Do you want to reach out to your community in a completely awesome and unique way?  In nonprofit, we usually have very few resources but a whole lot of storytelling talent and big heart. The solution; start creating videos, they’re a huge hit. Video creation does not have to be costly as the necessary tools are affordable and only require a one-time investment. Keeping that in mind, here are five tips to help you along the way to producing engaging and fun videos.

1. Be prepared, always 

Create a list of questions and brew up a creative concept. With a clear idea of what you’re looking for and a concept, you can capture the right content within reasonable time. You can ask the same questions and get the different perspectives of real people in the community. Planning also helps you outline the type of shots you need to get so that you’ll have everything you need when you’re editing. Take multiple takes whenever possible.

2. Invest in a microphone

If your budget allows you to, invest in a microphone. Often times we forget that bloggies or cameras pick up every sound and pin drop except for presenters’ voices. This, of course, results in poor quality sound and there’s very little you can do to fix this issue.

If you can’t get a microphone, find a space with little to no background noise and complete most of your interviews or recordings in that space, if possible. Cameras should be close to the presenter; this will improve the sound quality dramatically.

If you’re filming outdoors then you would definitely need to invest in a microphone and you can even use a headphone mic off your video chat headset to mic your video.

3. Pay attention to lighting

Remember to pay attention to the lighting in the room or when you’re outdoors.  If it’s dark in the room, turn on all the lights. If you’re filming in a room with large windows, try to sit facing the window. If you’re planning to shoot outdoors during the night, come prepared with extra lighting.

4. Edit your video sparingly

If you’re using a PC, you can use Windows Movie Maker, and if you’re using a Mac, you can use iMovie. Both programs are very simple and easy-to-use for basic editing. You don’t want to or need to spend a lot of time editing; these videos are supposed to be very raw and real. Remember to keep the size of the exported video small. The resolution of the exported video for each size depends on the aspect ratio (standard or widescreen) you chose when you created the project: 640 x 360 is a perfect size.

5. Add final touches to improve production value

Add text or insert pictures to your video to give it a better appeal. Playing around with transitions by simply adding a fade effect between one scene and another, you can really improve your production value. Remember to keep it short.

It’s always best to capture a real-life cause-related moment that tells the story behind those that benefit from an organization’s mission. Keeping it real and simple can have a very powerful effect. Here are five inspiring nonprofit videos to help you get started on your video whether you want to tell a story or simply say ‘thank you.’

1. Cari Maclean’s story from Oakville Hospital Foundation

2. Thank You from Charity:Water

3. Thank You from The Children’s Hospital Foundation

4. It’s in Your Hands from Watershed Management Group

5. Happy Holidays from ASPCA


Update: we found this very useful presentation from Check-in for Good with all kinds of additional useful tips!

Thadshiga Jayaseelan
As an Online Giving Assistant at Oakville Hospital Foundation, Thadshiga Jayaseelan has diverse experience planning, producing and driving social media campaigns in the healthcare practice. As a communications strategist, Thadshiga has a passion for creativity and results. She strives to deliver thoughtful and strategic plans in the nonprofit field. Thadshiga is a tea/coffee addict with an undying passion to travel.
Thadshiga Jayaseelan
Thadshiga Jayaseelan
Thadshiga Jayaseelan

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