If you’re not using video to promote your fundraising efforts, you’re missing the boat. Consider these astounding numbers from Indiegogo: Crowdfunding campaigns that feature a pitch video get a 114 percent boost in funding over campaigns that don’t. On top of that, funders open their wallets wider for campaigns with a video. The average contribution is 12 percent higher when a video is present.

Video should absolutely be a part of your next fundraising effort, but how do you craft a fantastic fundraising video, a video that will offer an amazing return on investment and get funders excited about your cause? Here are some tips:

1. Tell a Great Story

It’s not enough to explain what your organization is doing, and why it’s great. As I mentioned in a previous post, you have to tell a story about your organization, and about how real people’s lives and/or places are impacted by your work. In many cases, that can mean telling a story about a single person or place.

When we brainstorm story approaches with our nonprofit clients, they’re often reluctant to focus on just one or two people or places. The fear is that this won’t impart the full scope and complexity of what they do. But by keeping it simple, your audience stays focused on a narrative that has emotional and intellectual impact. And a simple story that’s well told can stand in for your entire operation if you trust your audience to universalize the story.

Here’s an example we recently completed for Roca. On its face, it’s just a story about one woman, but her experience stands in for so much more.

 

 

2. Produce for Maximum Engagement

A recent study from Microsoft found that the average attention span of humans in 2013 was eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. The average attention span of a goldfish? Nine seconds. So, when it comes to your audience, you’re essentially dealing with goldfish. That’s why videos must be short. They must grab attention right away and never let go.

At Planet Nutshell, we commonly produce videos between one and two minutes long, and only occasionally  longer. We also focus on creating a visually interesting opening that draws a viewer into a story.

There’s that word again, story. Story has the unique ability to wrap less interesting information in a welcoming and engaging exterior that keeps people watching. Story is the sugar that helps the explanatory content, the “medicine,” go down.

Here’s an example: To drive donations, Shriners Hospitals asked us to explain how their new fundraising platform, which is powered by Classy, works. Let’s be honest, explaining a bunch of user interface functions can be a bit boring, but we wove the UI overview into a story about Amanda, a former Shriners patient.

 

 

3. Focus on Impact

Nonprofits are under ceaseless pressure to demonstrate and prove impact. Funders at every level are looking for that, too. A strong fundraising video should demonstrate impact and, where appropriate, a simple assertion of impact should be integrated into the larger story of the video. While many viewers will be motivated to give by the emotional, character-based components of your video, the video must address the intellect, as well. Good stories target the head and the heart, and they make it clear in the call to action that your continued impact depends on the viewer’s support.

Here’s a screen shot from another video for Roca that shows the impact of their program for at-risk young men.

 

 

Storytelling, engagement, and impact. Those are the three key elements of a strong fundraising video. How will you put those concepts to work for your next video project? Let me know in the comments, and always feel free to reach out and chat with me. I love to talk about this stuff!