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Videos: The Most Effective Way To Connect With Donors

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

In today’s hyperkinetic world, videos are arguably the most effective way of getting a message across. For nonprofits, videos are a critical tool that can help in communicating with your donor base as well as in engaging with new audiences.

To gage the effectiveness of this medium, we can look to recent marketing studies that have shown that almost one-third of Internet users watch videos on Youtube and 85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. And while a video production may seem like a daunting project, it doesn’t need to be.

NEDDIE is here to provide some advice and inspiration from our own experience.

MISSION STATEMENT AND VALUES This may seem self-evident, but your mission statement and values should inform all of your organization’s communications. So, before you begin making the video, understand what your nonprofit stands for and the image you want to present. Then, think about the message you want to


TARGET AUDIENCE Who are you making the video for? From the visuals you use to the music you select, your audience will dictate many of your decisions. A video made for an older donor demographic will be different than one made for advocacy to the general public.

SETTING THE TONE There are many ways to frame a message. Deciding on the tone or theme of your video will help guide you along.

Here are just a few ways to set a tone:

  • Inspire: By highlighting the inspirational aspects of your cause, you can create deep engagement through emotion. Feel the tug of your heartstrings in this video by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:

  • Make an impression: Create an impact with a thought-provoking concept. Check out this video by the World Health Organization that uses a simple visual to make an impact:

  • Inform: Strong numbers speak volumes. Highlight the statistics for your cause or the numbers that show how your organization has made a difference. The UN Environment Programme used a combination of uplifting music, scenic landscapes, and important statistics to make this video:

  • Tell a story: Everyone loves a good story. All the better if it’s inspirational, innovative, and informative. Highlight someone who represents your cause. Provide testimonials from people who have benefited from your work. Tell the story of your nonprofit. Here is an affecting story by Feed the Children:

KEEP IT SIMPLE Compelling content is being created every day, often using only a cell phone camera. Most likely, you already have some if not all of the equipment you need to get started. What you don’t have you can likely find for little or no cost (see below). Don’t get caught up in the logistics. Focus on your message and find the easiest, most effective way to get it done. Our waning attention spans also mean you’ll want to keep your videos short, ideally under 2 minutes.

This video from the National Domestic Violence Hotline shows what’s possible using just words and music:

FREE RESOURCES So, you have a computer and a phone. What else do you need? There are numerous free music, video, and photo libraries you can access online. You can make a video using just these resources! (Of course, it’s always a good idea to read the specific licensing clauses and give credit to the creator).

Music The artist Moby provides over 200 tracks of his music free for nonprofit use! Check out how here: provides free music through Creative Commons (CC) licensing, meaning you can use all the music provided, with some caveats, depending on the type of CC license being used:

Music, photos, and illustrations: Icons8 offers free photos, music, and illustrations. All you have to do is provide a link to the company wherever the content is used. They also offer unlimited use by paying a subscription or a licensing

Videos: Coverr provides free videos as well as access to paid Shutterstock videos:

Pexels is another site that provides free videos and photos through their community of creators:

Video Editing Software:

Movie Maker Online is a basic editor that forgoes the need to install software on your computer. They also have quick tutorials of all the basic functions offered, as well as royalty-free photos and music.

OpenShot Video Editor is a free, open-source video editor that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. You’ll be able to create titles, add video effects, and create animations.


Feeling inspired yet? In case there’s still any doubt you got this, here are a few more videos to get your creative juices flowing!

This PSA by the Ohio Department of Health demonstrates the impact that a simple concept can have, in this case, an analogy using ping pong balls...

Girl Effect produced this informational video using text on screen, video footage, and testimonials captured with cell phones.

Because this article was inspired by our own lessons with video making, here is NEDDIE’s very own video:

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