The basics: Raise awareness and funds with video

Melissa Nelson
Melissa Nelson

Melissa Nelson

[Publisher’s note: This article was provided by Blackbaud, a maker of fundraising software. Blackbaud is a PJ business partner.]

It is so easy these days to get involved in video making. From webcams, and cell phones to Flip cams and cameras, if you want to show your organization’s needs and explain your mission, a visually captivating video is the way to go.

Now, I know it’s easier said than done. And when I say easy, I mean daunting.

But there are a ton of resources out there that make video production a little more bearable.

For starters, don’t think of the end result or the process and steps it will take. Rather, think of the great opportunity a video will afford your organization – for example, in raising funds and awareness.

So how do you use a video in fundraising?

A video should be an element of the bigger campaign. As part of your campaign communications, video will enhance the overall message.

The campaign will help set the tone of the video: Is it funny, uplifting, full of energy, or is it dramatic?

Once you’ve determined what campaign will be complemented with the addition of a video element you can start working on the message.

Every video has to convey real purpose and message. The purpose of the video should explain your organization’s mission.

Ask these questions: What does my organization do that is so important and why are my supporters passionate about my cause?

A powerful message can also include a real story, making your audience feel as though they are actually experiencing your mission, bringing your cause to life.

Defining the need is an important step to creating a fundraising video. Sharing some statistics as to why you need support is a great way to do this.

Make your audience understand that you need them to be involved, that their support is critical to the success of your mission. You obviously have felt called to this cause. This video should make them feel called to act as well.

If you have successfully defined the need and your organization’s impact, then inspiring supporters will come naturally.

Now you want those inspired supporters to take action and follow through, so don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you need. Give them some ownership by not just telling them what their support would mean, but also give realistic goals that they can achieve.

When brainstorming a fundraising video, start with these four steps: 1) set the tone, 2) convey real purpose, 3) define the need, and 4) inspire supporters.

Ideas and tips can go on and on, but when the idea of video making turns scary, get back to these basics.

Visit and tell us how you use video to inspire your supporters.

Melissa Nelson is media production and outreach manager for Blackbaud.

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