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6 Video Marketing Tips for Your Next Fundraising Campaign

By June 18, 2014October 2nd, 2014Guest Post, Marketing

Guest post by Jeff Achen

This week I’ve got something both fun AND helpful! This guest post is from my colleague and friend Jeff Achen who has just launched his own business: CallSign51. Jeff is a terrific resource for nonprofits using video in any way. 

Have you heard? Video marketing is so hot right now. It’s true. And, it’s driving results for many organizations.


According to the company ReelSEO, video in email can boost open rates by 20% and increase click-through rates two to three times. reports that fundraising and nonprofit pages with videos get on average four times more in donations than pages without video.

Video marketing is also expensive. I mean, probably more than you would like to budget for video for your next fundraising campaign. I know. Not what you wanted to hear.

The good news is you can find ways to produce videos you can actually be proud of with your smartphone, tablet, or point-and-shoot camera IF you keep it simple.

Here are six tips to help you get in the game:

1. Keep it short
Aim to make your videos 60 seconds or less. If it’s not a professional production (and in most cases even if it is) people will not watch past 60 seconds.

2. Keep it steady
When shooting video on your smartphone, tablet, or other video-equipped device use a tripod or stabilize the video so that it does not shake. Even the slightest shake or bump can be distracting and looks amateur.

3. Keep it close
Move in close to your subject. Fill the frame with their head and shoulders. Even crop their hair slightly. This accomplishes two things. First, it creates a sense of intimacy between the subject and your audience. Second, it helps you capture the sound of their voice with much more clarity.

4. Keep it bright
Most smartphones and tablets actually have a great camera. So, your device isn’t the problem. Not enough light is the problem. Make sure you film in a room with window light and keep that light behind the camera and shining on your subject. Most indoor lighting isn’t sufficient for small cameras like the ones on your smartphone or tablet. If you can film outdoors without too much noise, do that. Daylight is best.

5. Keep it simple
Don’t attempt to put together a mini documentary. Cover footage and interviews is video production 2.0. You’re doing video production 1.0. Aim for a simple video with one interview with a person. Or, a video tour. Or, show one thing happening that is exciting. Then stop recording and upload that baby. Don’t try to over complicate it.

6. Keep it sincere
When it comes to videos in fundraising, sincerity trumps professionalism (or a lack thereof). Speak from the heart, not a cue card or rehearsed mission statement. Speak conversationally. And be sure to smile! After all, when this video is done you’ll probably be raking in four times as many donations as before.

Here are some great examples of Minnesota nonprofits producing their own videos that work well:
YouthLink’s Give to the Max Day videos
Neighborhood Development Center
Accountability Minnesota

About Jeff Achen
Jeff is the owner of CallSign51, a creative services company specializing in photography, video production, and website design. Most recently, he served as the digital strategist for from January 2010 to April 2014 and has helped hundreds of nonprofits develop their marketing and digital fundraising strategies through social media, video, and photography. He is a military veteran and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. His passion is helping mission driven organizations visually communicate their brand promise. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @jeffachen or @callsign51, or find him on LinkedIn.



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