It can be difficult to infuse humor into your marketing and video content, especially if your cause is a serious one. However, it’s not an impossible task, and humor can help elevate your marketing to the next level when used correctly. It can demonstrate to the public that your organization has a relatable personality that supporters can forge a personal connection with.
Below, we rounded up five funny nonprofit marketing videos along with some takeaways about why we like each one. Use them as inspiration for your own funny videos, or to infuse humor into parts of your fundraising campaigns, social media posts, stories, and more.
1. Coldplay’s Game of Thrones: The Musical—Comic Relief USA
Comic Relief USA makes positive change in the world through the use of entertainment and humor, which they carry over into their fundraising campaign Red Nose Day. The campaign benefits children and young people dealing with poverty across all 50 states and in 34 countries: since launching in 1988 Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion.
For their video here, Comic Relief USA secured powerhouse partnerships with Coldplay and the cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Together, they filmed a humorous mockumentary video—narrated by Liam Neeson—about Coldplay’s journey to create a fictitious Game of Thrones themed musical. It can be difficult for every nonprofit to lock down partners of this caliber, but it’s still a strong showing of how much partnering with the right individuals can elevate your message.
Comic Relief USA realizes that this A-list talent, paired with a long runtime on their video, could potentially overshadow the campaign’s message though. Not to mention, people may get so swept up they forget to donate. To that end, they begin their 12-minute video with a strong appeal for viewers to donate before it begins. Then, at the end, they close with a heartfelt message from Coldplay making one final ask to support.
2. Official Furkids Kitty Kommercial—FurKids Animal Rescue & Shelters
“Has your goldfish lost its novelty? Do potted plants not excite you like they used to?”
This is the opening line for FurKids’ video, and it immediately paints a picture of old infomercials mixed with a hint of cheesy used car salesman. But we can’t hate, because it instantly grabs your attention. In fact, it’s grabbed the attention of over 5.5 million viewers since it was first published on YouTube.
One reason this video is a fan favorite for a lot of us here at Classy is because it features a member of their supporter community. A FurKids volunteer suggested that her brother Paul Preston, the young man “selling” these cats, help create this viral video and stand in as the featured actor. The organization went out on a limb to trust their supporters to create content that’s on-brand with their nonprofit.
Last, Atlanta’s largest cage-free and no-kill shelter proves to us that you don’t always need to shell out cash for a professional production and video team to make a wildly successful marketing video. What you really need, above all else, are passionate, dedicated people who care about your mission, mixed with a splash of humor.
3. Follow the Frog—Rainforest Alliance
Since 1987, the Rainforest Alliance has built a global community of individuals dedicated to protecting the world’s forests. It’s a very straightforward mission, but at the same time it’s a mission that can sometimes feel disconnected from our daily lives. That is, many people don’t get to touch, smell, or see the rainforest—it’s not always tangible.
What we love about their Follow the Frog video is that it connects people directly to these forests. They call out that most of us want to help, but likely won’t drop everything in our lives to go to the front lines in the rainforest and work to change things. That’s only half of the equation though, which is why the end of their marketing video is so important.
They wrap everything up by bringing it back to all of us sitting at our desks and show how we can take action. They flip through various places and products where their frog logo lives, and explain that simply by purchasing Rainforest Alliance products with this logo will help make an impact today.
4. Malarious—Malaria No More
In 2012, Malaria No More teamed up with CollegeHumor to create a series of videos, featuring various celebrities, called Malarious. The aim was to raise money and awareness for Malaria No More, and to make sure their campaign started off with a bang they launched on World Mosquito Day. Using cause-focused days like this to kick off your own campaign can help drive both excitement and donations for your message.
Beyond leveraging World Mosquito Day, what we love is how simple their ask to donate is. Pasted across almost all of their marketing videos and collateral was this paragraph:
30 celebrities. 24 videos. One cause. Millions of stupid, awful, disgusting mosquitoes. Pay a dollar, five dollars, or whatever you want, and watch these comedy stars do awesome things to help squash this awful disease.
Additionally, they let the celebrities create their own humorous videos that fall under the umbrella of the campaign Malarious campaign. For example, they filmed Rainn Wilson as he discussed Facebook posts in-character as Dwight Schrute from The Office. The Malarious videos can still be found on YouTube if you’d like to explore more of them.
5. Coal Will Say Anything—The Sierra Club
With over 3.5 million members, The Sierra Club is one of the largest grassroots organizations in America. To that end, it’s very important they maintain a consistent and visible marketing presence to keep their massive community engaged and invested in their mission. So, they decided to release a series of videos called Coal Will Say Anything to show how the coal industry speaks with consumers across the world.
The funny video here is a golden example of how a humor in your marketing can help lighten a sometimes dark message. In this case, the message is that coal is hurting our planet far more than coal companies are willing to let on.
Harping on the negative elements of a message can sometimes discourage people from donating, which is why The Sierra Club also chooses to end on an uplifting note: “Let’s move beyond coal.” It reinforces the more important message they’re trying to get across here: together, with a little laugher and hope, we can make a change that helps our world instead of hurting it.
Funny and humorous marketing isn’t always easy to master, but it can go a long way toward educating and engaging the public in your work. As you and your team move forward, remember to have fun with whatever kind of funny video, or other asset, you decide to make. When you have fun making it, your audience will have fun watching it. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any other favorites we missed.