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

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

January 5, 2012

Jolkona: Now we can all be philanthropists

During the holiday break, Socialbrite is updating and republishing some of our most popular posts. We noticed that Jolkona is prominently featured in Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s new book, “Giving 2.0.” Our regular publication schedule resumes Monday.

Imet Adnan Mahmud, co-founder and CEO of Jolkona, during Beth Kanter’s book signing party for “The Networked Nonprofit” at TechSoup Global — and was immediately impressed by his seriousness and dedication to helping great causes through one-to-one philanthropy.

Support a library in Tibet that needs $50 to buy books, and you’ll get the list of books purchased through your donation.

Jolkona is at the bleeding edge of this phenomenon, which will become an increasingly important part of charitable giving in the years ahead, as young people in particular want transparency, interaction and accountability when supporting a cause.

Adnan says Jolkona is the first nonprofit “to give tangible feedback on your donation.” Kiva, which pioneered the technique, provides entrepreneurs with loans. And while nonprofits like charity:water and Global Giving often give updates on projects, Jolkona is positioning itself as a technology platform that enables one-to-one philanthropy for nonprofits of any size.

Watch, download or embed our interview on Vimeo Continue reading

November 30, 2011

How to effectively use calls to action in nonprofit videos

Getting your supporters to take the next step when your video ends

This is part two of a three-part series on how nonprofits can create engaging multimedia stories that motivate supporters to take a desired action. Part two describes the use of call-to-action video overlays to boost ROI. Also see part one:

Creating compelling advocacy videos for nonprofits

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, businesses and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) divisions, video producers, Web publishers.

Lauren MajorWhile the audience for online video continues to grow, the advances in Web video technology are changing at a dizzying pace, making it hard for nonprofits to keep up. There are several good online video platforms and third-party apps available to convert views into actions. YouTube’s call-to-action video overlay, third-party video apps and customized video domains or microsites offer great options for boosting the return on investment of your nonprofit’s video program.

YouTube’s call-to-action video overlay

The effectiveness of your message is cut short if you don’t use a clickable call to action that takes visitors to your site or Twitter page to make a donation or to take another action.

Most nonprofit Web videos make mention of their organization’s URL either verbally or with graphics edited into the video. But the effectiveness of your message is cut short if you don’t include a clickable call to action that takes visitors to your website, Facebook Page or Twitter page to make a donation or to take another desired action.

YouTube’s nonprofit program offers two such call-to-action video apps that can be easily implemented: overlays and annotations.

If your nonprofit is not already part of the Google for nonprofits program, consider applying. The free program offers many benefits and can become a center for creating effective calls to action and engagement:

  • Free or discounted version of Google Apps for your organization
  • Premium branding capabilities and increased uploads on YouTube
  • The option to drive fundraising through a Google Checkout “Donate” button
  • The ability to add a call-to-action overlay on your videos to drive campaigns
  • The ability to post volunteering opportunities on the YouTube Video Volunteers platform
  • Free Adwords advertising

Examples of video calls to action — in action

Here are a few examples of how nonprofits have incorporated overlays and annotations to drive a specific course of action.

This Angry Kid Greenpeace video is heartfelt and does a great job delivering its message. Unfortunately, the creators stop short by simply offering engaged viewers the opportunity to visit their website at the end with no actionable link:

 

The Darius Goes West video takes it a step further and adds a call-to-action overlay to visit Darius’ Twitter page as part of the YouTube player:

Continue reading

June 15, 2011

B Corporations: What do they mean for nonprofits?

B-corp
B Corps use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

 

A company either makes money or does good, right? Think again

Target audience: Social enterprises, nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, businesses, educators.

By Lindsay Oberst
Socialbrite staff

Lindsay OberstAnew type of corporation has come along that makes money and does good for society and the environment. They’re called B Corporations, for benefit corporations.

Nonprofits can smile about these dual-focused companies because they make great like-minded partners, and they may help fund and support their social good goals.

