How to use user-generated video for fundraising success

Video

In our increasingly connected world, it’s easier than ever for organisations to share their mission and ask for support. And, while that’s a great thing, it also means that capturing the attention of donors, volunteers, and supporters is more of a challenge than it was before. Fundraisers need to find innovative solutions that help their campaigns stand out from the crowd.

User-generated video is one such solution. In a survey conducted by Google, they found that 57% of people who watched a non-profit’s video went on to make a donation to the organisation. And by co-creating video content with the people at the heart of your mission, you can create emotionally-compelling pieces that are highly effective and allow you to exceed your fundraising goals.

And thanks to rapid innovation in technology, it’s easier than you think to get started collecting user-generated video. We’re all walking around with tiny supercomputers with professional video cameras in our pockets. And, with every passing day, we’re getting more comfortable using our devices to create and share our stories with the world. Here are three steps to get started co-creating video content with your audience:

1. Gather stories from the people at the heart of your mission

The first step to co-creating compelling video content is identifying the most active and engaged members of your community. These people can (and likely want to) be your organisation’s superheroes. They are strong supporters of your cause, advocates of your mission, and love talking about it with their network.

Invite them to share their stories about what your campaign means to them and how your organisation has impacted their life. Make sure that your invitation is clear about what you’re trying to achieve and how their perspective will help. And, don’t forget to secure the digital rights to share their user-generated videos on all of your different channels.

2. Polish the video content while maintaining authenticity

One of the best things about user-generated video is that it is authentic. When it comes to rallying support for a cause, authenticity and emotional appeal are far more important than high production value. While you don’t need much editing, there are some things you’ll want to do before publishing your videos.

First, make sure to add captions so that your videos are accessible and provide the best user experience. You should also consider adding your organisation’s logo and branding, trimming the videos to the right length, and creating montages that string multiple stories together. Watch how Sierra Club put these ideas into practice for their #WhyWeRise campaign:

3. Deliver the right content in the right place at the right time

Once you’ve collected user-generated video content, it’s time to start putting it to work for your organisation. While video itself is not a strategy, incorporating video across your marketing channels is likely to have a large impact on the success of your campaign by increasing your reach and your conversions.

People spend more time on websites that incorporate video and video can increase conversions on your landing pages by 80%. Referencing video content in your email subject lines can increase open rates and drive a 200% – 300% increase in click-through rates. And, video on social media gets 12 times as many shares as image and text posts combined.

Incorporating user-generated video content into your campaigns is a great way to keep your donors, volunteers, and supporters engaged by inviting them to be part of the conversation. That engagement will be a critical component of how you achieve your goals and advance your mission. And, thanks to the rapid rise of new technologies, video doesn’t have to be hard.

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Michael Hoffman is the co-founder and CEO of Gather Voices, a technology company that automates the creation, management and publishing of video content. He is also the founder of See3 Communications, a digital marketing agency in Chicago and founder of the DoGooder Video Awards which honors the best social cause video on YouTube each year. Hoffman teaches marketing at the University of Chicago and is an internationally sought-after speaker and trainer who is a trusted advisor to nonprofit leaders on engagement strategy.