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Turn Video Into Your Fundraising Secret Weapon: A Guide for Nonprofits

According to the Global Trends in Giving Report, a poor social media presence is the top reason Millennials and Gen Z donors cite for not giving to a cause.

Your donors are on social. Your volunteers on social. You’ve got to be on social. But what really qualifies as a good online presence these days? Posting once or twice a week? Responding to people who tag you? The perfect social calendar is going to be a little different for every organization, but one fact remains the same across the board – your audience expects video. 

There’s a time and place for text and image posts, but when it comes to telling a story, to connecting with donors, to truly showing your audience the impact of your organization and where their dollars go, video is unmatched. 

And Animoto makes it easy to add video to your toolkit. Today we’ll walk through the keys to video success and show you how you can start creating your own videos in a matter of minutes. 

While we’re here – Animoto is offering 50% off annual Professional & Pro+ plans to NonprofitApps readers with code NPATRENDS. Subscribe and save today to kickstart your video journey. 

So why isn’t everyone using video?

You probably already know the answer. Video is hard! It’s expensive! It takes a while. If you’re trying to incorporate video into your social presence or fundraising strategy on a consistent basis, working with an agency or contractor just doesn’t make financial sense. This is where Animoto comes in. Its user-friendly platform lets anyone create compelling videos quickly and affordably, even without prior video editing experience.

The blueprint for fundraising video success

Most people who use Animoto aren’t professional video editors, and you don’t have to be! So we’ve boiled down the process to five basic steps. If you follow this guide, you’ll be able to create videos that make your audience feel something, and when your audience feels something, that’s when they get involved. 

This blueprint uses examples from a video created by the Jane Goodall Society, but it’s designed to apply to a variety of nonprofit organizations. 

Step One: Hook your audience 


Convince your supporters to watch your entire video. The rest of your video is the tree falling in the forest if nobody sticks around to see it. 

How do we do it?

  • Save the best for first. Hit them with your best shot right out of the gates. Provide only as much information as they need to understand the value of your organization. 
  • Don’t make them think – use visuals that bring your mission to life. 
  • Make a powerful statement that compels them to stick around. Questions are also a great way to pique your audience’s interest.

Step Two: Make a personal connection


Make your cause real for your audience. 

How do we do it? 

  • Imagery goes a long way. Visuals can make your story feel real in ways that text alone cannot. That’s why we’re creating videos in the first place.
  • For local organizations, invoke the community.
  • Make it feel relevant like it could happen to them or someone they know. 

Step Three: Introduce the solution


Introduce hope into the equation. You’ve introduced them to the problem and gotten them to care about it. Now they need to know someone is trying to help. 

How do we do it? 

  • Introduce your organization – this doesn’t need to be a whole presentation, just enough for the audience to understand your mission. 
  • Try and keep it to one or two sentences at most. This example is one scene, but try and max out at two. 

Step Four: Empower your viewers


Make them feel like they can make a difference. They’re the hero of this story. 

How do we do it? 

  • Include more optimistic imagery.
  • Position your messaging in a positive light. They should feel hopeful!

Step 5: Inspire action


Drive action, whatever it may be. (Donation, volunteering, registration, etc.) Your video’s job is to get them to take the next step. 

Why does it matter? 

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. They understand the problem, they believe you’re driving toward a solution, and they know they have a part to play in it. Now it’s time for them to take action.

How do we do it? 

  • Keep it simple. Tell them what you want them to do. 
  • Don’t complicate the process for them. 
  • Example calls to action:
    • Donate today
    • Join us
    • Make a donation
    • Support our cause
    • Volunteer today
    • Learn more

Pro tips for high-quality videos

With these tips, you can make impactful videos that inspire change. As you go, here are a few tips to keep in mind along the way:

