Best Practices for Nonprofit Video Marketing


In recent years, video has become as ubiquitous as the omnipresent screens on which we watch it. Video pervades our modern lives, dominates the Internet, and is projected to continue growing rapidly.

YouTube is the second most trafficked site on the the Internet, surpassed only by parent company Google and above Facebook, itself a platform increasingly ruled by video.

A 2017 report and forecast by Cisco found that video was already 75% of all global IP traffic and 81% of U.S. IP traffic. And the authors predict a 22-29% compound annual growth rate in video traffic, with both global and U.S. IP traffic projected at 82% video by 2022.

Technical advances have lowered the cost and time barriers to producing and distributing video. Anyone with a smartphone and a social media account can do it, and more sophisticated digital video cameras and editing suites have become much more affordable.

Demand is also rising. So far, interest in watching videos has risen to consume the available supply.

The average consumer watches more than an hour and a half of online video content per day.

According to a survey conducted by Wyzowl, “The average consumer watches more than an hour and a half of online video content per day, with around 15% averaging more than three hours.”

YouTube alone has 1.9 billion logged-in monthly users, viewing one billion hours of content every day.

Whatever your message, if you’re trying to reach people, if you’re trying to connect with them, video is where you’re most likely to find them.

Effectiveness of Video Marketing

Video engages consumers more than any other form of content

Video’s popularity and impact have made it one of the favorite and most potent tools of marketing professionals for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Marketers are increasingly using video to connect with their audiences, build their brands, and persuade people to take action.

In a 2015 survey of B2B marketing professionals conducted by the nonprofit Web Video Marketing Council, 96% were using video content marketing and 73% reported that it was improving their marketing results. And of those using video in their email marketing campaigns, 65% reported improved results, with another 27% not sure because they weren’t yet measuring the impact.

Video engages consumers more than any other form of content,” according to a study by Brightcove. “45 percent of consumers overall and 56 percent of Millennials feel that video is more engaging than other forms of content.”

Video improves website SEO and strongly supports conversions and sales. According to a 2017 white paper by IBM, “visitors spend 88% more time on a website that includes video content.” The report found a 35% increase in web conversions and, for retailers, a 40% increase in purchases.

And in a 2018 survey of marketing professionals conducted by Demand Metric and Vidyard, 83% of respondents reported that video marketing was becoming more important. “The conversion performance of video compared to other content types remains strong,” the report’s authors found, “with 59% of study participants reporting that video performs much or somewhat better than other types of content.”

Potential of Video Marketing for Nonprofits

For nonprofits, the impact of video marketing makes it an effective tool for outreach, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and overall engagement.

In a 2016 report, the Content Marketing Institute found that 87% of nonprofit marketers use video as one of their content marketing tactics, and 65% say their video marketing campaigns are effective. (Compare this to only 26% who say their overall content marketing strategies are effective.)

Supporters and stakeholders are more likely to stay on your website or read your email newsletter when they include video. They’re more likely to share video. And they’re more likely to be moved by video to take the action you’re asking them to take.

Video marketing as part of a fundraising campaign or a foundation pitch can deliver a very high return on investment. According to Syndacast, simply using the word “video” in the subject line of your email campaign increases open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%. And a survey by GetResponse found that emails that included video had a 96.38% higher click-through rate. More importantly, as Matt Bowman writes in Forbes, “Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.”

Video Marketing Strategies That Work

But these benefits are not automatically received. There’s nothing wrong with capturing a quick smartphone clip of your executive director announcing a new initiative, then posting it on your Facebook page. It’s an easy way to share the news and make a quick connection. But this kind of video can only work to advance your nonprofit’s mission if it is part of a larger video strategy.

In an eMarketer analysis of a survey conducted by the Web Video Marketing Council, the authors found that, while “user-generated videos were contributing to the increasing number of overall videos produced and disseminated on sharing sites and social media platforms…these types of videos were less effective as marketing tools than professionally produced videos with higher production values.”

Even high production values, while important, are not sufficient for success. A video can “look professional,” yet do next to nothing to advance a nonprofit’s goals. In “The State of Video Marketing: 2018,” a study conducted by Demand Metric and Vidyard, the authors found that “While quality is certainly an important aspect of video content, producing quality video does not guarantee success.”

An effective video marketing campaign needs clear goals, including:

  • Careful planning and development
  • Quality filming and production
  • Strategic distribution and promotion

But most importantly, a video marketing campaign needs to tell a compelling story, one that engages people and inspires them to take action.

Video marketing is not just a flashier medium for conveying information. It’s not a PowerPoint presentation set in motion. Effective video creates an immersive experience. It connects viewers to the people whose stories it tells. It speaks to both the head and the heart, persuading the one and inspiring the other.

Nonprofits, by their very nature, have important stories to tell. When planned, produced, and promoted well, video marketing offers one of the most effective ways to tell them.

Best Practices

While video can still seem like a daunting investment, the cost of high quality video productions is much more accessible today than it was even a decade ago. Even for nonprofits, effective video marketing can contribute significantly to the bottom line. The best practices that follow help nonprofits maximize the impact and return on their video marketing campaigns.

How can video marketing further your mission?

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