Nothing tells the real, impactful human stories of actual constituents like video. In the years that I spent as an advocacy program director, collecting user-generated video from our supporters – advocate stories, testimonials, and messages to legislators – was always high on the priority list.
These programs, no matter how well conceived or how good our intentions, were always difficult to manage. Folks would use a variety of ways to capture the video: Flip cams, their laptop’s camera, their smartphone, etc. The video got back to us in different ways: email, links to YouTube pages, posted to our Facebook fan page, etc. Organizing the footage to make the desired impression on potential advocates and/or legislators was a time suck. And, regardless of how well we crafted message points for our supporters to simplify the process and make it less stressful, the video that came back had varying levels of usability. In short, these programs were a hot mess. Continue reading →
Before the digital revolution, videos — like still photographs — were actually shot on film. Editing them involved cutting out individual frames and splicing the filmstrip back together, a tedious and expensive process that resulted in lots of little plastic squares on the cutting room floor. You also had to move through all previous footage to reach the scenes you wanted to edit, more or less requiring you to edit the film in the order in which you shot it.
Today, software makes editing digital footage faster, easier and much more affordable, and puts it within reach of anyone with a personal computer. Even better, digital video editing is “nonlinear,” which means you can access the scenes you want to edit directly. This helps speed up the process, especially for a short, Internet-ready video for which you just need to trim off the ends and add a title screen or two. Continue reading →
I‘m going to let you in on a little secret: Producing video in-house at your organization isn’t as scary as it sounds. More than ever before, organizations are using video as their primary vehicle for communicating their issues and telling the stories of their cause while the tech becomes easier for laymen to use. That’s not to say that you don’t need at least one professionally produced video. You do.
But organizations rarely have the budgets to hire pros to create every piece of video content. Creating your second-tier video content in-house is within reach. First, you need to know how to navigate the galaxy of good, bad and in-between products that is the video marketplace.
Here’s a roundup of gear and other things to think about from a seasoned producer’s point of view. Continue reading →
Video hosting and analytics service offers special promotion
Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, video producers.
We 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:
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:
Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, businesses and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) divisions, video producers, Web publishers.
While 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:
Matanya’s Hope tells stories of Kenyan schoolchildren through photos & video
Multimedia storytelling can be an incredibly powerful tool for your organization to attract funders, motivate volunteers and demonstrate the power of your message.
Our friends at Matanya’s Hope asked us to create a visual story for their nonprofit by seamlessly blending photos and video footage that they have captured over the past several years with original interviews, music and graphics we developed.
Founded in 2005 by Illinois native Michelle Stark, Matanya’s Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to educating children in Kenya. Last summer I accompanied Michelle to Matanya Primary School and saw the destitution these children and their families face: severe poverty, hunger, lack of clothing. And I realized why Michelle is dedicating her life to this cause.
For nonprofits and other organizations looking to capture their stories through powerful imagery, here are some simple tips for creating professional-looking video:
Use “b-roll” (stills & video)
Incorporate stock music
Use narration or background sounds
How to incorporate b-roll
By using B-roll – still photographs and short video clips referencing what the interviewees are talking about – you can make the video much more interesting than by solely using “talking heads” (straight interviews of people talking without any additional footage). As we are hearing Michelle talking about the children with “no shoes and torn and tattered clothing,” the still photographs visually reinforce what the interviewee is saying. B-roll also allows us to edit the interviews without a noticeable cut (“jump-cut”) in the action or picture on screen.
Use background music to add texture
Background music was also selected to set the mood of the video. Royalty-free music can be purchased online from a number of stock music websites for a modest charge. One of my favorites is Triple Scoop Music. There are also a slew of free sites offering rights-cleared music, generally using Creative Commons — see Socialbrite’s Free Music Directory. Continue reading →