A new sector of the economy

B Corporations for social good B Corporations first appeared four years ago. Today, more than 400 companies across 50 industries and several countries have achieved certification by B Lab, the nonprofit that recognizes for-profit companies as being ethical, socially aware and eco-conscious.

Basically, B Corps have to do more than report to their shareholders; they have to consider the people around them and the world they work in. Being able to stand out in the social enterprise sector is a benefit for them.

I first learned about B Corps at a meeting in Atlanta and thought they sounded like a great idea for the increasing numbers of consumers seeking good companies. Of course, people at nonprofits are often seeking out companies behaving ethically as well.

Companies know that people want to be green. B Corps cut past the marketing hype and greenwashing as companies that are truly committed to policies that promote the social good.

One thing for nonprofits to consider about B Corps

Some nonprofit leaders have come out against B Corps. They say that nonprofits might now get as much money because people will choose to back B Corps rather than nonprofits.

Others argue that B Corps will in turn fund nonprofits as well as social benefit initiatives. Jordan Chazin, a B Lab Ratings Associate, says, “Many B Corps are incorporated as C or S Corps or LLCs and are technically designated as for-profit ventures, but elect to give up to 100 percent of their profits to charity.”

A few examples of B Corporations

Freeworld Media, a B Corp, is a digital marketing group that helps companies raise awareness with social and emerging media. Sean Wood, founder and CEO, described his company becoming a B Corp in a statement earlier this year: “We are proud to be a leader in the use of social media to foster corporate social responsibility. What matters to your customers matters to your business.”

Freeworld Media, social media for social good

Many companies that serve mainly nonprofit customers are deciding to become B Corps, including PhilanTech, Care2 and PICnet.

“Nonprofits need tools and services to support the pursuit of their missions,’ ” says Dahna Goldstein, founder of PhilanTech. “With B Corporations, nonprofits can be confident that their service providers are also committed to social and environmental responsibility.”

Nonprofits that want more information about the relationship between nonprofits and B Corps should visit bcorpsfornonprofits.com.

As a nonprofit, what do you think about B Corporations?

Related

4 ways nonprofits can learn from social entrepreneurs (Socialbrite)

The Hoop Fund makes its debut (Socialbrite)

Catchafire: Connecting nonprofits & professionals (Socialbrite)

June 6, 2011

A reality check on social media

Social Media for Social Good

 

It only works when it’s connected to the real world

JD LasicaAt the National Conference on Volunteering and Service — which some folks call “the Super Bowl of nonprofit conferences” — George Weiner and I teamed up on one of the most successful Social Media for Social Good Bootcamps that Socialbrite has put on to date. (Socialbrite has put on camps in New York, San Francisco, Miami, London and elsewhere.)

For those of us who live and breathe tech and social media — me in Silicon Valley and George, CTO of DoSomething.org, in New York and Washington, DC — it’s always a good reality check to come to gatherings like this and see how the non-early adopters are faring.

The three-hour session we led yesterday offered a range of tips on how to use social media strategically for campaigns, for collaboration, for building community, and I invite you to browse through the presentation above, since the attendees found it useful: “AMAZING session” (thanks, Volunteer Centre) … “awesome, fantastic session” (thanks, NCVS) … “Great session!” (thanks, Groupon).

But there were more beginners in the crowd than I expected. For instance, only about five out of 50 particpants were using Google Analytics (the free tool every website and blog ought to have). None had heard of the Grassrootsmapping.org effort to document the Gulf oil spill, even though we’re right here in New Orleans. And only one out of 80 people (not counting me) at today’s session on data had ever used Tumblr, an easy way to post blog entries and photos.

These are good, smart, motivated people — we need to break through the barriers and connect the tools and strategies with the organizations and causes that need them, starting with the basics.

So let’s take a deep breath and remember: We still have a lot of work before us, and there’s a lot of education yet to be done.