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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

12 Ways Fundraisers Can Use Personalized Video

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

12 ideas to help fundraisers stand out from the crowd.

This is a sponsored blog post by Brittany Nardi from Gratavid and had been edited for clarity.

The #1 reason donors stop is because of poor communication. Not being thanked for a previous gift and lack of communication about the impact of one’s donation are the biggest communication failures.

We get it. Communicating effectively is hard. Luckily, video can help.

1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. - Sprout Video - The Psychology of Video.

Video can humanize your organization, communicate impact, and create an emotional connection between an individual and a nonprofit organization, and get people involved with your cause. But it can be tricky trying to figure out exactly what kind of video works best for your specific cause and situation. That’s why we have curated this list of 12 ways fundraisers can use personalized video, beginning with thank you videos.

1. Thank You Videos

Most fundraisers think of the thank you as the last task of an ask; however, the thank you is the first task of the next ask. The thank you is an opportunity.

It’s an opportunity to form a new relationship with your donor. It’s an open door to learn more about their interests, passions, and why they give. We can’t confuse the automated receipt our donors receive with a thank you message. The receipts are transactional, relationships are not.

"Donors pay the most attention to the thank-you communication." Professor Jen Shang, PhD Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy

While we all stress over open rates and engagement, the research shows our donors pay the most attention to the thank-you communication. A personalized video is a great way to stand out from the crowd, bond your donor to the cause, and kick off your relationship with the donor.

If you want to go above and beyond, bring the entire fundraising team together to thank your donors. The video should be personal, heartfelt, and concise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative! Have your team toss a ball between each video recording, dress up in costumes that match your mission, or consider writing a poem that everyone reads.

2. Introductions

First dates can be awkward. They can be even more awkward if you don’t know who you are looking for. Sending a personalized video before a coffee or lunch date is a great way to make your donor comfortable and get them used to their face. No more, “I’m wearing a green shirt and sitting by the window” nonsense.

A personal introduction makes a great first impression on donors and establishes a personal connection.

3. Report on Donor Impact

One of the most effective ways to get your donors invested in projects, programs, or people you support is to show them directly what those efforts are achieving. Use video to bring your donors to the scene and connect them to those projects, programs, and people.

4. Testimonials

Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to share impact. Ask clients or those you support to share how your organization has impacted their life.

You can even share testimonials from your staff, volunteers, and other donors. A testimonial from someone with direct experience of being supported by a donor can be even more powerful than a conventional fundraising call to action.

Protip: Add a personalized video to the front of a client testimonial.

5. Event Invitations and Information

Send a video inviting them to an upcoming event. This helps create a personalized experience for your visitors. It can be especially useful for big events like nonprofit or corporate events where hosts need to accommodate a diverse range of people. Sending a personalized video allows your event organizers to create memorable experiences for donors, participants, and sponsors in ways that other traditional printing or broadcast methods can't match.

Adding a personal touch to fundraising has never been more important. Whether you're planning a big party or simply hoping to boost awareness for an organization, it's important to make the entire experience memorable for those who support you. Video can add a whole new dimension to an event and can increase the emotion involved in giving back. In this video, be sure to share where the event will be taking place, the date and time of the event, and what people can expect while attending the event.

6. Post-Event Thank You

Be sure to thank everyone who attended the event. Like we mentioned in number 1, the thank you is the most important part! View the thank you as an opportunity to really personalize your message to that donor. Let them know how much you appreciate them and their selfless acts of kindness.

7. Giving Day

Use video to promote Giving day and raise awareness around the event. Send out reminders, updates, and information about the event itself.

During the event, create a tiered system where anyone who gives more than $x.xx amount will receive a personalized video, and anyone who gives less than the amount chosen will receive a generic thank you video.

After the event has concluded, be sure to share the results with your donors and show them the impact they made. Thank them for their generous donations and let them know this wouldn't be possible without them.

8. Behind the Scenes

When you're setting up for an event, it can help to video yourself preparing. Showing all the hard work behind the scenes can make donors feel like they're right there with you. If a donor can't attend in person, this can “bring them to the scene” virtually.

Imagine you are a donor at a museum and the museum is getting a new King Tut attraction. It would be amazing to receive a video of the new attraction being escorted in and set up. It's all about showing your donor you have listened to them and understand their passions.

9. Major Announcements

Use video to share organization milestones, introduce a new CEO/Executive Director, launch a new fundraising campaign, or communicate the release of your annual report. Sharing video announcements is an excellent way to engage your donors and bring the human touch you won't find in a normal email blast.

10. Donor Anniversaries & Birthdays

If you're looking for ways to honor your donors, send a video instead of a letter on their donor anniversary and/or birthday. Video is more effective than ink on paper because it shows the results of their donations.

We love this example from Highlands College.

11. Staff Turnover & Transitions

Video is a great way to explain why someone is leaving AND introduce the donor to their new relationship manager. Having their current relationship manager introducing their new relationship manager gives your donor a sense of trust and loyalty that makes them feel secure and taken care of. This way there is no confusion when it comes time to make the transition.

12. Donor Survey

Sending out a video is an effective way to let your constituents know that you are sending them a survey form to fill out. Let them know that you value their opinion and want to ensure that they are getting the best experience working with you and the organization. When your donors hear it from you, instead of from a subject line on a mass email, it makes them want to participate. They will feel heard, valued, and like a part of the organization, which is how we want every donor to feel.

Are you looking to bring your fundraising to the next level?

If your answer is yes, we would love to chat with you! You can schedule a demo with us to learn more about the opportunities available for you and your fundraising team.



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