• Nonprofit Learning Lab

12 Ways Fundraisers Can Use Personalized Video

Updated: Sep 9

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. See the Mercy Multiplied example below.

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,