This month’s Fundraising Magazine features an article with myself and canny lad, Stephen Noble, writing about why community fundraisers should be generating their own video content on their phones.
It’s mad that fundraisers are only starting to use their mobiles for recording their own video; but it’s not surprising. When you contend with GDPR and fundraising/communications/who does what
battles conversations, it’s easier to shove the thing back in your pocket and say, ‘nah, that’s not my job’.
But isn’t capturing, telling and sharing stories our job? Video adds depth way beyond just words and photos, and can become a powerful tool for sharing the raw, and often breathtaking, story direct from the storyteller.
Not only that, but it increases engagement. Did you know that you’re 95% more likely to remember a message from a video compared to just 10% from text? Oh, you like those numbers? How about the fact Twitter users are 120% more likely to share a video than images and text posts combined?! Mhmm, it’s that good.
But briefing, booking and reviewing professional video can be timely, costly and has the potential to miss the mark…that’s why community fundraisers need to feel empowered and supported to capture the magic as it happens with their smartphone for day to day activity. Advice on how to make this happen is included in the main article.
For now though, here’s a few ways I’ve used self-shot video in my fundraising relationships. More tips given in the main article. Perhaps you could try one and unleash your inner Spielberg?
1. Engage beyond your corporate contact
You’ve spent so long building that important relationship with your corporate contact; you may have won the pitch already (go you!), but how do you make sure the rest of the staff are as engaged so they know why they’re raising money? Or it’s over to the staff to vote, will your message have made an impact beyond that person you’ve worked with?
Video gives us a chance to reach out and personally connect with supporters when company size and/or location makes it difficult to do it in person.
When joining the BHF I inherited a partnership with a Newcastle HQ and offices scattered across the UK. To introduce myself and say thank you, I recorded a short video explaining how I was excited to work with them myself, who I was and how I could help, and what their fundraising had achieved so far.
Little tip: if you run your own social media channels for work, direct them to this in your video to keep the contact going.
Sent before an event or fundraising ask works wonders for your success rate. And if there’s nothing planned, just to let them know they’ve been noticed and appreciated has a huge impact on their experience with you (which raises more money in future).
Which leads me on to…
2. Layer your pitch
Everyone knows about “the pitch”; the chance to show your potential supporters just why you need their support, and how they’re the ones to solve the problem. You have your meetings, do your pitch and then you wait…or do you?
The corporate mentioned above were coming to the end of their partnership after three amazing years. After a few meetings and a written proposal the CEO decided that staff would have the final say on whether we extended the partnership by an extra year. I recorded a second video in a BHF lab featuring a BHF funded researcher saying, direct to camera, ‘my research is funded by people like you. Without your support I can’t continue to research. Please vote to extend our partnership and join me in saving lives’. Guess what? They did.
Because using your phone to film is so accessible and cheap, it’s easy to capture footage like this when you’re out and about to use at crucial moments. Follow up your pitch with a video reinforcing your message, saying thank you for their time or better yet, from a person their support will directly impact.
3. Show some donor love
Ok, so this is my top favourite reason for using self-shot video with supporters. Not only can I record their stories to show their voice is important and needs to be shared, but I can record myself and others from the organisation sharing enthusiastic gratitude.
They’ve heard me say thank you a hundred times (& there’ll be a million more!), but self-shot video means when I’m with researchers, our CEO, colleagues or people whose lives they’ve positively impacted, I can record their thoughts and appreciation and show supporters that we’re loving what they’re doing. What a feeling!
Ok this is a bit cringe, but here’s a thank you I recorded early in my smartphone video adventures following a pitch for a deaf-led organisation’s support. At least I hope I’m saying thank you, my BSL is very rusty (and apparently a bit ‘street’. Thanks Dan for dubbing Snoop Dogg over this…). I mustn’t have said anything bad because, they chose the BHF!
4. Show your impact
It isn’t possible to give everyone a tour, take a survivor to every meeting or in some cases, easily show where a supporter’s money will go without flying them somewhere. So how about we take the experience to them?
Self-shot video means we can easily record an interview with someone you’ve helped, the building of a new facility or the moment a puppy is rehomed (send this last one directly to me please). As community fundraisers we’re constantly in the field experiencing these moments, and to take a snippet to a supporter or share a clip online means you can bring them into your day and help them see where their donations are making a difference. Also, I need more puppy content on my timeline.
I’m very fortunate to work for an organisation that encourages its fundraisers to record their own content, and I never hesitate to capture a moment that makes me think, ‘I want our supporters to see this’.
It’s key that community fundraisers are encouraged and supported to capture and share their own video. This may mean additional training in making sure everything has the same ‘voice’ or follows the right rules, but it’s definitely worth the investment. Community fundraisers are the on-the-ground relationship builders who are meeting people, attending events and quickly become tuned in to spotting an opportunity. If they need to come back to the office, send an email, find the budget and set up the filming, you might have missed out big time.
For the full article and Stephen’s advice on when the professionals can help you out with strategy and long term goals, subscribe to Civil Society today and have a read!