  • You don’t always have to use video clips. The example above was created using entirely repurposed still images. You can always add text animations, transitions, and other graphics using Animoto to add motion throughout your video. 
  • Use your face and voice: If you’re comfortable getting on camera, a personal appeal can go a long way to helping your audience connect with your cause. This can be especially helpful when creating thank-you videos for existing donors. Animoto webcam and voiceover recording tools make it easy to personalize your videos. 
  • Record audio with your headphone mic: You don’t need an expensive recording setup, but using the microphone built into your headphones can go a long way to ensuring good audio quality. If you don’t have the time to record your own audio, you can use Animoto’s license-free music library to add a professional final touch to your video.
  • Keep it under 60 seconds: Really, this tip could be to keep it under 30, but not every story can fit in such a tight timeframe. The point is to be mindful of the content you keep in your video. The longer your video is, the less likely your audience will be to stick around. Save the best for first and get to the call to action as quickly as you can.
  • Encourage your volunteers and staff to capture photos and videos: This is an easy way to ensure you’ve got a good stream of content coming in to use in your videos. 
  • Turn blogs and other content into videos: Video can be a great way to bring some of your most impactful stories to life. Pages with video are also shown to improve your SEO ranking! You can use your video to drive traffic to your website via social and keep visitors on the page longer.

Creating your first video with Animoto

Here’s how Animoto makes video creation easy from start to finish. Let’s get right into it. 

  1. Choose a template: Choose a template that best suits your needs. Animoto offers an entire category of templates specifically for non-profits. Or if you’d prefer a totally blank slate, you can also start your video from scratch. 
  1. Upload your media and customize the template: Drag and drop your media right into the template and customize the text to tell your story. 
  1. Apply your brand: Apply your brand colors, font, and logo to your entire video in just a click. 
  1. Choose a song: Choose the perfect musical backdrop to your video. Animoto’s library includes thousands of licensed songs to help you create an emotional response from your audience. 
  1. Share your video: Share your video in just a couple of clicks. With Animoto, you can download your video, share a link, embed your video, or share directly to your social channels. 

Tools to help you tell your story

In addition to the tools shown above, Animoto includes a variety of tools that help you connect with your audience, tell your story, and drive action. 

  • Screen & webcam recording: Speak directly to your audience and show them what they need to see.
  • 3 aspect ratios: Change your videos from square to vertical to landscape in just a click and create for all your platforms. 
  • Voiceover: Tell your story in your voice.
  • Elements: Add animated design elements to add visual flair to your video.
  • Stock: Find the perfect shot in our library from Getty Images. 

Top video ideas for nonprofits

Looking for a place to start? Start here. It’s totally free to try Animoto, and as a nonprofit, you receive 50% off annual Professional and Pro+ plans with code NPATRENDS.

1. Social Fundraising

Fundraising is critical for nonprofits, and video can enhance fundraising efforts. A social fundraising video should capture attention quickly, connect emotionally with the audience, and clearly communicate the impact of donations. Use this Social Fundraising template on Animoto to create a compelling narrative that motivates viewers to donate. 

2. Donor Thank You

Showing gratitude to donors is essential for building lasting relationships, and a personalized thank you video can make donors feel appreciated. Use the Donor Thank You template to create a heartfelt message expressing your gratitude. Include clips of your team thanking donors, testimonials from beneficiaries, and examples of how donations have made a difference.

3. Donation Story

Sharing stories about how donations are used can inspire more giving. A donation story video should focus on a specific project or initiative, showcasing the tangible impact of contributions. Use the Donation Story template to combine powerful visuals and narratives that highlight the real-world effects of donor support. 

Get started with Animoto

Animoto is built for creators like you. Get started today and start creating videos that make an impact on your community and your audience. 

Animoto comes standard with:

  • Hundreds of templates
  • Easy drag and drop editing
  • Eye-catching transitions and animations
  • So much more

And don’t forget, you get 50% off Animoto´s annual Professional and Pro+ plans with code NPATRENDS. 

Learn more about Animoto for nonprofits

Sign Up for Our Webinar

If you’ve learned anything from this post, it should be that video is the most impactful form of communication — which is why we’re hosting a webinar!  In this session, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know, including actionable tips and ideas for making video your secret weapon. You’ll also get a demo of Animoto’s features and see how easy it is to create stunning videos.

Don’t miss out! Sign up for our webinar today and learn how to make videos that move your audience to action.

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  • No long-term Commitment: Month-to-Month subscription start and stop at any time
  • Self-service Instant Access vs. 2-4 week implementation process
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