Nonprofit Video: Boost Success For Your Foundation Or Charity

Two men loading boxed supplies out of a van. They are volunteers for a nonprofit.

A Nonprofit video can boost your success with acquiring  new donors. Here are some valuable video marketing tips for Foundations and Charities.

What Is A Nonprofit Video?

A Nonprofit video is a promotional video that you can use to bring more attention to your foundation or charity, or a specific campaign that you’re running. They can range in length from 1 to 5 minutes. 

Using a Nonprofit video has become one of the most impactful and measurable ways you can drive success for your foundation or charity. 

Hosting a video on your website can boost conversion by 80% (Unbounce), which makes it a well-proven method to attract new donations online.

Also, since video has dominated on social media in the last few years, posts with video are getting double the amount of views as text or photos. 

A Nonprofit video is something you definitely need to have (or start using more frequently) in your arsenal.

However, if you’re considering getting a video made for your campaign, there are a lot of details to consider. 

For example, what should the video cover? What style should it be?  Most importantly, what do donors want to see in order to take action toward fundraising?

In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the art of Nonprofit videos so that you can have the most success, and get the funding needed to make the changes in the world you’ve been dreaming of!

Nonprofits, thanks for all you do! Let’s make your video a winner. 

How To Create A Successful Nonprofit Video


Create Awareness

Your Nonprofit video should focus on creating more awareness. It’s likely that not enough people know about your Nonprofit and what amazing things you’re doing! 

Use your video to let people know who you are and what you’re about. 

The next thing they’ll want to know, is what have you accomplished?

By letting them know some of your achievements, you’ll create a compelling reason to share and even donate to your cause. 

Your accomplishments don’t necessarily need to include your direct impact on the world. They could also include what you’ve done in preparation, such as a body of research.

For example, the BC Women’s Health Foundation‘s video leverages an in-depth report on women’s health. This study is quite innovative, since decades of health studies have only used the male body exclusively in their research.

It contained many statistics that were staggering. This is an original and engaging way to create awareness for your foundation.



Create Empathy

In planning your promotional video, you always want to consider which emotional response you’d like to create as a result.

With Nonprofit videos, you’ll want to create empathy. To put it bluntly, empathy opens wallets.

Consider the people your Nonprofit is aiming to help, and tell a story about someone of that demographic. The right donors will see this and feel empathy. 

Use impressive visuals to help make your video impactful. Animation or Motion graphics go a long way to help people understand your future vision. 

Using compelling statistics will also help bring credibility to your story. Creating empathy is the main focus of your video, but statistics help ground your story in reality. 


Inspire Action

After you’ve jerked a tear, created a belly laugh, or caused some goosebumps, it’s time to give your audience an action step! Asking your audience to get involved is what gives you the ROI on your investment in your Nonprofit video.

However, I’ve seen many Nonprofit videos that don’t actually have a clear next step, and it’s a little disappointing. Come up with a simple next step for your audience to take.

In our video with BC Women’s Health Foundation, we made sure to address the question of “How can you help?”, by offering clear next steps, depending on the demographic type:

  • Donors: Continue to donate
  • Social Followers: Share stories of new research on women’s health
  • Champions of women’s health: Advocate for women in your community

No demographic is left without a step to take that will help further their cause, and this is a great way to conclude a video.


An image of a trophy and text that says: How can you help? This is a screenshot from a nonprofit video.

Styles of Nonprofit Videos

There are three main styles of Nonprofit videos you can create. Let’s look at each option and I’ll give you an example. Which one resonates the best for you?

Live Action Nonprofit videos

“Live action” simply means filming real people. This type of video could take the form of an interview, use actors, or be filmed on location somewhere the Nonprofit is trying to make an impact. 

If you want to drive success, it’s most ideal to hire a camera crew and get some beautiful shots. 

Here’s a great example of a well filmed live action charity video for speak your silence.

Animation Nonprofit videos

If you can’t film on location, or you simply don’t want to, animation is an amazing option. 

We’ve had the opportunity to make several animation videos for Nonprofits, and our client’s were thrilled at what we came up with. 

It all comes down what aligns with your brand. 

Here’s an example of some really cool animation for

Blend Live Action & Animation

Do you really want to stand out and make something original?

You can also choose to use a combination of both mediums. This will give you something totally dynamic and innovative, since it’s not as common. 

You can work with a media production team to determine what parts should be done with video, and what should be animation. 

You can even use animation elements to create moving text, which will add a lot of flare to your video. Adding motion to text gives your video a higher level of creative appeal. 

Video Production Tips For Nonprofits

A younger man crouched down outside with a video camera. He's filming a nonprofit video.

