March 8, 2013

Have a great visual story? Enter the DoGooder Awards

Annual video contest now open, with winners unveiled at NTC

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, educators, video producers, multimedia specialists, storytellers.

JD LasicaAll of a sudden, it feels as if nonprofit video storytelling is busting out all over. Tonight I’ll be heading into San Francisco for the Storytellers for Good film festival and fundraiser.

Over at TechSoup Global, the annual Digital Storytelling Challenge begins April 1 — here are the details (though the TechSoup website is experiencing a planned temporary outage).

And the 7th DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards opened for entries on Tuesday. Continue reading

July 17, 2012

How YMCA Chicago transforms staff into digital content rock stars

And a look at the YMCA’s social media response chart

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

Lauren MajorThe YMCA is a great example of a nonprofit that understands the importance of having a comprehensive digital content strategy. Steve Heye, Digital Content Services Manager of the YMCA of Metro Chicago, explained at a recent NTEN Chicago conference that the YMCA not only trains their staff on how to use social media, but their strategy ensures that staff members understand the impact of their engagement and how to monitor their social media efforts.

Establishing structure and accountability

Heye explains that the first step in converting staff into digital storytellers is to make sure they have the tools they need to develop great content. Their strategy is to:

  • allow staff to work with the tools they are already comfortable with: strong writers to create blogs, social media gurs to operate Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • provide support and training (establish guidelines, provide feedback, monitor activities)
  • make materials, resources and assistance easily accessible
  • identify who to contact for help.

Measurement and feedback

Providing techology doesn’t magically create digital authors. Training, assistance and feedback are essential.

As program staffers become comfortable with their roles as digital editors, it’s important to show them the impact of their social media efforts in a visual way to help them understand what’s behind all the numbers. A visual representation of the stats can provide a clearer indication of change — of where improvement may be needed in digital engagement.

The YMCA Chicago publishes and shares these metrics with staff:

  • Reach data (measures the reach of email, website, and social media)
  • Engagement data (measures conversations such as Facebook’s “People Talking About This”)
  • Comparing & contrasting digital engagement between different YMCA branches

Continue reading

June 28, 2012

Vidyard: A complement to YouTube

Video hosting and analytics service offers special promotion

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, video producers.

Lauren MajorWe continually like to update our subscribers and clients with interesting new products andapps that grab our attention. One such product that may be useful to nonprofits is Vidyard, a relative newcomer in the end-to-end video hosting space. (See below for a discount for Sociabrite readers.)

With regard to video strategy, the first step is always to determine the overall goal of your video — fundraising, awareness, action or education, said Patrick Landy, Vidyard’s customer success manager. To achieve your goal, he generally likes to break it down into three key areas that you need to execute on:

  1. Content creation – finding stories to tell and the right format for conveying them (Socialbrite’s chief area of expertise)
  2. Deployment – compatibility across browsers and mobile devices, quality playback, speed, analytics
  3. Distribution  – paid search, SEO, organic search, etc.

Vidyard is an attractive option for helping companies and nonprofit organizations deliver on #2 and #3 by:

  • Using call to actions to increase conversions and drive the action your nonprofit is after
  • Providing YouTube integration to increase views and searchability
  • Offering analytics to track and measure the success of your video strategy.

Continue reading

May 2, 2012

An engaging, uplifting nonprofit promo video

Code for America from Inkerman Road on Vimeo.

Code for America: 5 tips on upping your video game

Lauren MajorCode for America, a nonprofit that uses technology to transform local governments, boasts a creative, compelling promotional video that not only clearly describes its message but also engages its viewers to get involved. In just five simple steps, any nonprofit can follow its example.

Be human and personal

1Be sure to make a personal connection early in the video. Many organizations and causes have a cohort of motivated, smiling people behind it. Bring these people to the forefront and show how upbeat and promising working for the cause is! Code for America illustrates its work environment by interviewing employees about what part of the job and cause they like. People are human and social creatures and are more inclined to stick with a video if they can relate to the on-screen subjects.

