Crafting Your Nonprofit Video Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide

The impact of visual storytelling in the nonprofit sector cannot be overstated. Video brings together elements that speak to both the heart and the mind, making your message more engaging, persuasive, and memorable.  It’s not just about presenting facts; it’s about telling stories that resonate on a human level, making complex issues more relatable and your nonprofit’s work more tangible and impactful.

This might be intuitive to understand, but data backs it up. According to Nonprofits Source, 57% of people who watch nonprofit videos go on to make a donation, and 68% of nonprofit video watchers view similar videos within 30 days.

If you’re looking to make video a part of your nonprofit’s efforts to raise funds, recruit volunteers, or just generate awareness and support for your cause, it’s essential to flesh out a solid nonprofit video strategy. In this blog post, we break it down. We’ll cover:

  1.  How to create the foundation for your nonprofit video strategy
  2.  How to create a nonprofit video
  3.  5 essential elements for success

Creating the foundation for your nonprofit video strategy

Before the creative process comes a great deal of strategic thinking. Get your key stakeholders including your communications department and nonprofit leaders together to straighten out the foundational decisions that make up your nonprofit video strategy:

1. Set a goal

Your video should have specific, measurable goals. Are you looking to raise a certain amount of funds, reach a specific number of people, or recruit volunteers? Setting these objectives at the outset will guide the production process and provide a benchmark for measuring success.

Creating a video for donor engagement? Read our blog post on it here.

2. Identify your audience

The next step in creating an effective video strategy is to clearly identify your target audience. Is your video aimed at current donors, potential volunteers, or the general public? Knowing who you are speaking to, and understanding their psychographics and demographics is crucial to determining the tone, content, and distribution channels for your video.

3. Clarify your message

What is the core message you want to convey through your video? Is it to call attention to your cause, highlight your nonprofits’ successes and efforts, or just educate the general public? Having a clear, focused message is key to creating effective video content. Try to whittle down your ideas into a sentence or two. For example, this video we made for FairTrade America (an organization that certifies that farmers and manufacturers are paid a fair price for their product), has a simple message: “Are you as fair as you think you are?”

FairTrade Viral Video Production | Rock Creek Productions (

4. Identify your distribution channels

According to Empower Agency, 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action and 59% of those people donate money. But which channels should you focus on? We say, ideally, all: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Tiktok – but we recognize that this may be complicated to execute for small teams. It’s also perfectly alright to focus your efforts on one or two channels alone.

Can nonprofits monetize video content on Youtube?

Yes, nonprofits can monetize their content on YouTube. The YouTube Nonprofit Program is designed to help nonprofits connect with supporters, volunteers, and donors through video storytelling. Learn more here. To find out if your organization is eligible, review the Google Nonprofits eligibility guidelines.

5. Determine your measurable outcomes

Many organizations measure their progress and outcomes through Key Performance Indicators – set some for your own nonprofit video strategy. Is there a certain number of likes or shares you would like to hit? Are you looking to increase volunteer sign ups? Identifying these outcomes allows you to analyze whether your videos have the impact that you desire.

How to create a nonprofit video

After thinking through the above, it’s time to get down to creating the video (or videos). Don’t worry if this seems a little overwhelming at first. Our team and video production services provide assistance at every stage of the video production process.

On a tight budget? Read this.

Step 1: Conceptualize your idea

The first step in video creation is conceptualizing an idea that aligns with your nonprofit’s mission and goals. What story do you want to tell, and what do you want your audience to feel and do after watching your video? This idea forms the foundation of your video’s narrative.

Step 2: Scriptwriting and storyboarding

It’s time to turn your idea into a logical narrative sequence. A well-constructed script and storyboard can turn this into a compelling narrative. These serve as a roadmap for your video, ensuring that every element from visuals to voiceovers works together to convey your message effectively.

Step 3: Pre-production

Pre-production includes planning the shoot schedule, ensuring all logistical aspects such as equipment, casting, crew availability, and permissions are in place. Budgeting accurately during this phase is essential to manage resources effectively. Working with a production company like Rock Creek Productions can take the headache out of this part of the process.

Step 4: Filming

The filming phase of a nonprofit video is where the plans laid out in pre-production come to life. Here’s where the cameras come out, the story is directed and the actors act.

Step 5: Post-production

The post-production phase is where your story truly comes together. Film editors focus on editing for clarity, impact, and engagement, ensuring that the final product resonates with your audience and effectively conveys your message.

5 elements for video success

Thus far, we’ve discussed the bare bones of what it takes to build out a nonprofit video marketing strategy and produce a video. Whether you’re just recruiting volunteers or creating a nonprofit fundraising video, cover the following bases to take your strategy from good to great.

1. Tailor content to platforms

Different platforms require different approaches. A video for Instagram might need to be shorter and more visually engaging, while a video for your website can be more detailed and informative. Understanding these nuances is crucial in maximizing the impact of your content.

2. Make it simple to take action

Your video should have clear and compelling calls-to-action. Whether you’re asking viewers to donate, volunteer, or simply learn more, a strong CTA is critical in converting viewers into active supporters of your cause. But what comes after the click is also important, for example, a fast-loading mobile responsive link, a smooth donation portal, a hassle-free signup form.

3. Focus on emotional engagement

The most powerful videos are those that connect emotionally with the audience. This has been true for decades. The IPA (the UK-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) analyzed 1400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns over the last thirty years. The result? Campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better (31% vs 26%) those that mixed emotional and rational content.

4. Keep it authentic

Including real-life stories, testimonials, and footage from on-the-ground operations adds authenticity and credibility to your message. These elements help to humanize your cause and appeal to your viewers. For example, this video we made for the United Way of Asheville Buncombe County features real volunteers.

United Way | Asheville Video Production | Rock Creek (

5. Maintain high production quality

With an incredible amount of tools at the disposal of amateurs, the internet is flooded with subpar videos. A well-made, professional video can give you a competitive edge over others and add to your credibility as an organization.

Partner with Rock Creek Productions for nonprofit video production in DC

Rock Creek Productions brings the technical expertise and creative insight needed to produce videos that are not only visually stunning but also strategically aligned with your nonprofit’s objectives. Have a vision? We can crystallize it. Reach out to us today!

Share This

Table of Contents

More Great Information to Check Out:

Covid-19 Safe Level A Certification We adhere to Covid-safe practices. All employee and freelance cast and crew have passed, or are required to pass prior to entry, the Safe Sets International Level A certification course.