not-for-profits volunteers during a food drive

How Not-for-Profits Can Use Video to Increase Awareness and Donations

Online content has provided a huge opportunity for America’s not-for-profit organizations to have access to the public. However, these organizations must evolve with online content consumption trends. Specifically, they must use video to increase awareness and donations. A recent Forbes article noted that nearly all consumers (96%) have increased their video consumption over the past year. This is not surprising in lieu of the pandemic. However, the new normal remains a changed marketing landscape where shopping and information gathering occur from the comfort of home. 

This suppresses many in-person opportunities for the not-for-profit. Fundraisers and other public events remain postponed or canceled. In an effort to survive, some fundraisers have gone virtual, but a Zoom fundraiser doesn’t create the same appeal for donations. In order to succeed, not-for-profits must embrace video marketing trends. 

How Not-for-Profits Can Use Video to Increase Awareness and Donations


With limited in-person contacts, explainer videos fill the gaps in connections between not-for-profits and their supporters. This video is your website’s “About” page on steroids. It explains what your not-for-profit does in an easily digestible format that emotionally appeals to the viewer. An excellent explainer video might use infographics to demonstrate a problem followed by real people solving it. The viewer is able to quickly see the benefit of the organization and discovers how they can contribute to the solution. has a compelling explainer video on YouTube that highlights how influential this content can be for an organization with a clear mission. 

Behind the Scenes

There are a lot of metaphorical blood, sweat, and tears in any non-profit organization. In some cases, they aren’t metaphorical. But video audiences remain skeptical of dramatized pictures created for the obvious purpose of increasing donor bases. A behind-the-scenes video can add credence to the hard work and struggle that the not-for-profit endures for the cause. The Virginia Red Cross has a great behind-the-scenes video of how volunteers are trained. The personal interviews with volunteers reveal the passion they have for helping others. 

Meet the Team

Since many people are unsure exactly of involvement in a not-for-profit, their uncertainty can be absolved with a meet-the-team video. In sentiment, this is similar to a behind-the-scenes video, as it provides transparency and builds trust for the viewer. It is also an opportunity to introduce team members who are especially passionate or charismatic. Thus, the viewer gets a feel for the “heart” behind the organization. St. Vincent de Paul has a meet-the-team video that shows how its individual team members have experienced the benefit of their services. 

User-Generated Content

An increasing number of consumers are looking at user-generated content (UGC) to form opinions about their product, and this can impact not-for-profits significantly. An outsider’s view remains more objective. As such, people trust UGC, and it can be leveraged to benefit the not-for-profit entity. How does a person leverage UGC? It’s a lot like using the review process to build confidence in a purchase. Encourage or curate UGC that shows the impact of your not-for-profit. Make sure to link this content on your website and on 3rd-party platforms. Of course, UGC can be negative, but a thriving not-for-profit is more likely to generate positive content that builds trust in the organization. 


Testimonials and UGC are sometimes interchangeable because they are created by people who’ve interacted with the not-for-profit and felt compelled to share their experience. However, organizations encourage testimonials and post them on its website. The traditional reviews and testimonials are more impactful when they are in video format. This is because the viewer can see the person claiming a quality experience as opposed to wondering whether it was generated by the organization itself. Once again, video content leads to believability. 

Short Films

Short films or documentaries can take a larger amount of time and money, but they can also lead to a bigger return on investment. This is because digital storytelling uses images, speech, and music to create emotion and motivate viewers. It provides the resources necessary to paint a complete picture of the problem and the solution provided by the non-profit. Sometimes, it is simply informative with the not-for-profit simply listed as the source of production. In either case, it shows that the organization is willing to invest energy into its mission and give it the attention necessary to instigate change. 

The Benefits of Video for Not-for-Profit Organizations

donations generated by not-for-profits marketing efforts.
Girl holding smart phone with donation concept on screen.

The benefits of video for not-for-profit organizations are growing, as the world continues to consume more video than any other form of content. This doesn’t mean your other digital content is without value, but you are missing out on your complete donor base if you aren’t creating video content as well. Some benefits of video content production include: 

  • Increasing interest: Viewers are more interested in donations and participation when they can literally see the results. This doesn’t happen with long-form content and isn’t as effective with photos. With video content, the viewer gets to see the problem and the solution in action. 
  • Transparency: The public is skeptical of some not-for-profits. The “few bad apples spoil the bunch” has not come to fruition yet (pun intended). However, some highly publicized cases of fraud have not escaped the average person’s perception. Further, the transparency provided through video simply eases the road to the donation of time or money. The viewer has an easier path to conversion without skepticism or doubt about the true nature of your organization. 
  • CTA: Opportunities for a call-to-action (CTA) are valuable, which makes every piece of content produced on a website or 3rd-party site a good investment. Each video should, at the very least, end with a CTA, so your viewers know how they can help or contribute. 

Working With a Video Production Company to Improve a Not-for-Profits’s Awareness and Donations

Some not-for-profit organizations worry that creating video content takes away from their mission-oriented actions. Firstly, anything that draws donations and awareness to your organization is mission-oriented, but the concern is understandable. That is why it is important for not-for-profits to work with a video production company. 

Working with professionals saves time and money, but it also produces better content. This means your videos will be more effective at spreading awareness and gaining donations. It also means it won’t take time away from the mission or solving problems. Video content production should always take into account the needs of the organization, so it will improve the outcomes of the mission above everything else.