March 7, 2013

Crowdshout: Social advocacy made simple

App puts social actions in the palm of your hand

Guest post by Glenn Vander Laan
Co-founder, Crowdshout

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

GlennThe idea for Crowdshout hit my business partners and me back in November 2011, a few months following the Arab Spring and during the Occupy Wall Street protests. We realized that despite all of the tools and technology out there to support advocacy, something was missing. The advent of social media and the smartphone was helping to change the world right in front of us, but it was clear to us that all of the puzzle pieces were yet to fall into place to fully enable and empower groups of people.

crowdshout-icon Social media is providing real-time visibility to the social, political and consumer issues that affect us as individuals and as a society. The rapid dissemination of information has changed the game for governments and corporations in both positive and negative ways.

While social media has been embraced as a large part of an overall communication strategy, it can also be used as a powerful weapon by people in reaction to unpopular plans and policies. Institutions must now consider how to react to public opinion — from a Change.org petition, Facebook campaign or a viral video on YouTube.  In addition to this, the portability and capability provided by smartphones to access social media have allowed groups of individuals to communicate and organize very quickly and effectively in support of causes. Continue reading

March 5, 2013

Do Facebook videos or YouTube videos perform better on Facebook?

video-shoot
Photo by wmrice on Flickr (Creative Commons)

The pros and cons of Facebook vs. YouTube videos

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, Facebook administrators, marketers.

John HaydonYou have a thriving YouTube channel, and a thriving Facebook Page community.

But should you upload videos to both places? Or, should you upload videos to YouTube and just share the link to the video on your Facebook page? Continue reading

October 31, 2012

Why can’t I raise any money with social media?

Help your donors climb the ladder of engagement

First of two parts. Next:
Tips & tools for effective online fundraising

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause advocates, fundraising professionals.

John HaydonWhy does it seem that raising money with social media is almost impossible?

We all know that retweets can travel faster than an earthquake and Facebook is basically word of mouth on steroids.

But why do so many social media fundraisers fall flat?

The answer lies in understanding exactly how people use social media, and why these tools even exist in the first place.

Four ways you use social media

If you think about your own behavior, you’ll realize that you use social media in at least four different ways:

  • Connect – Facebook is a friend network. The reason you visit your Facebook news feed is to see what’s happening with your friends. Updates from brands, including nonprofits, are mostly interruptions.
  • Discover – Twitter is where you discover interesting pictures, videos, and blog posts. You’ll also make new friends who might eventually become Facebook friends. YouTube is where you discover awesome videos, either by searching or browsing categories and trending videos.
  • Continue reading

October 3, 2012

7 top video editing tools for nonprofits

How to edit video in house with tools that fit your expertise

This is the second of a three-part series on nonprofits’ use of video. Also see:
• Part 1: What to consider when investing in video
• Part 3: Video for your cause: Getting giddy over Viddy

Guest post by Kyle Henri Andrei
Idealware

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

June 7, 2012

New YouTube channel shines light on human rights

People are harnessing the power of video to tell their stories

Target audience: Human rights advocates, NGOs, cause organizations, foundations, nonprofits, social enterprises, journalists, educators, public.

Guest post by Matisse Bustos Hawkes
WITNESS

When I first started working at WITNESS almost exactly nine years ago, Web video was still in its infancy. YouTube was still a dream and two years from launching and “user-generated content” was three years away from being declared Time magazine’s coveted “Person of the Year” (with the emphasis on the person being “you”).

WITNESS was founded on the belief that powerful personal stories about human rights abuses shared via video could inspire change. We partnered with human rights organizations around the world, provided cameras, trained them in the basics of filming, how to conduct interviews and gather B-roll, and eventually, produce videos. The videos became part of their campaigns and messages directed at decision-makers in government, business, communities and courts to advocate for specific and lasting change, for justice and accountability.

WITNESS provided 25 cameras like these SonyHandycam Hi8 to its first partners in 1993.

