven Ways to Use Video Marketing For Your Nonprofit

In truth, there’s no one “right way” to create video collateral for your nonprofit. While we recommend tailoring your messaging/delivery to your specific goals, there are five core formats you may want to consider including:

Broadcast Your Values – Meet the Team Videos

Nonprofits in particular depend on a “personal” connection with their supporters. It is important that people have empathy for your cause. You’ll need to help your audience understand what makes your organization different and what makes your cause worthy. Pulling back the curtain and showing off your team is the perfect opportunity to do that. Once your supporters start to get a sense of just how hard your team is working towards a common goal, they may want to contribute themselves.

Check out this example of a “Meet the Team” video by Eventbrite for some inspiration:

Share Your Culture – Behind the Scenes Videos

Speaking of “pulling back the curtain,” behind the scenes videos are a great way for nonprofits to use video marketing because they help put the inner workings of your organization on display. Instead of focusing on the people behind your nonprofit, you’re focusing on the cultural aspects that drive it. Try bringing a camera along to a meeting or a local community event to capture footage that highlights what your nonprofit is all about.  This can help your audience begin to better understand both your values and your mission.

Knox Studio, a Seattle based nonprofit film studio, has a great behind the scenes example:

Share Your Successes – Video Testimonials

It’s one thing for you to say that your organization is dedicated to making a positive impact. It’s another thing entirely to show it (and let someone that isn’t on your payroll tell that story in their own words). Video testimonials can be a great way for nonprofits to show off the real, tangible impact they’re making. Perhaps the people you serve have successes to share, or your volunteers want to talk about why they partner with your organization – testimonials let them tell your story in their own words. 

In this video by The Boys & Girls Club of America, Brandon shares his story:

Share Your Insight – Interview Videos

Before someone is willing to support a nonprofit, they usually want to make sure the people behind that nonprofit actually know what they’re talking about. If they can’t trust your intelligence, they won’t be able to trust where their donation money is going either. Interview videos are a great way to establish your organization as an authority. You could choose to sit down and interview someone your audience already knows (like a fellow nonprofit leader, an author or some type of local figure) or someone they don’t know but would enjoy learning more about. As long as your questions are insightful, your  audience should be able to take away some key piece of information they didn’t have at the beginning.

AARP has a perfect example of how effective and engaging interview videos can be:

Share Your Personality – Vlogs

Everyone knows that your mission is important – but at the end of the day, it’s still being furthered by real people who are just like each and every one of us. If you want to attach a little bit of that personality to your video marketing, vlogs can be a perfect choice. A vlog (otherwise known as a video blog) usually takes the form of a diary-style experience where one person sits and talks into a camera. You could have some of your employees take a camera for a few hours and talk about the work they’re doing in real-time. You could even go in the complete opposite direction, having them talk about what they like to do when they’re not in the office or on the weekend.

The major benefit here, of course, is one of personality. The more your audience members start to see you as real people, the more likely they are to emotionally attach themselves to your nonprofit. At that point, they’ll become more invested in your mission and more invested in YOU.

For example, The Salvation Army USA used this format to share quick updates on the gulf coast flood:


Once you’ve familiarized yourself with some of the various types of video formats you can use, start experimenting with ways to leverage them to your advantage. If you’re unsure where to start, it may help to keep a few tips in mind. 

Start With Your Audience and Your Goals

One of the biggest mistakes that nonprofits can make when it comes to video marketing involves crafting a video strategy that isn’t properly aligned with A) their own long-term goals as an organization, and B) the audience they’re supposed to be speaking to. Because of that, you need to start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What is this video supposed to accomplish?
  2. Who is my video(s) fpr?

The answer to the first question will inform the type of video you choose and the answer to the second question will inform what you actually do with the medium itself once you fire up that video camera and get to work.

Don’t Forget to Think Long-term

One of the great things about OTT media content like videos, is that it lives on in perpetuity. Yes, it will have an immediate short-term impact on your nonprofit’s campaign, but once it’s online that video will essentially “exist” forever. So before you create any piece of content, you need to think about two things:

  • The short-term impact, as outlined above. In other words, what do you hope this video will accomplish?
  • The long-term impact, meaning: “what is this going to continue to do for me over time?”

The best video content for nonprofits is evergreen, meaning that it has a message strong enough to be just as effective six months or even a year from now as it does today. If you created a video with the goal of driving people to your website, it should always do that. But this isn’t going to happen automatically – this long-term approach needs to be baked into the very DNA of your video, and that isn’t going to be possible if you don’t consider the long-term goals from the moment of its conception.

Consistency is King

Finally, you need to make sure you’re practicing one of the most important rules of not just video marketing, but marketing in general: consistency and continuity. Every piece of collateral that you create – be it a video, blog post, or direct mail piece – needs to feel like it’s coming from the exact same place. If you use graphics, make sure they’re similar to the ones you’re using on your website. Pay close attention to the language and the tone of voice you choose to use in your script and make sure it aligns with your copy elsewhere.

If you do this properly, people will start to get a very distinct impression of not just your nonprofit, but the hardworking men and women behind it. The more positive and consistent that impression is, the more likely they’ll be to take your desired action and help you further the cause.