How Nonprofits Can Use Video to Engage Supporters During a Crisis

With the spread of COVID-19, businesses and nonprofits around the world are forced to change the way we communicate during a crisis

This poses an existential risk for nonprofits who rely on galas and other in-person events to fuel our organizations.

Nonprofits depend on emotional appeal. We need our donors to feel connected to our missions. We need the people we serve to trust us. We need our employees to continue to give it their all. 

While the situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) restricts our ability to meet face-to-face, there are still powerful ways to engage our communities online by using video. Let’s explore some of the options you have to use video to keep your community connected and your donors motivated.

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6 ways your nonprofit can use video right now

1. Video updates from the Executive Director or CEO

As we continue to cope with the coronavirus crisis, people aren’t just worried for themselves and their families. We’re also concerned about the charities and local organizations we care about. What will happen to the people and causes we support?

Have your organization’s Executive Director or CEO record a video to share the state of affairs. A video is more powerful than text because it conveys emotion, trust, and nonverbal cues that build empathy with your audience. 

Don’t worry if the video is not “professional.” As a world, we are going through a universal shared experience. Your CEO or Executive Director recording a video from their home is relatable and compelling. 

In the video, consider including:

  • The challenges you are facing now
  • How you are adapting to the current situation
  • How viewers can support your cause at this time

Here is a great video example from Amy Nelson, CEO of Venture for America. 

2. Videos from board members

Videos are really powerful when they come from someone you know. Encourage your board members to make personal videos they can share across their own networks. 

In their own words, they can say:

  • Why the organization is meaningful to them
  • What the current situation is
  • How their friends can help the cause right now

If you had a spring event that was moved online, you can use these videos as personal invitations to the virtual event. 

3. Videos for new clients

With all that’s happening, there may be new people that need assistance from your organization. It is important that they know how you can help, and that they’re able to trust you. Use video as an opportunity to share your mission and showcase the human culture behind your organization. 

You can send out videos on behalf of the organization as a whole, or from individuals who are offering their time and resources.

View a sample Sendspark video from a volunteer from RXR Realty  

4. Stories from clients

The most powerful stories come from the people who benefit from your organization. While normally, you might ask a client to speak at your event, now you can capture their story by video to share with your supporters. 

To get the videos, you can use a service like Sendspark to easily request videos from clients. The videos will automatically upload to you for you to use in your social media or email communication. 

Note: Depending on the client population you serve, asking for client stories could be a sensitive issue, so if necessary, be sure to work directly with program staff to facilitate the request in a way that is respectful and safe for the client. 

5. Thank you videos for donors 

Show that you care about your supporters with personalized thank you videos. In the current times of social distancing, a personal message means so much more. These videos will generate social shares and build loyalty that will sustain you in the future.

example nonprofit video to engage donors
Here’s an example of a thank you video embedded into an email.

Depending on the volume of donations, you can either record a video for each donor, or create one video that automatically sends in an event-triggered email each time someone donates. 

6. Share resources to help your community

With new information coming out every day, help your community to learn what they need to stay healthy and safe with bite-sized videos. Share your knowledge to continue helping from home. Depending on your organization’s mission, you could share content related to:

  • Safety guidelines
  • How your community can access resources they need
  • How to access government grants and loans
  • Content you would usually teach at in-person workshops

Getting started with video 

You can start recording and sharing videos from your home-quarantine with just your webcam or mobile device. Sendspark is designed for nonprofit organizations to easily create videos for their communities in just minutes, without any video experience needed. 

With Sendspark, you can record videos yourself or request them from clients or board members, add donation buttons below your videos, and easily share them on social media and email using Constant Contact. Get started with Sendspark for free during COVID-19

Remember, video will outlast this pandemic 

This is a difficult time to be running a business or nonprofit organization. We don’t know what the next few months hold.

But as we’re forced to adapt, innovate, and bridge physical distance, we know the changes we make will continue to be relevant long after COVID-19 passes. The new strategies we implement to survive right now will enable us to excel in the years to come. 

More resources for nonprofits

Article: Crisis Communication Tips for Nonprofits Dealing with COVID-19
Some guidelines that will help you steer your nonprofit’s communication through this crisis, based on Constant Contact’s Senior Content Manager’s experience leading marketing and communications for a community services nonprofit in Manhattan.

Nonprofits and Coronavirus, COVID-19
Guidance from the National Council of Nonprofits, with steps that nonprofits can take to protect their clients, staff, and volunteers.

CDC Guidance for Schools and Community Locations
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on keeping the community you serve safe.

Fundraising on Facebook
Answers to your questions about fundraising on Facebook from their Help Center

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