There is no great secret one has to uncover to produce compelling fundraising videos, however, all effective fundraising videos should follow some basic principles:
Don’t try to boil the ocean. Be concise and avoid trying to tell every story of your organization in one video. The best stories have chapters - think of your fundraising video as one chapter in the story of your organization.
Make the video compelling. The viewer should feel something - happy, sad, angry - whatever the emotion, leave the viewer feeling something!
Remember video is a visual medium. Show the viewer something, take them somewhere or introduce them to someone they might otherwise never know. Leave out the superfluous, non-visual details and save those for the text on the web page.
Of course, if you ask 10 different producers they will show you 10 different examples of their favorite fundraising videos. Here are 5 fundraising videos that we admire:
Second Harvest Flash Mob Video
Second Harvest Food Shelf partnered with the Bremer Foundation to produce a Flash Mob video to raise money for the non-profit. The concept was simple - for every view the video racked up, the Bremer Foundation would donate $1 to Second Harvest up to $20,000. The video was shot and posted within a seven hour period and raced to its $20,000 goal in about 24 hours. The piece takes you to St. Paul where the Flash Mob occurred and leaves the viewer feeling happy and uplifted. Most importantly – it reached the financial goal!
Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis set out to generate awareness of the need for a new Dorothy Day Center to provide shelter for homeless people. This video focuses on the story of Karl, a homeless man who is looking for a hand up, not a hand out. Rather than focusing on the messaging from the organization to express the need, the viewer realizes the need through the eyes of Karl. The story takes the viewer inside the Dorothy Day Center and shows the viewer why a new center is needed.
Videos that have a compelling emotional appeal can soften up the viewer and make them more open to receive the rest of the message. The production value does not need to be high-end, instead it can be simple and straightforward. This simply produced story of Zach Pierson is told through the words of his baseball coach, Bob Meredith. The unseen star of the story is Zach Pierson, the character who makes this piece powerful is Bob Meredith.
Independent producer, Nirvana Mullick produced a story about a young boy named “Caine” that turned into a fabulous cause. He originally tried to raise $25,000 for a scholarship fund and soon, over $240,000 was raised for Caine's Scholarship Fund thanks to this video! A non-profit was soon started and now over 250,000 kids in 60 countries have taken part in a Global Cardboard Challenge. Another example of a video that takes the viewer somewhere and introduces them to an interesting character that makes you feel something in the end.
Light in Africa is a non-profit organization that serves the sick and needy throughout Tanzania. While shooting a documentary for Light in Africa, award-winning producer Mark Anderson happened upon the story of Junior, a young boy dying of AIDS. Mark and his team captured this incredible story that takes you to Tanzania and introduces you to a magnetic character, Mama Lynn, the force behind Light in Africa. This piece captures the spirit of the non-profit in this emotionally riveting story.
Have a fundraising video that you admire? Tweet us @StoryTellerMN – we'd love to see it!