Fundraising events are essential to your organization’s success, as they inspire donors, volunteers, and supporters to become active participants in your cause. However, getting the word out and attracting attendees can be a challenge. That’s where video storytelling comes into play.
By leveraging video as part of your event marketing strategy, you can connect with viewers on a deeper level and get them excited about upcoming events, ultimately leading to higher event attendance and increased support for your mission.
In this guide, we’ll explore five best practices for using video to promote nonprofit events. Whether you’re hosting an online auction, educational seminar, or major donor meeting, refer to these tools to create content that resonates with your audience and helps you achieve your goals.
1. Start with a hook.
Studies show that, after the first 10 seconds of a video, engagement drops significantly, so it’s important to make the most of this time. Lead with a compelling hook that grabs your audience’s attention and encourages them to keep watching.
How you structure your hook will depend on your specific event, vision, and intended audience. However, here are some effective strategies:
- Begin with an emotional appeal that captures the heart of your mission. For example, if you’re working to provide education to disadvantaged children, you could introduce a beneficiary who received a high school degree due in part to your efforts.
- Lead with a dramatic or engaging opening shot that draws the viewer in and creates curiosity. For instance, an animal shelter might narrow in on a puppy’s somber-looking eyes in the opening shot of their video.
- Add suspense through music that starts out soft and gradually reaches a crescendo as the video highlights your upcoming event.
- Use a voiceover or on-screen text to pose a thought-provoking question or statement that encourages the viewer to continue watching. For example, an organization aimed at fighting food insecurity might lead with, “Did you know that 34 million Americans go hungry per year?”
In addition to being attention-grabbing, memorable, and relevant, a good hook should set the tone for the rest of your video, so remember to be consistent. If you begin your video by introducing a beneficiary, continue their story throughout the film, making sure to connect it back to your event. Or, if you lead with a compelling question, answer it by the time the video ends.
2. Highlight the event’s purpose.
Convey the purpose of your event and explain why viewers should attend by answering the following questions:
- What is your goal? Get specific about the type of event you’re hosting. For instance, if your nonprofit is hosting an event as part of your capital campaign, you might explain that you’re looking to raise $100,000 to support the construction of a new facility. Or, if you’re hosting a donor appreciation event, you could describe the desire to foster a sense of community and belonging among supporters.
- Who are your intended beneficiaries? If you haven’t already, introduce your beneficiaries and tell their stories. Then, describe how attending the event will support them. For instance, a homeless shelter might state, “By attending our live auction, you can help raise awareness and funds for those suffering from homelessness.”
- When and where is the event?Provide details about the event itself, listing the date, time, and location. Be sure to include the year, so viewers in the future know that the campaign is not currently taking place.
- How can people register or get involved? Give clear instructions on how viewers can get involved with your event, whether that be through filling out a registration form, donating, or volunteering.
- Why should people care? Highlight the importance of your cause and the impact that the event will have in achieving your mission. This can be accomplished through interviews with key members, testimonials from past participants or beneficiaries, and visuals that show the work being done by your nonprofit.
Prepare to answer these questions quickly, as the recommended length for a nonprofit event video is between 2 to 3 minutes. Keep your message concise to communicate your event’s purpose and goals in an impactful way.
3. Showcase previous events.
People are more likely to attend an event if they have seen that it was successful in the past, so showcase your past gatherings!
For instance, let’s say you host an annual golf outing as part of your major gift program and you’re filming content to promote the event. Feature footage of smiling golfers and testimonials from previous participants, focusing on their positive experiences. This will give new potential attendees a sense of what to expect from the event, as well as build credibility for your nonprofit’s cause.
Additionally, you could highlight previous event outcomes, such as the amount of money raised or the number of people helped. These details demonstrate the value of supporting the event to potential attendees and sponsors.
4. Include a call to action.
Videos that include calls to action (CTAs) have 80% higher conversions. If you want to see the same results and convert your viewers into attendees, encourage them to take a specific action after watching the video.
To naturally incorporate CTAs throughout your nonprofit event video, consider:
- Including a voiceover from your narrator asking viewers to follow the link in the description to your event registration or volunteer sign-up form.
- Adding on-screen text to your video explaining how viewers can support your event, whether that be through their donation or attendance.
- Embedding a button into the final scene of your video that links to an event registration form or another online resource.
Keep in mind that a CTA should instill urgency in the viewer, inspiring them to support your event immediately. Use terms like “register today” or “act now” to convey the action the audience needs to take in a few words.
5. Leverage multichannel marketing.
When it comes time to promote and distribute your nonprofit event video, Tectonic Video suggests publishing it on YouTube or Vimeo, as these platforms have built-in tools for tracking engagement. Then, use multichannel marketing to reach as many supporters as possible through the following channels:
- Print: Sharing a video through direct mail may seem impossible–but not with QR codes! Transform the video link into a QR code and add it to save-the-date cards and personalized invitations with clear instructions, such as “Scan this code with your mobile device to watch our promo video.”
- Email: Email is an inexpensive and easy way to share video content with your entire mailing list. Encourage recipients to open the email and click through to your video with an eye-catching subject line like “Watch this video to get an exclusive look at our upcoming event.”
- Social media: If you’re looking to reach a wider audience, turn to social media. NXUnite’s guide to nonprofit influencers suggests reaching out to industry leaders who have a large following and asking them to like and share your event-related video content. This will boost your visibility.
- Website: Embedding videos across your nonprofit website increases the time that users spend interacting with event-related content. Include the video on key landing pages, such as your event registration form and campaign page.
Analyze the performance of your video on each of these channels and adjust your promotion strategy accordingly. For example, if your email click-through rate is low, consider reworking your subject line or CTA.
A final note about nonprofit event videos
Video has the power to inspire viewers to take action, raise awareness for your cause, and drive event attendance. To ensure that your content is as effective as possible, it can be useful to work with a nonprofit video production company that specializes in conceptualizing, scriptwriting, filming, and editing event-related videos. With professional guidance, you can take your event videos to the next level and maximize your message’s impact.