Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

December 3, 2012

Videos Help Non-Profits Convey Emotion When Raising Money

Just as the ways of doing business have evolved in the for-profit world, the non-profit world is evolving too when it comes to raising money for their mission.  Non-profit organizations compete in a world with fewer staff and less face time with decision-makers that can help advance their mission.  Non-profits need a tool that can quickly and effectively capture exactly what they do and what they need in a timely manner. 

Impactful video presentations are one tool that can be extremely effective for fund raising. Strong, story based video presentations help evoke emotion by putting a face to the cause, capture the mission of the non-profit and need for funds to meet the mission.   

It is a given that charitable organizations are raising money for worthy causes and that they have the statistics to support the need for funding. However, organizations that successfully move their mission forward are those that appeal to their donors’ emotions and thus their wallets. As any sales professional will tell you its not numbers, but emotion that gets people to open their wallets.

Here are some components to ensure a valuable presentation that helps raise funds for your organization.  

Keep it short. People have limited capacity to comprehend new information. With busy lifestyles, your audience usually can pay attention for only short periods of time before they begin to tune out. A good, cost-effective video lasts from three to five minutes and concentrates on the need and what the audience can do to help.   

Tell a good story.  Use a real story and real people to capture the purpose and need of your non-profit organization.  Recipients of your organization’s goodwill are your best storytellers and will evoke emotion from your audience.   Avoid hosts or paid talent who are not connected to the organization. The story should be a concise, focused story that captures not only the content of the message, but also the meaning and emotion of the message and transforms it into an experience for the audience. Touch their hearts and their wallet will follow.

Remember who you're talking to. Keep your target audience in mind and deliver information in a way they are most likely to use, understand and retain. Avoid technical medical terms and acronyms. 

Quality counts. It’s important to produce a professional-looking video if you are trying to project a professional image.  Proper scripting, lighting and appropriate music helps emphasize the positive impact.  Clear and useful graphic titles will enhance comprehension, whereas detailed text and complex diagrams are hard to read in a video and will detract from its value as a communication tool.

Take advantage of social media.  Thanks to sites like YouTube and social sharing features, videos have the ability to have a far greater reach and ability to go viral.  Make sure you’re video can be easily shared through social media and includes a clear call to action. 

The use of multimedia can help non-profits tell their story or the stories of their benefactors in an effective way that differentiates them from other organizations soliciting dollars. Think long term, if properly designed, the video or segments of it can be used for other projects or viewed on your website. Quality presentations can be extremely effective in helping raise the critical dollars needed to further your organization’s message and allow the donors to feel good about the money they contribute toward your mission.  

Lou Amico is founder and president of LA Management Company, a strategic marketing firm specializing in online marketing, video production, multimedia production, website development and optimization and social marketing.  He can be reached at704-560-6274 or visit for more information.

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  • At 9:29 AM, Anonymous CameraSky said…

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