Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Video As Part Its Communications Strategy | Beth's Blog

Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Video As Part Its Communications Strategy

Digital Strategy

Photo Credit: Tristan Hanson

Why Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Video As Part Its Communications Strategy – Guest Post by Michael Hoffman, CEO of See3

It’s obvious to anyone who spends time online that video is taking over the internet. It is the dominant form of content we all engage with – on our desktops, our tablets and now our phones. And when video is paired with a continuous strategy and clear metrics for success, there is overwhelming evidence showing that it is a crucial, important investment for nonprofits.

And so it continues to surprise me that nonprofits invest far too little in video content, as if they are somehow exempt from this general trend.

In the Into Focus report, See3, YouTube and Edelman surveyed nonprofit staff and found that the clear majority recognizes the power of video. In fact,

  • 80% of respondents said video is important to their organization today,
  • 91% believe video will become more important in the next 3 years, and
  • 92% value the investment they have made in video.

So, you would think that budgets would be going up accordingly. Not so.

Fully two-thirds of respondents reported that their budgets for video would be flat or decline!

Finding the ROI

One reason for the disconnect between stated belief in video and video budgets has been the lack of hard data about the return on investment (ROI). Video is cool, but it is also expensive (in time and money). It’s no surprise that a tactic with a cost is high and unclear ROI gets minimal resources.

But we have reached an inflection point. There is enough data today to warrant a major investment in video.

Not A Video but a Video Strategy

From my conversations with organizational leaders, I have found that there is too much focus on one video, rather than a video strategy. If you spend a lot of time and money on one video, and that video has poor results, it is no wonder that you hesitate to do more.

When we say video works, we don’t mean every video works, any more than we mean every email works or every direct mail piece works. To know that your email works you have to be sending email regularly – and developing clear metrics for what success looks like. The same is true with video. To see the impact of video, you have to be using it as an ongoing means of communications, not a one-off project that carries all your hopes and dreams.

An ongoing investment in video starts with strategy. When we create video strategy we answer the questions like what has worked for you, what assets and resources do you have, and what stories are there to tell.

With the big picture in mind, lets look at the recent evidence for a video investment.

Video Stats: How Video Impacts Constituent Behavior

You can see how much video dominates YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. But the evidence that people are watching wasn’t enough to convince most organizational leaders to make significant investments. Now we have evidence that gets directly to the level of user behavior.

These stats were culled from many different reports, most meant for corporate marketers. You can use these stats with your leadership to secure some video resources.

  • When the word video is used in an email subject line, open rates double. (Experian Digital Marketing Report)
  • Click-through rates increase 2-3 times when a video is included in an email. (Digital Sherpa)
  • Companies using video require 37% fewer site visits before a person responds to a call to action. (Aberdeen Group and Brightcove)
  • People who watch video are 85% more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t. (Kiosked and Brightcove)
  • If you ever hope to reach a younger audience, you need to be using video. According to a 2013 ComScore study, 83% of 12-17 year olds and 91% of 18-24 year olds are watching online video on a regular basis.

Large companies like Zappos and Cars.com have impressive case studies showing how video has helped them reach their goals. While nonprofit video case studies are harder to come by, the overwhelming direction of the evidence is that video works.

There aren’t excuses any more. Our nonprofit organizations may not be equipped with the talent or the mindset to use more video, but we have to change. We have to adapt and jump in, or the most valuable currency of all — attention — will be in short supply for the important work we do.

Michael Hoffman is the CEO of See3 Communications and an authority on developing video strategy for social good.




12 Responses

  1. Outstanding things completely, you only received your brand brand new readers. Exactly what might you advocate regarding offered that you simply created day or two previously? Every convinced?

  2. Libby Fisher says:

    Thanks for the informative article – I really appreciate the data you used to back up your point. Do you have any data or thoughts on the advantages of using Youtube over Vimeo or vice versa? I would imagine Youtube is the more popular and more search engine friendly medium but am not sure myself. The nonprofit I have started working with (www.fhdnonprofit.org) currently has both Youtube and Vimeo channels and we are looking to possibly consolidate the video channels into just one or the other.

  3. Libby
    For some people, Vimeo provides a better user experience and allows for more of a white label look. You are less likely to get served up ads or other YouTube distractions.

    YouTube is also a social network, and so people use YouTube as a free video hosting site, but also on it’s own terms as a place to attract audience.

    So you need to be clear on what your needs are. I think generally, YouTube is fine, though there are wonderful video-centric orgs that use Vimeo and create a nice experience with it. Like Charity-Water, which uses both sites. They use Vimeo to create nice full-screen video experiences, but they also put all the videos on their YouTube channel.

    Hope this is helpful.


  4. Libby Fisher says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the feedback! I will definitely look further into Charity-Water and see how they utilize both mediums, that’s an interesting concept.

    Thanks for the response!


  5. Charlie Agar says:

    Some great insights! Thanks for the blog.

    We spend so much time in the non-profit world on mission statements and “telling” people about the good work we do. Video is a chance to really “show” what that is.


  6. Nick Walters says:

    Michael – Great insight and information. Video has been THE driver of traffic to our grant writing site so I say “Amen!” to your article. In particular is the idea this needs to fit into an overall strategy. Do you recall the days when everyone had to “hurry and get a website” and a lot of people did that put they failed to understand the need to keep it fresh and to update it, etc. It seems to me that using video for your non-profit/business is only as valuable as the strategy behind it’s use.

  7. […] Read the full post over on Beth’s Blog>> Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… […]

  8. […] also all know that video is the most effective, “sticky” content out there. Companies using video require 37% fewer site visits before a person responds to a call to action. We also know that the cost of doing certain kinds of video continues to drop, as many younger […]

  9. […] Before reading the YouTube tips, first understand the benefits behind non-profits investing in video here. […]

  10. Sunday says:

    Hi Michael,
    Video strategy should be productive for an non-profit if done correctly. I like the fact that distinction is made between a video and a video strategy.

    The right video strategy communicates with well with a large segment of the audience who are readily drawn to its appeal!

    I left this comment in kingged.com also.

  11. […] are helpful points to consider, as I see video strategy is something that is becoming (or rather has become) vital to explore as part of a communications […]

  12. […] Kanter suggests your nonprofit develop a video strategy (rather than focusing on ONE solo video). There’s still time to incorporate a video strategy […]