- Digital communications & marketing
- Donor Engagement
Videos can be an invaluable resource for your nonprofit organization, particularly when you plan them in advance, launch them at the right time, and reach the right audiences. Through powerful visuals and storytelling that gives supporters a fresh perspective, video content can act as a new platform for deepening donor engagement.
Year-end campaign videos, in particular, are a great way to exercise your creative muscles, test your limits, and get in the holiday spirit! During this popular time for giving, it’s more important than ever that your nonprofit create attention-grabbing, unique pieces of content to garner support. A unique approach through video can help your cause stand out among peer organizations.
In this guide, we’ll explore some tips for getting started with videos and a few ideas you can try during your next year-end campaign. Let’s get started!
Telling the story of your cause with videos
During the year-end giving season, nonprofit organizations around the world try to make their purpose stand out among all the other worthy causes.
Your donors are charitable people, so it makes sense that they'll be considering a number of philanthropies to donate their money, time, or attention to at the end of the year. To make your cause stick in their minds, you'll need to tell a story that fosters a personal connection between your supporters and your organization.
Creating a compelling year-end campaign is like telling an epic tale because both have:
- A beginning, middle, and end to the story.
- A noble protagonist.
- Something monumental that stands to be gained (or lost).
Nonprofits use various techniques to engage audiences in their campaigns throughout the year, but year-end campaigning requires a unique type of storytelling. Your nonprofit’s year-end story is special because it aims to both summarize your progress over the last year and set expectations for what’s to come in the future.
Your task is to find the strongest threads from recent organizational events or activities and weave them into a patchwork of ideas and perspectives that inspires supporters to give. Choosing a strong storyline can mean capturing the interest of potential donors early on in your campaign and securing valuable donations.
So, where do these incredible tales come from? To get started, dig into what makes your nonprofit’s story different. By tapping into your organization’s special blend of culture, creativity, and connections (including everyone from staff, volunteers, and high-profile figures to the people you help every day), you can create your own personalized, engaging year-end story.
6 year-end campaign video ideas
The fairy tale
You might be familiar with the structure of these stories: Once upon a time, there was a nonprofit that created positive change in the world. But, an evil force was doing harm by putting its own power and profit above the good of the community. This force had to be stopped. So, the nonprofit rallied its base and fought back with all its might. And just when you thought it couldn’t be done, the impossible happened – good triumphs over evil. All is right in the world…until the next time.
Without a doubt, it’s powerful nonprofit storytelling. No matter whom you cast as the “good guy” or the “bad guy,” it’s difficult to not be pulled into the overall drama. Nonprofits often default to this kind of storytelling for their year-end. After all, it’s easy for audiences to follow the storyline whether they’ve been with you from the beginning or are joining later in the series of events.
Even if your organization is still facing a significant uphill battle, this storytelling format can be a great option. Maybe you haven’t fully closed down that puppy mill or you haven’t been able to get that key project off the ground due to funding. In these cases, embrace it for your story. It’s okay to sacrifice your happily ever after for now, as long as your story is compelling and realistic, illustrating how you’re working to get there.
Political or crime drama
Unveil a sinister world of corruption and underhanded deeds, or get real about the frustrations of dealing with challenges like bureaucratic red tape or funding issues hindering your progress.
The focus in a story like this is your antagonist. Spotlight just how harmful they can be by highlighting some of the negative impacts they could have on your cause. For example, is there a member of Congress that’s been especially hostile toward your stance on a particular issue? Or, maybe there’s a local school board member who evades your questions? Use your year-end campaign to take your standard advocacy actions up a notch again whoever (or whatever) is proving to be an obstacle.
Rally your supporters while also encouraging them to dig a little deeper in their pockets to fight the threat head-on. Be prepared to share lots of facts, figures, witty comebacks, and hard-hitting commentary about the harm that’s been inflicted. Just be sure to offer some kind of light at the end of the tunnel—audiences can only take so much doom and gloom.
The love shown in this genre of campaign video is not the standard romantic love you might see in your favorite rom-com. Instead, this genre is about making your audience fall head over heels for your cause by delivering a few laughs and a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings.
Create some light-hearted, visual content for your story. You can start with video testimonials, pictures of staff and volunteers working side-by-side, or messages of thanks for your organization’s hard work. The main goal is to underscore a deep passion for your work. In addition to having fun with the “romantic” theme, make sure your campaign is still grounded in clear and positive results.
Suspense or thriller
What’s the scariest thing about working for a nonprofit? For many, it’s not knowing where funding is coming from next year! Play up this tension by sharing your year-end goals with your supporters. For example, do you want to raise $10,000 more than last year or gain 500 more supporters? Be transparent by putting it in your year-end story to involve your audience in the suspense of the year-end fundraising drive.
Get your goal thermometers ready, and increase the build-up by offering to do something special when you hit a major milestone. If you hit your goal, maybe your executive director will rappel down a building or your organization will release a special video from a celebrity saying “thanks.”
Putting this fresh, exciting spin on the content will keep your supporters coming back for more to track the progress, even after they’ve donated. Once the campaign concludes, don’t forget to follow up with an update. Did you meet or exceed your goal? If not, that’s okay—just explain how that will affect your organization’s impact the following year and how much more determined you are to reach future goals.
It’s easy to get swept up in the joys of the holiday season. Speaking to your audience in this context is a simple way to honor the good work that’s been done all year and say “thank you” to the people who’ve made it all possible. This type of storytelling is particularly effective for organizations with a large base of volunteers or those that organize their larger events toward the end of the year.
The key is to capitalize on the spirit of the season without any of your supporters feeling left out or alienated. Whatever message you choose, be consistent with the theme across your website, email, social media, and other web properties.
This kind of story invites your audience to relive your organization’s most exciting tales, beckoning them to join you in upcoming adventures.
Share recaps of your biggest wins from the year through words, images, videos, and social media snippets. Who did you help? What did you do? Why was it so important? Get updated testimonials from staff and volunteers who were a part of the efforts.
Remember, this kind of storytelling is not just about celebrating what’s been accomplished. It’s also about urging your supporters to increase their commitment. Whether that means taking the next step to join as a member or becoming a monthly sustainer, your goal is to cultivate donor relationships.
Quick tips to get started with video
There are so many more nonprofit tales just waiting to be told, but this list is a great way to get your team excited to uncover its own special story.
A year-end video is a fantastic way to get your message out in a way that's compelling and deeply relatable. Just make sure that you:
- Use details to your advantage, such as a person's real name (or pseudonym, if appropriate), age, and location.
- Let your beneficiaries speak for themselves or have a member of your team narrate the impact story.
- Appeal to your viewers' emotions with powerful imagery.
Whatever method you choose, videos are one of the most engaging forms of media you can use to motivate those who interact with your organization online to support your purpose. Get the most out of your videos by posting them across your social media pages and website.