Videos for Nonprofits

Show, Don’t Just Tell: Creating Videos for Nonprofits

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nonprofit marketing expert Joe Turner

Joe Turner

Ah, social media. At least once a day, we page through our feeds to see who is posting what, what’s going on this weekend, and did you see the picture of her new baby? Think about the act of paging through Facebook or Instagram. Most of us blitz through our feeds because we don’t want to feel like we’re wasting time, but we do spend lots of it just scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling. But what gets us to stop and actually look at a post? Many times, it’s video.

Social media is one of the greatest marketing tools at our disposal. Everyone uses it, it’s pretty easy to do, and it’s free. So how are you making use of social media to market your nonprofit? Chances are, you take pictures at your events and get them up on Facebook as soon as you can. That is an excellent use of social media, but remember what we talked about earlier? How quickly we scroll through our feeds? While I will admit that a group of pictures might catch the scroller’s attention more than just one, a video can do even more.

Before you log onto Amazon and start researching video cameras or think that this is too far advanced for you, read on. One of the best video cameras is probably in your pocket or purse right now. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, the videos they are capable of shooting are impressive, and certainly good enough for a social media post.


Now that you’ve gotten the nerve to shoot a video on your smartphone, let’s consider how you should hold your phone. For me, I only shoot horizontally. I just prefer to shoot vertically. Having said that, vertical videos look better on Instagram and horizontal videos look better on Facebook. You decide which works better for you, but if you choose to imbed the video in an email or upload it to YouTube, horizontal will look better. It’s up to you.

5 tips to make your phone videography less shaky

Let’s suppose your event is a food drive. Lots of great visuals there. People bringing boxes of food, volunteers unpacking the donations and storing them in a truck, and kids getting in on the fun by carrying a can of coffee that’s just a little too big for their hands. Great images, and all can be useful when your goal is to shoot a video of the event. But do you have permission to use the images of the people you just took? This is critical. I recommend having a release form handy so that you can obtain permission to use their image and/or name. Check with your organization’s policies and procedures for capturing and using images of program participants, volunteers and donors. If you don’t have a release form in place, check with your legal counsel. Put the forms in a file folder and keep it along with the event information, just in case you need to refer to it later. Do this for still images as well.

Now comes the tricky part – editing. There are many editing apps for both Apple and Android phones that allow you to edit the video right on your phone. Apple has iMovie, and although I’m not a big fan of it, I recommend learning how to use it for these types of applications. If you want a more professional look (and there are smartphone apps that can get you there), you may want to download the files from your device and edit them on your PC. With the available editing software (I’m a huge Adobe Premiere Pro fan), you can make your video look like a Hollywood movie. If you are having a major event, you might want to outsource that kind of video work to someone who can do more with your video footage and create a really strong presentation.

Take some time and familiarize yourself with the app that might be on your phone right now, just waiting to be put to good use. Then start shooting! Your audience wants to see what you’re doing. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how many words a video is worth!

Written by Joe Turner, Impact Coach and Director of Fundraising, Marketing, and Communications for Soukup Strategic Solutions. Soukup Strategic Solutions offers a range of fundraising and marketing outsourcing services, including videos for nonprofits.