Powerful ways to make your nonprofit video inspire action


By Mike Yearling, Managing Partner Sales & Marketing, Mills James

More nonprofit organizations are leveraging the power of content marketing—specifically video—to stir the emotions and stimulate giving. The most impactful videos incorporate three key insights that inspire action:

One well-told story is better than three good ones; one deeply felt emotion is better than 10 stats. We often see videos that try to cover the entire gamut of an organization’s giving and everything they do in their community. The best videos understand our human affinity for stories that illuminate broader themes (and the tendency for our eyes to glaze over with too much information).

Be more audience-centered than organization-centered. People give because it’s incredibly rewarding to see their investment in time or money make direct differences in others’ lives. Apply donor-centered storytelling – where your audience sees people like themselves as passionate peer advocates of your organization – to your videos. “Seeing yourself” in a story is often more inspiring than seeing the CEO talk about their own company.

Get smart about distribution. Sharing video directly from your website, blog or YouTube channel will get the message out, but there are also additional nonprofit-friendly tools that can further spread the word and elicit action: 

  • Call-to-action overlays — ads that appeal for donations or direct viewers to your website
  • YouTube donation cards — an embedded donation button on your video
  • Google Ad Grants — free Google AdWords campaigns that drive traffic to your website