6 Nonprofit Video Marketing Trends and Tips to Guide Your Online Strategy

6 min
recording a nonprofit video on a cell phone
Hannah Durbin

Nonprofit video is an ever-evolving marketing method, but remaining well-informed on the latest industry best practices gives your organization a major advantage. 

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased nonprofits’ reliance on video marketing in order to keep donors engaged during uncertain times, but when the shelter-in-place order was lifted, the focus on digital tools didn’t diminish. Instead, nonprofit video only continued to climb in popularity and organizations began doubling down on their video strategies. 

To help your nonprofit create and deliver compelling videos, we’ve broken down the main findings from the Wistia 2021 State of Video Report and Tectonic How the Pandemic Changed Nonprofit Video Forever report into quick tips and tangible takeaways. Use these insights to confidently inform your marketing processes, expand your reach, and better engage your community online. 

3 Nonprofit Video Marketing Trends to Note

1. The biggest increase in nonprofit social media videos happened on Facebook

Nonprofits produced significantly more social media videos in 2020 than in 2019, with Facebook experiencing the largest increase of over 60% more video content

nonprofit video metrics

In addition to the hunger for more video content, the COVID-19 pandemic also affected the type of content users are most interested in. Videos that showcase creativity and entertainment have proven to be the most popular. Brief and educational videos have shown to engage larger audiences as well. 

Learn the Science Behind Effective Nonprofit Videos

Livestrong posted a Facebook video during the shelter-in-place order about the ways their organization supports cancer survivors during a pandemic and beyond, and its powerful message drove more than 33,000 views. Take a look.

Takeaway: Although each social media channel’s algorithm is unique, they all prioritize engagement over everything else. To help boost your content’s visibility, spark conversation, and get people talking, focus on the timeliness of your video topic. 

Elevate Your Social Media Strategy With This Content Planner

2. Livestreaming exploded in popularity and is now the dominant form of video content

Livestreaming on social media quickly became the standard for nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic, and donors loved it. Of the top 100 most engaging video posts on Facebook in 2020, 51 were livestreams

People were actively seeking a sense of connection through virtual gatherings during the pandemic, but Facebook’s algorithm also played a role in this spike. Live content is pushed higher up on a viewers newsfeed, ultimately attracting more engagement. 

The video streaming market is projected to hit $184.3 billion by 2027, so it’s time to lock down your strategy. Here are a few simple best practices for your next livestream fundraising video: 

  • Use a script to communicate with your audience 
  • Have a plan for transitions between content and speakers to avoid periods of silence
  • In addition to soliciting donations and reminding viewers of the donate button on your livestream, ask them questions that they can answer in the chat box
  • Announce when you’ll be going live through your regular social media posts and other marketing channels 
  • Reuse your live video recording as on-demand content for the future

For more tips and tactics on how to livestream like a pro and raise more money for your mission, you’ll want to give this post a read next. 

Livestream Fundraising: What It Is and How to Do It

Takeaway: Poor visuals and audio for a livestream video can substantially decrease engagement. Upscale your video by upgrading to a professional microphone, investing in a high-quality webcam, and adjusting your lighting

3. Production value does not determine engagement levels

The majority of the most engaging videos in 2020 were first-person, unscripted, single-take videos. This is great news for nonprofits with tight budgets or small teams seeing as though polished brand advertisements can involve professional lighting, sets, script writers, and more. 

The low production value of a smartphone video opens the door to ample marketing opportunities for nonprofits of any size. You can engage supporters who are more interested in your homegrown content with an authentic feel. 

World Central Kitchen posted a recent Instagram video from Ahrweiler, Germany where residents are starting to clean up after the major summer floods. This video’s authentic feel drew in over 16,000 views in 24 hours. 

Takeaway: Creativity and powerful storytelling are the real drivers of effective nonprofit videos, so make sure to spend just as much time crafting your message and choosing the right music as you do filming.

3 Ways to Elevate Your Nonprofit Video Marketing Strategy

1. Experiment with long-form video

Short-form videos have accumulated the majority of total volume on Wistia over the course of five years, but long-form videos in the 30 to 60 minute category have shown steady growth since 2016 and only continue to climb in popularity. Long-form videos in 2020 grew 140% compared to 2019 and 446% compared to 2016.  

To optimize your video, take the time to consider SEO opportunities. Be sure to use targeted keywords in your titles, meta data, and meta descriptions. This can help engage new and existing supporters while also driving qualified leads to your website. 

Takeaway: Be intentional with the content you include in your long-form video to ensure that it’s conversational, engaging, on-brand, and value-packed.  

 2. Adjust your engagement goal based on the type and length of your video

Engagement rates for a 30-second video will naturally surpass those of a 30-minute video, so make sure to map your long-form video engagement benchmarks accordingly. Wistia’s 2021 State of Video Report recommends a 25% engagement benchmark for videos falling within the 30-60 minute category, and about 15% for videos running longer than one hour. 

Takeaway: Each video type serves a purpose, so start by identifying your benchmark goals and then allow that to steer your decision-making for the length of your video. 

3. Include email capture in your video to drive conversion

The end-goal of any nonprofit is to engage and convert supporters. To ensure your videos are contributing to that goal, include email capture as a way to collect donor information and elevate your donor acquisition strategy. 

Email collection in video is the most successful at generating engagement and leads. In fact, email capture on Wistia had a 15% conversion rate in 2020. Check out our example to see this strategy in action.

Takeaway: Consider placing your email capture feature in the beginning of your video. In 2020, videos that included a conversion element placed at the beginning had the highest success rate of 12.7%.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

Just like any other trend, nonprofit video will continue to change as our world progresses. To keep your nonprofit at the top of donor newsfeeds, consider these key findings and recommended best practices as your team brainstorms its next social media post or video marketing campaign.

For more content marketing tips and insight on how to become an expert storyteller, register for the 2021 Collaborative to watch this full recorded session and more than 50 others discussing topics like fundraising, marketing, leadership, technology, and more. 

Register for Collaborative 2021 Session Recordings

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