Use captivating visuals

2Watching a talking head is no fun for anyone. But listening to someone speak while looking at colorful flowers or a fun work environment is far more interesting. The supplemental footage in a video that does not capture a talking head is called b-roll. For example, Code for America’s video displays a shot of the office while founder Jennifer Pahlka speaks over it. Continue reading

March 15, 2012

A digital storytelling campaign that went viral

How one nonprofit’s Click to Donate fundraiser succeeded

Lauren MajorImagine if making $5,000 for your nonprofit cause were as easy as clicking a button. This nonprofit did, and its cause went viral.

The Hoshyar Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at educating girls in Pakistan, created an online presentation with software company Sliderocket, which with each view made a $1 donation up to $5,000. It’s a good thing Sliderocket put a cap on it, or the company would be out over $173,000. The presentation (see above) went viral, reaching around 30,000 views within the first month.

It also went global, an unexpected bonus for Hoshyar, a small organization that previously received donations from only a small group of patrons. Now, contributions and efforts are sent from countries all over the world like Spain and Greece. News even reached Dubai, where a curator of art exhibitions wants to present the video at an upcoming show for Mona Naqsh, a Pakistani artist. The U.S. donors have grown as well. “We get a steady trickle of PayPal donations every day as a result of this video,” says Carla Petievich, executive director and co-founder.

How did Hoshyar do it? A member of the board showed the organization to Sliderocket, leading to Sliderocket’s decision to pair social good with launching its new product. Sliderocket allows users to create interactive presentations more like Web pages than PowerPoints.

The presentation spread like wildfire – a vivid example of how professionally produced multimedia can make a difference.

Hoshyar hired a media company with a strong knowledge of storytelling and the technical know-how of creating visually stunning images. Creative director and copywriter Ted Cooper partnered with Sliderocket to create the presentation for Hoshyar. The story was designed to pull at the heartstrings of potential donors and motivate them with a straightforward, simple call-to-action — to “just click to make a difference”. Hoshyar e-mailed the presentation to its list of around 400 friends and donors, and then watched the presentation spread like wildfire – a vivid example of how professionally produced multimedia can make a difference. Continue reading

January 17, 2012

How charity: water changes lives through multimedia

Water, the Web and high storytelling & production values

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, social enterprises, cause organizations, businesses and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) divisions, video producers, educators, journalists, general public.

This is part three of our three-part series on how nonprofits can create engaging multimedia stories that motivate supporters to take a desired action. Also see:

Creating compelling advocacy videos for nonprofits

How to effectively use calls to action in nonprofit videos

Lauren MajorWith more than 1.3 million Twitter followers210,000 Facebook likes, and an extremely accessible and interesting blog called the charity: water log, the organization charity: water has successfully tapped the social media well, so to speak. We wanted to feature charity: water here because it is a nonprofit leader in social media and also because it embodies what it means for an organization to embrace all things multimedia.

charity: water uses multimedia to express heartfelt, character-driven stories about people affected by the water crisis

Stunning visual storytelling is the key to charity: water’s remarkable social advocacy and online fundraising success. In just five years, charity: water has brought clean, safe drinking water to more than 2 million people in 19 developing countries.

Mo Scarpelli, charity: water’s multimedia producer, recently sat down with me and shared some secrets to their success. Some 70 percent of their contributions come from online donations and online fundraisers, so it’s no wonder the organization puts so much love into its digital efforts. Scarpelli noted that charity: water’s digital storytelling drives their success – it’s how they connects and keeps in touch with their supporters. It helps that their founder, Scott Harrison, is a photographer himself and loves storytelling.

Who do they reach?

charity: water uses multimedia to express heartfelt, character-driven stories about the water crisis and the projects their donors are helping to support. Scarpelli explained that given the wide selection of content available online, website visitors are likely to tune out if their visuals are not compelling and professional looking. Crafting stories in an interesting way that people can connect with has really paid off for the organization and the people it serves. Continue reading