One of the things charities struggle the most with is convincing people why their cause needs support. The complexities of causes often escape the public, leaving non-profits with the mammoth task of explaining just why they need the support.
As a charity organisation, you know exactly why the cause you champion needs support. You know the ins and outs of your particular recipients’ needs, whether it’s research to cure a specific disease, children that need support for a variety of reasons - whatever your cause, you know why it’s important. But do your potential donors understand, and if not, how can you help them to realise just why your cause is necessary and important?
There is an overwhelming amount of information out there about just about every kind of charitable organisation and cause. However, that usually means there’s also a lot of conflicting information, which can often leave potential supporters confused and unsure why they should donate their time or money to your non-profit. That’s why it’s important to offer them a source of information that’s concise, accurate and readily available, to cut through the confusion.
Using video to reach out to donors is about more than simply following a trend. It’s one of the most effective ways to communicate with and engage your audience, and it’s what people are using to find out more about charities. In fact, the Forrester survey showed that 70% of donors use video to research non-profits before making a donation. Coupled with social media, video is currently far outstripping almost any other single method of getting the message of charities out there and convincing potential donors to get involved.
How to use video effectively
Creating video content that works is a fine balancing act of information, emotional appeal and engagement. You need to ensure that your audience understands what your charity or campaign is about, you need to speak to their emotions, because people tend to make decisions emotionally rather than rationally, and you need to provide at least some level of entertainment. So how do you strike that balance to create a video that encourages people to donate?
Bearing in mind that a video shouldn’t be too long, or people lose interest - we recommend around one minute and thirty seconds - you need to ensure that the message is clear, concise and effective. Make sure to highlight these elements:
- Your organisation’s core message, such as your values, purpose, mission statement - don’t reel these off like a bulleted list though; work it into the content.
- The good your organisation is doing, such as a successful project or campaign - don’t be afraid to tell people how many people benefited and how lives have changed. This is a great opportunity to include positive emotional content.
- Your campaign message - make sure it is well designed and clear.
- Don’t forget the call to action - tell people what you need, whether it’s donations, volunteers or other resources.
The messaging, above all, should tell a story. Since the dawn of human social interaction, we have loved and told stories, and that is what people respond to most effectively.
Step 2: Visuals
Much like with the message, your visuals should tell a story and try to evoke an emotional response. Get to understand your audience and use their “language” to tell your visual story.
- Make sure to include a positive emotional response. while tugging at heart strings can be an effective way to grab attention, people respond better if there is a positive emotion at the end of the message - in other words, the situation may be dire, but there is hope and that hope lies with the supporter.
- Use compelling images to create your video, and weave it into the story so that it resonates with your viewer.
- Create empathy by bringing strong, powerful characters into your story, and be sure to create excitement by sharing your passion.
Step 3: Sharing your video
Make the best use of social media that you can. Share your video across platforms and use it in conjunction with other social media to bring your campaign message across more effectively. Social media is one of the best ways to build a community around your organisation, so make it a prominent part of your campaigns.
Great campaigns will take time to grow, so don’t expect overnight results. Plan your campaign carefully to cover several days, weeks or even months, depending on what you are trying to achieve. With ongoing video content, you can create a narrative that draws people in and creates a strong relationship between you and the viewer. Use video to inspire people and become advocates for your cause - in the long run, it will yield real returns.