How to create an effective fundraising videoAug 02, 2022
How to create an effective fundraising video
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or if you’re a loyal watcher of the Moonshine Moonshot series, (gold star if you’re both!), you’ll know how much I rate video communications.
I have dedicated my career to making movies, after all.
And I’m not alone. Today, videos are being made by pretty much everyone. It’s not just a creative outlet pursued by filmmakers, influencers or media personalities anymore. The rise of TikTok and Instagram reels has given everyone a shot behind the camera. No fancy film degree required!
But creating a powerful video that actually moves viewers to action? Now that does take some skill.
Action means many things, but for many of the organisations I partner with at Moonshine Agency, it’s about getting their audience to dig deep and donate. So in this post, I’m going to give you some insider tips and tricks to help you create an effective fundraising video.
Let’s get into it.
If you want to raise funds, you really can’t compete with a well-told video story.
I genuinely believe that a video is one of the best ways to tell your organisation’s story, particularly if you’re working with a nonprofit and you need to generate donations. . But here’s the thing – your audience is overwhelmed by content these days. Between social media, streaming services and the 24 hour news cycle, it’s a miracle any of us are able to make it work on time. Let alone make real choices about what we watch. Decision fatigue anyone?
Thankfully, a video is one of the best ways to cut through all that clutter. My co-founder Mike Hill and I have always suspected that video is the most engaging content available to nonprofits, but our theory was actually confirmed way back in 2013. A study revealed that an astonishing 57% of people who watch a compelling video go on to make a donation.
Uh huh. That’s more than half! So yes, a video story can inspire current and potential donors to get behind your cause.
And why is this? For one, the use of sound and images together make it simple for viewers to understand and be persuaded by the story you’re trying to tell. Plus, it can be easily shared – which will only increase its reach and your fundraising potential.
All in all, if done right, a video can forge an unbreakable connection between your organisation and its supporters.
But before you start storyboarding your lucrative fundraising video, you need to determine exactly what you’re reaching for. Sure, getting 10,000 views on YouTube sounds impressive. But it’s not necessarily going to move you towards your fund-raising goal. Getting a $10,000 donation is though.
So let’s unpack this a bit further.
Who should share your video’s message?
Once you know what you’re shooting for, you can start to wrap a story around it. And that will involve more than a few facts or figures – even if they are super compelling!
To rally new supporters, you need to show the real impact of your work. You know what I’m talking about – the experiences of those who have had their lives transformed because of you or your organisation.And I’ve no doubt you have plenty of those, it’s why you do what you do.
You need someone who clearly believes in the mission, goals and values of your cause. And that person is most likely to be someone who has been touched by your organisation perhaps by receiving the service or volunteering.Then you’ll want to have a chat with them to make sure they are willing and able to share their story in an emotionally engaging way. In other words, you need to be sure they can communicates in way that evokes empathy or connection with an audience.
They should be a relatable person, or rather someone your audience could relate to. And that comes back to knowing who your audience is.
To give you a real world example, we recently completed a fundraising video for a children’s charity we work with at Moonshine Agency.It featured the father of a child who had received services from the charity. The father was able to clearly express how meaningful it was to receive the service and what a different it made to his family at a very difficult time.
It was a very emotionally charged story – to say it tugged at your heartstrings would be complete understatement. Within two weeks of release, it had triggered donations in the six figures. Including one single donation of more than $100,000. I’m not exaggerating!
Now that was particularly impressive and to manage expectations, not all videos inspire that level of donation. But I have seen it happen time and again where a powerful, well told story, inspires an audience to give generously.
By sharing the stories of those who have directly benefited from your organisation, you’ll be showing future and current donors what their generosity will actually go towards. The value of what their contribution brings and the difference it is making.
So how do you ask for funds without being sales-y?
Firstly, don’t forget your call-to-action. Especially if you want your fundraising video to …. raise funds
Consider the call to action and how to message it.
While there’s a lot about the children’s charity video that worked, the driving factor that lead to so much positive impact was the call-to-action. Because if you don’t ask your audience to do anything once they’ve seen your video – that’s exactly what they’ll do. Zilch!
But, there’s a twist. In this particular video, we didn’t actually include the call-to-action in the film. Instead, the charity executives asked their donors for funding after presenting the film, so it felt more authentic and less ‘sales-y’. You can present to a group in person which defiantly generates the best results, however by video conferencing like Zoom or a webinar, it can work well also.
And that’s definitely a tactic that you can employ when you’re presenting your own videos too.
So what makes for a strong and compelling call-to-action? If you’re working a CTA into your video, active words like ‘donate’ or ‘give’ pack a lot of power. Even if they do sound simple. They’ll have a similar effect at conferences, events or in accompanying comms too.
The most important piece of advice I can give is to be clear, concise and distinct – and never be afraid of telling your audience exactly what you’re asking them to do.
Which is handsomely giving to your cause or organisation so you can continue to do amazing work.
Make it really easy for them, a direct clickable link to a donations page or a QR code that links is a really easy action for people to take on the spot.
Some effective calls to action can be:
Donate to make a difference today
Donate to help us change lives
Click here to donate
Every dollar counts- donate
Fundraising videos can open hearts to your cause
I know you know that videos are so much more than entertainment. They play with our emotions, create connections and completely shift our perspectives. It’s why they make such an amazing tool for nonprofits with a goal of raising funds.
So have a think about people involved with your organisation, do they have a deeply meaningful story that would connect with your potential donors? Are there some amazing volunteers who could share what their work has meant and how it makes a difference?
Highlight their stories and give them more than just a few minutes on an insta post, put their story to work in your newsletters, social media, YouTube, in person events. Make a big splash of it and you’ll see results.
If this post has got you thinking about how to use video storytelling to raise funds for your cause or organisation, get in touch via [email protected] I’d be happy to to lend a hand.
Movie making magic emails*
Emails that make you a better filmmaker. From us to you each week.
*anecdotal only, magic has not been scientifically proven
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason. Not even in exchange for a unicorn.