publication date: Apr 11, 2012
author/source: Peter G. Reynolds
fundraising video for your organization can be a very expensive and complicated
process. Here are ten pitfalls to avoid when creating your video.
1. When in
doubt, leave yourself out
administrators don't always make great spokespersons. Don't let ego play a role
in deciding who is included in your video.
Advise colleagues, donors and community partners that being interviewed
doesn't mean they'll make the final cut. Trust your video producer to make the
2. Showing is
better than telling
Tell the story
of your organization through the eyes and experiences of the people you serve.
This is much more effective than simply a bunch of experts talking about the
great work you do. Show your organization in
and the impact it's having on the community.
3. Your budget
determines scope, not impact
within reason, shouldn't affect the impact of your final video, only the scope
in which it's produced. For example, if you can't afford the travel costs to
interview staff at regional offices, focus production around your AGM or a
national conference. Same result, but at drastically reduced costs.
4. Make sure
your staff are on board
obvious, but I don't know how many times I've arrived to film at an
organization and staff are shocked that we want to film them. Your staff should
not only know there's a camera crew coming, but be enthusiastic about
participating. Staff enthusiasm makes all the difference in telling the story
of your organization.
forget about seniors
It's very trendy now to make fundraising videos über-hip,
using super-fast editing and kinetic text. While this style does appeal to
young viewers, it can turn off seniors. And while seniors
are about as likely as most other Canadians to donate, they tend to give more.
Slowing down the pace and using larger fonts for text are just a couple of ways
to keep your video accessible and enjoyable for seniors.
6. One video
to rule them all
are limited, many organizations make the mistake of trying to create one video
that covers everything that they do. This really waters down the message you're
trying to convey. Your video only has to capture the essence of your
organization - those accomplishments that make you stand out to potential
isn't just for the hearing impaired
many workplaces don't have speakers, or the workplaces have a policy about the
use of sound. This is meant to discourage watching videos, since without sound
they are totally inaccessible. Including captions in your fundraising video
makes it accessible to everyone, everywhere. YouTube is now beta-testing automatic
captioning for all its videos. You can upload a video and try it yourself.
preach to the choir
If your audience
is the general public, they most likely know very little about the work you do.
Avoid making assumptions and using acronyms. Clients often comment that I am
"using very simplistic language to describe what we do." My answer? Yes, it is
simplistic - to you. But to the average person, it's clear and concise.
forget the ask
fundraising videos often fail to let viewers know exactly how they can help.
Perhaps it's our Canadian politeness, but if you don't tell viewers how to
help, they're less likely to do anything. Whether you need donations,
volunteers or community partners, keep your ask simple and make it easy for the
viewer to act.
Did you know
that YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google? Don't just embed
your video on your website. Post it on YouTube, Facebook, Google + and Vimeo.
Add a link to your video to your staff's email signature. Have your staff tweet
or post about it on their personal Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. The more
often your video is posted or mentioned, the more chance it has of being seen
Peter G. Reynolds is
a documentary filmmaker and video producer. Peter specializes in working with
nonprofit organizations and disability groups, creating fundraising, advocacy
and public awareness videos. He also works closely with the Deaf community,
developing video content in sign language for all levels of government.