There’s nothing quite like being able to watch something live, as it’s happening. The excitement of watching events unfold, being in the know and getting to experience the world, even from half a world away. When you have an opportunity to engage with the broadcaster, at the same time, it makes it even more exciting, more relevant, more personal.
It’s no wonder people love watching live streaming media, whether it’s a concert, breaking news, or even an interview or chat with someone, one-on-one (or one on many!). Thanks to the prevalence of smart mobile technology and the ease with which both developed and developing nations’ people can access live online media, live streaming video has become one of the most effective ways for news outlets, creative people and, yes, even non-profit organisations to engage with their audiences.
According to the 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report, 52% of global non-profits have used live streaming via their social media channels, usually to great effect.
If your charity organisation isn’t currently using live streaming, you should be. Here’s our quick guide to live streaming for non-profits.
Who’s using live streaming
As we mentioned, well over half of charities and other non-profits around the world use live streaming and social media to interact, but how many people are watching? According to AOL, 74% of connected social media users watch video or live streaming at least once a week - almost all of them using their smartphones. Nearly half of consumers say that they watched more during 2017 than in 2016 - and that number is expected to keep growing. But is it really all that effective?
The San Diego Humane Society believes so. They recently used Facebook Live to document and broadcast their rescue of 92 Yorkshire Terriers, and used this platform to launch a major fundraising campaign. The initial Facebook Live broadcast spawned months-long news media coverage, a public outpouring of support, and a staggering $100,000 raised. Oh, yes, and those Yorkies? They found loving families, all of whom are now members of the #92Yorkies Facebook community.
How to use live streaming for your non-profit
Your non-profit can extract incredible benefit from live streaming, too. But how do you go about making the best of it? Well, first of all, you need to be engaged on social media. Surprisingly, a significant number of charities hardly use social media at all, or to much effect. Here’s how you can use the most popular platforms to live stream your events:
Facebook has a convenient live streaming function that you can use to share interviews and both planned and unplanned events. Viewers can interact live, asking questions and commenting on the go. The best part is, once you’ve completed the stream, it will still be available for those who missed it to watch.
Facebook Live is a great platform for giving people who don’t have the opportunity to physically attend your event to join virtually and still feel part of the action, so use that to empower them. Make a point of mentioning some of their live comments during the stream, r including a Q&A segment where their questions are answered live.
Videos and live broadcasts get the most reach on Facebook, with 12.17% of the total audience. To maximise your reach, try to post on Facebook at least three times daily, including video or live streaming at least once a day.
Real-time tweeting can be very beneficial, as it keeps your follower base up-to-the-minute on what’s happening at your events. Use Periscope to do your live tweeting. Aim for one tweet every eight to ten minutes during a live event, and use a mix of media, including photos, text, graphics or live streaming on Periscope.
While live-tweeting an event, make a point of mentioning key happenings, such as the start and end of performances, keynote speakers, live updates of funds raised and on-the-go highlights of the event.
This is a very visual platform, so use it for live streaming, pre-recorded video and photographs throughout the course of the event. Live video can be uploaded using Live Video Stories.
Due to the limitations in Instagram’s algorithm, it’s best to upload photographs and videos around three times a day, plus live streaming twice a day.
What else can you do?
Whichever platform you’re using, remember that donors especially enjoy behind-the-scenes footage of live events, so be sure to include live streaming, photos or recorded video of rehearsals (if you’re putting on a show), setup and tear-down. This captures the authenticity of your efforts and makes people feel truly involved in your event - and therefore more likely to support it and your organisation.
A few other ideas to keep things interesting, exciting and authentic:
- Stream as an attendee of the event, highlighting the red carpet, the dinner, dance floor and so on
- Capture and stream unscripted moments and conversations with other attendees, donors and even people who are attending virtually
- Stream testimonials from recipients of the fundraising - keep it raw and unscripted, on-the-go and live wherever you can
- Chat to and stream impromptu feedback from invited speakers, entertainers and presenters to give the viewers a feel for the excitement behind being involved in an event
- Stream the after-party!
Remember that we have left the days of boring event coverage behind, and that live streaming and video gives non-profits the opportunity to really get donors and interested people involved, closer to the action and more engaged with what we do. Get creative, use the technology that’s available, and make video work for your non-profit.