Making videos work for your nonprofit

Ads, social media posts, and all sorts of websites are changing lately. The content many are beginning to favor? Video. 

Last year, Instagram officially announced that it was no longer a photo-sharing platform only but was instead shifting to focus on video content. 

We know what you might be thinking…

“Videos are a lot more work than photos, and I don’t have time to do videos every day.”

“Professional videography is expensive; our budget just doesn’t allow us to produce videos more than once or twice a year.”

“There’s no way I can do what it takes to stay relevant on social media, so what’s the point?”

While video content presents different challenges than photo or text content, rest assured: you can offer authentic, interesting, and affordable video content, with a little help from the right people.

But practically speaking, what kind of video trends should you be trying? And what isn’t actually worth the time or money?

Your videos don’t have to be long or complex.

We’re all busy these days. And while video consumption is up, view time as a whole is down. According to Visible Measures, 

  • 20% of viewers will stop watching after 10 seconds or fewer, 
  • 45% will stop watching after 1 minute and 
  • 60% will stop watching by 2 minutes.

These numbers might seem discouraging.

The good news? We’ve all heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, videos – even short ones – are worth far more.

Forrester researcher Dr. James McQuivey estimates that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words. And Insivia states that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. 

This means that the majority of viewers will have the equivalent of over a million and a half words in their brain after watching your brief video. That’s a lot of impact!

With TikTok as the fastest growing social media platform, NOW is the time to get started with a presence there. And don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to dance – although if you’ve got moves, bust them!

From trending audio to voiceovers, nonprofits can utilize TikTok’s 15- to 60-second-long video format to inform their audience and tell stories, all in one neat, little package. This is just one way to appeal to millions of users, including many younger demographics. 

Maybe now you’re convinced of the value of video, but you’re worried about what making videos will cost your nonprofit. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees – but…

Your videos don’t have to be expensive.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Creating compelling video footage doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, for many of your organization’s needs, a smartphone camera can do a perfect job capturing the moment. 

Here’s one practical idea: For small in-person events, have a volunteer film a brief video where one of your organization’s leaders explains what’s going on and asks people to come out and support the cause. Then just post it on your organization’s social media accounts as soon as you can. Easy, yet relevant and personal.

Or on a regular (maybe slow) day, grab your phone or camera, set up a tripod and talk about your nonprofit’s mission. Maybe you have a great story to tell that just happened earlier that day. Or maybe one comes to mind that you can tie into a current event. Whatever it is, just talk about it for a minute or so – you might be surprised at how engaging it is.

All this being said, there is great value in having an occasional, professionally-made video. Because of the extra cost associated with these projects, we suggest keeping the focus on topics/events/goals that are organization-wide. Give an overview of your organization as a whole and talk to some of your community partners, volunteers and high-level staff or executives. Or maybe you want to heavily promote your biggest fundraising event of the year. Go for it! 

The amazing video production company and freelance photographer/videographer we work with are East2West Media Group and Matt King. Do you have a reliable, creative and capable videographer or production team you can call on? If not, find out who’s in your area and can partner with you to get out the message of your nonprofit.

And remember…

Your videos don’t have to be perfect.

We’ve all had to adjust to the ever-changing world of social media algorithms. But one of the most important things to keep in mind is that any progress is better than none at all. 

This point may seem simple, but the value of your efforts might be higher than you think. 

After all the last couple of years have thrown at us, it’s no wonder that people are seeking the richest, most authentic content they can get their hands on. So don’t get overwhelmed – do whatever you can to provide it! 

At Magnolia Media Group, we love to help nonprofits tell their stories well. Whether you’re already deep into video creation or haven’t ever tried, we’d love to work alongside you to create something great.