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Using Video To Increase Participation Rates

A few months ago, I posted a blog about stewardship and briefly mentioned the idea of using impact videos to tell our stories. In the meantime, a recent study was released by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI highlighting the importance and impact of including video in our online solicitations. They found that connection and participation rates increased by 43% when an organization included video in their e-blast. This recent revelation combined with conversations that we have with our clients, brought this to the top of mind for me.

One of the most memorable videos that I’ve created was for St. Richard’s Episcopal School and their recent capital campaign. It had all of the elements of a great story: the pitch, the hook, and the emotional plea. It also didn’t hurt that the students, alumni, and parents featured in the video showed their genuine enthusiasm and love for the school. We had a great production company, the timing of the video shoot was excellent, and the community responded with great acclamation to the resulting video. To this day, I still get notes and comments about how much impact that video had on the campaign.

Professionally produced videos are very helpful to our fundraising efforts. But they aren’t always affordable or accessible for every organization. Many non-profits consider using the pros for their big capital campaign video and for marketing and promo pieces that tend to run longer. This is a perfect way to engage professional help. Consider using the experts when you want a refresh of your public facing videos, those 2-3 minute clips that highlight your mission, tell your story, and engage the donor. And it is likely that you will have enough footage to create several of these videos that you can launch at key points throughout the year.

But let’s not forget that we are all carrying around pocket video recorders. How easy is it for us to record a 30-60 second impact video? It doesn’t have to be professionally produced, but put on a nice shirt, clear out the background, and give it your best take (or takes in my case). You can script out the message or you can wing it and talk from your heart. It is helpful to let others review the video first, just to make sure you didn’t miss the pizza delivery driver walking by the window behind you.

Some organizations have the added benefit of a team member who is good at and enjoys using tools like iMovie, Canva, and the host of others that are out there. Splice together the heartfelt comments with footage from your programs in action, add some background music, text and maybe an infographic and you have an excellent impact video.

Just remember, anything longer than 2 minutes and it's hard to hold onto your audience’s attention. Save the longer videos for the bigger campaigns.

Consider including these little impact videos in your next e-newsletter or in a mini-blast to a group of donors who always enjoy hearing from you. An additional nice touchpoint is to send a link or copy of the video to donors before it goes public. This air of exclusivity goes a long way in both stewarding and cultivating their donations, but also in connecting them to you and the organization. And, if you post the video to Instagram or other platforms, consider including subtitles of the text, as many people viewing the video may do so with their sound off.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on using video! And we always want to see your examples and discover new production teams. Let’s have a conversation!

Cape Fletcher Associates

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