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Doug Scott 15 min read

4 steps for launching a successful nonprofit video program

Nonprofit video stories captivate the hearts and minds of your donors, helping to drive meaningful results that support your cause. However, recent studies have shown that, due to increasingly shorter attention spans, audiences are more likely to engage with shorter, episodic videos, as opposed to one long piece of content. 

A nonprofit video series consists of multiple 1 to 2 minute videos that, when viewed in sequential order, help to paint a complete picture of your organization.  

Whether you’re creating a series of introductory videos from your nonprofit to the community or filming multiple videos for an upcoming virtual fundraising campaign, following these four steps will set you up for success. 

1. Narrow the focus of your video series

To get started, determine which of your nonprofit’s goals could be supported by video. For example, are you looking to raise awareness for your cause, promote an upcoming charity auction, or explain the impact that a change in legislation has on your mission? 

Additionally, consider what type of nonprofit video would best support your chosen need. The main types of nonprofit videos are: 

  • Organizational videos: An organizational video provides an overview of your nonprofit’s mission and helps to raise brand awareness. As such, it is generally the first video in a nonprofit video series and sets the tone for the remaining content. 
  • Testimonial videos: Testimonial videos provide supporters with an opportunity to see your nonprofit’s impact through the stories of individuals who have been a part of your mission. Whether you choose to amplify the voice of a beneficiary, donor, or volunteer, these videos should evoke an emotional response in viewers and help deepen their connection to your cause.
  • Explainer videos: Explainer videos take viewers on a deep dive into the specifics of your work and shine a light on complex issues. For example, if your nonprofit uses complex software to pursue your mission, you could film a tutorial of how it works.
  • Fundraising videos: Well-executed fundraising videos build your case for support and provide clear direction for current and prospective donors to give to a specific campaign. These are highly-coordinated videos that should correspond with your fundraising campaign needs. 

These videos can be combined to tell your organization’s full story, or each video can also be its own series, depending on your needs. For instance, you may choose to roll out multiple fundraising videos as your year-end campaign approaches or a series of testimonial videos, each one introducing a new supporter of your cause. 

2. Create a strategic plan for each video 

Once you have a strong idea and the right team assembled, it’s time to outline what your video series will consist of. Follow these steps to flesh out how your video will tell your nonprofit’s stories:

  • Identify your target audience. Sift through your donor database for information like demographics and engagement history to uncover trends about your target audience.
  • Set the scene. Describe where each video will take place. For example, an organizational video could be shot in front of your facility, while a testimonial could be filmed using plain backdrops to center the audience’s focus on the storyteller or presenter.  
  • Add a human interest angle. Whether you’re filming an explainer video or fundraising content, your videos should be centered around real people and their stories. Find a person or group of people impacted by your organization, whether it be a beneficiary, donor, volunteer, or board member, and show their connection to your cause.
  • Problem-solve. Introduce a quantifiable problem that your community faces and explain how your mission is a solution. For instance, you might say, “There are approximately 7,000 people suffering from homelessness in our community. That’s why we have specialized programs to provide food and shelter to those in need.”

During this process, you should also consider what the desired end result is for each video and draft clear calls-to-action that encourage viewers to act, whether that be through clicking a donation button, visiting your website for more information, or watching the next video in the series.

3. Prioritize high-quality video production

NXUnite defines nonprofit video production as the process of planning, scripting, filming, editing, and publishing video content. While anyone can take out their phone and press record, having the support of someone with video production knowledge can lead to higher quality footage and a greater chance of achieving your desired results. 

If you have the means, consider partnering with professional video experts who can help you spark change and inspire meaningful action. For the best outcome, look for a video production company that: 

  • Works specifically with nonprofits. Invest in a company that is eager to help mission-driven organizations tell their stories and is eager to empower your specific cause. 
  • Aligns with your budget. Creating video content shouldn’t be a strain on your funds. Review your budget to see if you can afford to outsource video production to a team of professionals. 
  • Specializes in diverse video content. Partner with a company that can create any type of video you need. 

When given the appropriate attention, a nonprofit video series can help you build meaningful relationships with viewers, reach your fundraising goals, and increase traffic to your key engagement pages. 

4. Leverage multichannel marketing

Once your video series is filmed, produced, and edited, it’s time to push it live. Tectonic Video’s guide to video marketing suggests that nonprofits publish their video content on Vimeo or Youtube, as these platforms provide built-in tools for tracking engagement. Then, share the link across multiple marketing channels like:

  • Email: Incorporating video into your email marketing strategy can lead to higher open and click-through rates. Ensure your email doesn’t fall into the trash folder by using a compelling subject line like, “Watch this video message from our nonprofit CEO.” Then, include other important information and resources to go along with the video, such as a link to your donation page or the dates of your upcoming events.  
  • Social media: Splice your videos down into short clips and post them as teasers on TikTok and Instagram. Include the link to the full video in your caption or bio and use hashtags to encourage supporters to share the content with their own networks.
  • Website: Embed videos across relevant pages on your nonprofit’s website to increase the amount of time users spend engaging with your content. For instance, an organizational video should be housed on your homepage to introduce users to your organization, while testimonial videos should go on your services page to draw people into your programs and initiatives. 

With multiple touchpoints, you increase your chances of reaching your target

audience on their preferred platform and persuading them to support your cause. Plus, each channel provides analytics that help measure success and guide your future video series in the right direction. For instance, by tracking open rates on emails that contain video content, you can identify your most engaged viewers and target them with additional messaging.



Now that you know the steps involved in launching a nonprofit video series, it’s time to create your own video content! Whether you partner with an experienced production team or oversee the process yourself, remember to track video engagement and make improvements that help advance your mission. 


Doug Scott

Doug is the Founder & CEO of Tectonic Video. He has more than 20 years of nonprofit communications experience as a filmmaker, communications director, chief marketing officer and leader of two creative agencies for nonprofits. Doug is a global citizen having traveled to more than 50 countries. He earned his B.A. in Strategic Communications from DePaul University, and he's a frequent guest lecturer at Stanford University on topics related to nonprofit storytelling and storytelling ethics.