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Is video for you? 3 things to consider

David: This is the 14th episode of Nonprofit Video Comms. This show is to help your small nonprofit with video marketing so that you can be seen, get funded and be more helpful to more people. My name is David.


How do you know if video is right for you and your organization? you know that you want video. You know there's something about it. You've observed your peers, other people on social media, other organizations have some form of success with videos. And I've heard from a few people various reasons to want video. I remember one nonprofit consultant saying she has never felt quite like her photos and text ever really told her story. That's one reason. other reasons I've heard is “there's so much happening inside our building that if only the public could see it in action, it would change their mind about our services.” That's another very valid reason. Some people just believe video would do their story more justice. That's not always a good enough reason to go through the process of hiring and making video though.

Other than telling your story, I think you should consider things like how does it move your audience towards you or towards action? How does it do work for you, like proper marketing should do? How does it keep serving you in the long term instead of just being posted and enjoyed for a few days?

Three things to consider

Here are three things to consider if you're thinking about whether or not video is for you. Of course, I could give you 10 or 20 things, but three for today.

Stories don’t solve big marketing problems

The first one is if you are a small nonprofit and you for one reason or another, believe that a branding video will solve some big things, will raise awareness, will make you into a household name, will encourage people to donate, I think you need to stop there. video itself , after it's produced, after it's edited, after it's been revised, and then it's been launched and posted and liked by all your staff and your partners and your sponsors for those few days... and it ends there. I can promise you that is an expensive letdown. If you believe that “if only we had a brand story video, this will solve big things.” Then the process of video may not be for you. That is a gamble, and I never recommend that small nonprofits gamble do not gamble your money. Do not gamble your time. Do not gamble your emotions. It is a weird, hype thing that collectively, agencies and media are making us believe that videos all you need is a video and it'll solve your things. It will not.

So if that didn't break your heart yet, follow me to point number two.

Slow, simple marketing works

If you are a small nonprofit and you believe that a slow rollout, a slow buildup is within your capacity, kind of like all your other collateral and materials, your website, your brochures, then video is for you. It is strategic. It is a process of iteration and testing, it is less risky. Instead of putting all your belief into high production and a story video, instead, you put all your belief in a home made lower expectation, but a diligence and a commitment to doing it often, doing it regularly, doing it more simply that success will come. And that success might look like: someone who registers says, “hey, I saw your video” and you write that down. The next little success is “your video helped me to realize your program would be a great fit for my grandfather.” It starts with one, then two, then 10, then 20. And at the end of the year, you have results to show for your simple, slow and very warm, authentic video rollout.

The true power of video is in cloning yourself

The third thing to consider is the true power of video is not in the video itself. It does nothing. Nobody wants more stuff to watch. The true power in video is not in entertaining people or pulling heartstrings — I mean, those things can happen, but you're not in the film industry. You're not an entertainer. You're in the business, you're in the service of people and being helpful — the true power is in cloning yourself, in cloning your organization, in showing up as a guide or a helper in all the surprising little places that your audience hangs out. Showing up and saying, “here's what you were wondering and here's the answer and here's how to get where you need to go.”

The true power of video is also that it has a human element. It has movement. It has a voice. It offers you a sneak preview or a window into the organization, into the person that's going to help you. It ultimately reduces uncertainty.

Analogy — a therapist

If you are looking for a therapist and you watch the video of them in the office, you are definitely wondering, “is that the chair I'm going to sit in? That's a pretty nice chair!” This is what moves you and inches you forward towards calling that therapist clinic.


So if showing up regularly as a person in the simple, surprising little ways that people need you, then maybe video is for you. Wowing, people and entertaining people is reserved for people with maybe an entertaining brand or a budget for advertising and people who are capable of risk people who are willing to gamble like that. So once again, three things to consider. First, if you are a small nonprofit and you believe that a brand video will solve big things, please stop. Reconsider. I want you to save your hard-earned budget. Number two, if you believe in slow, more holistic rollout of all of your marketing, including video, maybe video is for you. And third, ditch the idea that video itself does anything. The real power in serving people and growing your organization is video as guides, video as clones, videos doing work for your organization while you sleep. If that sounds reasonable to you, you might have a fighting chance at video marketing.

Thanks for listening to the 14th episode. My name is David Phu. P-H-U. I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn. Visit my website and check out the free resources. And we will also start offering training. And of course, as always, we have full service video production.

Take care until next time. Bye.


Learn about our services at Nonprofit Video Comms or follow David on LinkedIn.

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