If your non-profit organization wants to get started with video, there are many resources available online to help you. This introduction gives you the background you need to learn more.

There are many phases to a video production. However, here are five important steps to take when setting out to complete your first video:

  1. Planning
  2. Audience Selection
  3. Production
  4. Distribution
  5. Analysis


One of the first things to do with a video is to define the objective. More donations, more volunteers, and explaining how to donate to the charity are all worthy goals. Telling the story of one of the people or places you have helped can be effective, too. Showing your viewers exactly what can be done with their help is also a proven strategy. Videos are excellent vehicles for telling a story. If your non-profit has a compelling story that can be directly tied to your goals, you may have struck gold.

The planning stage is where to decide what “success” for this video will look like. For example, do you want 50,000 more Facebook likes, or $5000 extra in donations? By establishing a baseline and communicating these objectives with all stakeholders, you have the ability to identify return on investment.


Make your videos laser-targeted to specific online groups. Make sure you have some data on your members and identify the groups you’d like to reach. Video experts report that far too many videos are simply too generic. If your audience does not think you are talking directly and specifically to them, they will not share or talk about your video.


Keep videos short. Two minutes or less is enough time to convey a message or tell a story. Your team may have to record nearly two hours of material (or more) in order to come up with two minutes of a final product. While your production does not have to be Hollywood quality, it is essential that the subject of the film be easy to see and easy to hear. When you have your recorded material, prepare it so that users can link to it, share it or play it without any technical issues.


Now that you have the video, get the word out. Videos can be embedded or linked to in email blasts, within blog posts, and on the homepage of your website. They should also be posted to your YouTube account and on your other social media pages. YouTube even allows you to embed a “donate now” button next to your video. To gain even more exposure, consider submitting your video to the DoGooder Awards, an annual contest of non-profit videos.


You will need some tracking set up to have hard numbers on the results. The Viral Ad Network can help, but there are plenty of other traffic tracking tools including Google Analytics. Even tracking your YouTube views and traffic to your own website is enough to know if the video has made an impact. Of course, you also want to keep tabs on how well you have progressed toward the goal of the video. Do not give up – some videos are sleepers for a few months, and then suddenly get a blast of traffic.

If all that seems like too much, you can partner with a commercial venture. This is called “seeding“. The idea is to spread small bits of content around the web like seeds and see which ones take off. Starbucks has created hundreds of videos for causes that might never have gotten off the ground if it were not for the support of the coffee giant.