Show, don’t tell: 5 tips to engage donors using online video

We’ve all felt the powerful impact of video. Seeing a story unfold before our eyes can leave a lasting impact. It’s hard to forget a story of extreme need told in real time by a living, breathing person. Donors are inspired when they get a firsthand look at how people’s lives are being changed.

So what sets a strong video apart from a weak video? Is there a right or wrong way to tell a story of need.

Here are 5 tips for creating strong online videos that will impact your audience. 

1. Communicate your message quickly

 The average length of an online video is 5 minutes. But by the end of minute 1, nearly half of your viewers will jump ship. It’s essential to drive your message home as soon as possible. Be direct and up front, and address the main character, story or need immediately.

2. Don’t point the camera inward 

Showing the need will captivate viewers much longer than featuring a “talking head” sitting behind a desk.

3. Find and follow

Find the story, follow the story, craft the story and then produce video. Simple as that.

4. Strip down

Motion graphics? Orchestrated music? Dramatic transitions? These can be distracting and unnecessary. Start with the core of your message and then build on it.

5. Clear purpose and call to action

Use a clear call to action at the end of the video. Make it easy for the viewer to share it with their friends, donate or sign up for more information.

Over the last 5 years, online video has become a powerful engagement tool for nonprofits. Whether the footage is taken with a simple flip camera or is professionally produced, it can leave a lasting impression on the viewer and inspire them to action.