Ep109: How Nonprofits Can Raise Money, Awareness with Online Videos

raise money with online video

Today on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to Michael Hoffman, CEO of See3 Communications. See3 is a Chicago-based firm that provides strategy, video and web services to nonprofits and social causes.

Megan and I have known Michael for some time and respect him as a leading authority in online video for nonprofits.

That's why less than a week before Super Bowl XLIX, which will be a face-off between my New England Patriots and Megan's Seattle Seahawks, we asked Michael to join us on the show. We knew he wouldn't take sides and would talk about something we were all cheering for: the Super Bowl ads.

Super Bowl Cause Marketing on Pinterest

How to Raise Money with Watch-to-Give Fundraisers

The power of watch-to-give fundraisers was on display the night of Superbowl XLVII when Ram Truck aired So God Made a Farmer. Narrated by the late Paul Harvey, the two-minute spot celebrated the American farmer.

Ram Truck offered to donate one dollar for each view of the YouTube video - up to $1 million - to National FFA Organization to fight hunger in communities across the country. To date, the video has nearly 18 million views.

The intersection of advertising, online video, and cause proved to be a powerful one. Ram Truck’s Farmers was a top pick among critics and viewers for best ad of Superbowl XLVII.

Watch-to-Give Fundraisers in Three Easy Steps

Step 1: Working with your business partner, select a video to upload and decide on a donation per view. It’s wise to set a maximum donation.

Step 2: Pick a start and end date for the fundraiser.

Step 3. At the end of the fundraiser, consult the statistics tab under the video for the total number of views, and other useful data.

Tips for Success

1. Apply to join YouTube’s Nonprofit Program. Accepted partners receive many free benefits, including increased branding capabilities, the ability to receive donations through Google Checkout, and Call-to-Action overlays on videos.

2. Embrace the power of one. Your nonprofit’s video should have one message, targeted at one audience, and it should conclude with one call to action. You’ve already earned a contribution because the viewer watched the video. Conclude your video with a clear to-do.

3. Need inspiration? Subscribe to The Daily DoGooder. It delivers one informative and compelling nonprofit cause video to your inbox daily. Annually, they produce the DoGooder Video Awards, which recognize the creative and effective use of video in promoting social good.

4. Don’t stop with the eyes. Engage the other senses. Free music-streaming service Songza created a playlist for studying that raised money with each listen for Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit that builds schools in developing countries. The program raised enough to fund a new school.

5. Vine is a mobile app that allows users to create and post video clips. These video clips created with Vine have a maximum length of six seconds and can be shared or embedded on social networking sites such as Twitter. In 2013, Product RED broke the world record for most Vine videos ever created for a cause. To track the clips submitted, RED used the hashtag #REDworldrecord. Vine is just now gaining steam with users. There’s no reason why your next watch-to-give fundraiser can’t be on Vine.

6. An offshoot of watch-to-give is upload-to-give - when a company makes a donation for every video upload. For example, health information web site Healthline.com launched You've Got This - a video campaign that encouraged HIV patients to give hope and advice to the recently diagnosed. For every video created, Healthline donated $10 to the World AIDS Institute.

31 Examples of Watch-to-Give Fundraisers