I share this background to how we operate in the world because, as any reader of Socialbrite will know, the last few years have brought tremendous and fast-paced change in video technology, how it’s used and who it’s used by. And that last point is perhaps what is changing what we do at WITNESS the most. Continue reading

April 21, 2011

8 great examples of nonprofit storytelling


“A Glimmer of Hope – LTBH Feature – Austin 2009”

How to convey a powerful message with videos & photos

Target audience: Nonprofits, social enterprises, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, Web publishers, small businesses.

JD LasicaAs regular readers know, I’ve been a longtime proponent of visual storytelling to advance the missions of nonprofits, cause organizations and businesses. (Heck, I co-founded Ourmedia.org before there was a YouTube.) People take action on behalf of a cause only when they feel an emotional connection, and yet nonprofits in particular are famously bad at telling their own stories.

What we tell people in our Socialbrite bootcamps and in our consulting work is this: Every nonprofit is now a media organization (the same goes for social enterprises and businesses). Never before have the tools of visual storytelling been so inexpensive, easy to use and accessible to the masses.

So why aren’t you taking advantage of visual storytelling yet? (Or are you? Tell us in the comments!)

There are dozens of ways to convey your story, and we’ve laid out lots of ways to get started — see the links at the bottom of this article.

Today we’d like to highlight a few best-of-breed examples of visual storytelling so that you can think about how to take a similar approach for your organization. At least one of the examples cited below should trigger an insight — an idea that resonates or an approach that you might consider using with your team or with a production partner.

Find people who encapsulate what your core objective is all about — and convey their stories with power, genuineness, passion and humility

Remember, it’s not about the tools or the technology. It’s about finding people who encapsulate what your core objective is all about — and conveying their stories with power, genuineness, passion and humility. Some can be elaborate productions, with narration, titling and musical score all working together. Others can be as simple as holding up a video-capable smartphone to capture a moment.

One you have a visual story, or several, that you can draw upon, you’ll be able to begin using it in your public outreach: on your website or blog, on your Facebook page, in your annual report, in your email newsletters. And don’t forget to enter contests like the DoGooder Awards, TechSoup Storytelling Challenge or CurrentTV’s just-ended The Current Cause, where $15,000 in prizes will be awarded.

Here are seven great examples of nonprofit storytelling:

1/ Classic video advocacy


“Breathe,” by Repower America

advocacyLast month’s 5th annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards, presented by YouTube and See3 Communications — See3 is at the forefront of nonprofit video storytelling — drew 1,350 submissions from 750 nonprofits, with 16 finalists and four winners.

Among the winners were:
• Best thrifty video: It’s In Your Hands, by Watershed Management Group
• Best large organization video: A Public Service Announcement Not Approved by AJWS, by the American Jewish World Service

Some entries I liked better included:
Breathe, by Repower America (1:33, embedded above)
• The funny, celebrity-studded Seriously, Serious PSA (featuring B.J. Novak & Friends) by malarianomore (1:01)

Sign up to receive See3’s Daily DoGooder: a daily cause video delivered to your in-box.

And here were the 2010 winners. Observe how other organizations are telling their stories — which style did you like: earnest, funny, polished, grassroots?

2/ Digital stories using photos & narration


“Mountaintop Library Expands Horizons,” by Room to Read

digital storiesI’ve been involved in the digital storytelling movement since 2004. A vastly underutilized medium, digital storytelling uses photos, video, film or found materials, combined with voice-over narration, to convey powerful, evocative stories with a rich emotional dimension.

Our in-depth tutorials Digital storytelling from soup to nuts and Digital storytelling: A tutorial in 10 easy steps offers some great examples. But for a simpler way to do this, look no further than the winner of February’s TechSoup Storytelling Challenge.

The first place winner, Mountaintop Library Expands Horizons, by Room to Read (embedded above), took advantage of visually stunning photos taken in Nepal and weaved together a simple 60-second story about the San Francisco nonprofit’s global literacy mission. Nicely done — with no video at all. This is something your organization can do on its own, no? Continue reading