Too many people want a fundraising video.

Not enough people want a fundraising video that works.

What does it mean when a fundraising video works? Does that mean “raising awareness” or getting your cause “out there”? Trying to “engage and empower” your constituents?

Nope. Fundraising videos are about getting donations. And they should be one of the most precise, powerful calls-to-action in your fundraising toolkit.

What Do You Want to Happen After Your Video Plays?

This is the most important question, probably.

Your video (and any marketing, blogging and interaction) has real consequences. They take time and energy to execute. If you’re going to justify the time and money it takes to create a video, it has to deliver something of value.

It could raise you money. Or it could be liked on Facebook. It might provoke a smile or a conversation.

This video made me feel clever and taught me what “Follow the Frog” means. It also won an award:

The Follow the Frog video is genuinely enjoyable, and the artists involved must be quite talented.What it didn’t do is make me care more about the deforestation.

A video like the one above can certainly raise awareness on a broad scale, which might lead to donations. But awareness isn’t the fastest route to raising money. Caring about something on an emotional level is what usually provokes generosity, not just knowing about it.

I’d argue that if your nonprofit is doing work that matters, is changing lives and making a positive dent in the universe, your fundraising video’s goal should be to raise money.

No, actually, you have an obligation to raise money with your fundraising video. Your cause matters too much to squander your time, or your constituents’.

12 Questions to Keep Your Fundraising Video Grounded

Imagine that someone just watched your fundraising video.

  • Where are they? Are they sitting? Standing at a rally? At a luncheon? An auction?
  • Are they staring at a computer screen? Their smartphone?
  • Who are they? How did they get here and why?
  • Are they alone or part of a crowd?
  • Are their eyes wet?
  • What context did you give the video before they watched it?
  • What are they doing now? Is it what they would have done otherwise?
  • Who will they share it with?
  • What did you ask of them?
  • Do they remember you tomorrow?
  • Did you make a difference?
  • Will they make one?

You can’t just put a fundraising video “out there.” It’s actually impossible. It happens to a specific person in a specific context.

Your video has the power to get people to take a specific action. To use their money to participate in something bigger than themselves.

Your fundraising video’s new goal: Get them to care. Show your donors that action is necessary. Not just any action—THEIR action.

Then, call them to it.