Hire A Production Team

The first and best tip I can give you is to hire a video production team. The production quality of your video will impact the results you get. 


Storytelling Experts

I believe the story you tell is your most important part of your Nonprofit video, so make sure you’re working with experts on storytelling and narrative to structure your video. 

You know your brand’s impact better than anyone else, but how confident are you with story strategy?

Even if it’s just a consultation, I highly recommend working with an expert. It will make or break your video’s results. 


Prepare Your Interviewee 

If you’ve got an interview as part of your nonprofit video, make sure you adequately prepare your interviewee. This means they get to see the questions well ahead of film day. 

There’s a lot of pressure on them to deliver and be the face of your brand. Help them out by preparing them as much as possible. 

You wouldn’t wing a Ted Talk would you? Don’t wing your interview. This requires you to make sure your script (or interview questions) are curated well ahead of film day.


Choose The Right Interviewee

Make sure whoever is going to be on camera is the right fit for the job. Ideally, they should be charismatic. Bonus if they’ve been on camera before. Most importantly, they should be willing. 

Someone who’s been nominated to do it, or obligated, isn’t an ideal fit to represent your brand. 


Engaging Score

Your music will heavily impact your video’s success. Make sure your music is taken into consideration. There are many moods you can select: Uplifting, exciting, soft and emotional, etc. 

You may want to choose your music before you start filming. Often we consider this in the storyboard stage, as the music can dictate the pacing and energy of the video. Here’s an example of how the music directs the rest of the video.

(It’s also got great storytelling and visuals. They put a LOT of time and energy into this video)



What Do Most Donors Want to see?

This is really important to consider, because in most cases they are your target demographic, and you want to appeal to them most. Here are three things you can focus on to make sure you’re catching their eyes and ears. 



Your donors will want to know what mind of an impact you’ve made this far in your journey. 

If you’re a new Nonprofit, or haven’t got the results you feel good bragging about, then focus on what you’ve done in preparation. Talk about your mission in action, and you’ll be sure to drive more success. 



If you’ve spent a lot of time doing quality research, share it in your Nonprofit video because it will show how diligent you are in solving a problem. Knowing that you’re backing up your mission with high quality research will make you look more credible. 



Tell your audience how you will use the funds. Good investors always want to know where the money goes. Tell them why you need them to contribute to the solution, and you will drive the results of your viewer’s actions.


What To Avoid With A Nonprofit video

There are certain things that will turn people off  of your video, and you need to be aware of them. 

First, don’t labour on the problem for too long. People are generally averse to videos that come off like “sob stories”. That’s a category you don’t want to fall into. 

Yes, you do need to make sure the problem your solving is clearly communicated, but the general rule of thumb is to make “the problem” no longer than 1/3rd of your video. 

Second, don’t make your video too long. Our attention span is short these days, and the longer your video is, the higher production value will be required to keep attention. 

Here’s a good example of a short Nonprofit video we did for Lion’s Gate Hospital Foundation.

It’s 22 seconds, so it gets right to the point and doesn’t waste any time.



(The original post is on LGH’s Instagram, and got almost 1000 views.)

Consider a series of short videos like this for a campaign.

If you have a lot of information to get across, break your information up into several small videos. 1-2 minutes is an ideal length for most Nonprofit budgets. 

In the earlier example of the “Follow The Frog” video, their production budget was very high, and that allowed them to make a much longer piece, and still keep attention. 

In fact, the video is a work of art, and has 5.6 million views which is a huge success! Let your production budget help determine your length. You can always scale up as you grow.

How To Promote Your Nonprofit Video

Before you start producing your video, consider where you’re going to post it. It’s always strategic to work backwards. 

Once you’ve got a completed video, here is a list ways you can promote your video:

  • Tweet about it
  • Showcase it on your website
  • Embed it into your blogs
  • Send it out via email
  • Add it to your Linkedin Profile (videos do well here)

Square Videos Dominate On Social

Everyone knows Jane Goodall (the Gorilla lady) and her foundation. Well her foundation is bananas about social media (sorry, bad pun).

The Jane Goodall Institute decided to test a campaign using videos with different sizes on Facebook. They used both square and widescreen formats. 

They discovered that square videos performed much better:

  • Square video got 2x as many views as widescreen format
  • Square video got 3X as many shares as widescreen format

This is a great case study for the power of square videos, and definitely something you should consider when posting your Nonprofit video to social media. 

Just getting started with video? Check out the S.A.V.E.
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By Anthony Madani

Anthony is the Director at UpMedia Video, and an expert at Video Marketing, with a rapidly growing business. He’s spent over 18 years in media production, from award winning television shows (on Netflix and HBO), to producing ads for large corporations such as Toyota, Flight Center, and Canada Life.

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