Chronicle of Philanthropy asks: Has your fund-raising video raised money?


The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Prospecting blog is running a series called “Fund-Raising Videos that Work." 

The Chronicle is asking non-profits to send in their fund-raising videos along with some of the back-stories behind how they came to be, the strategies behind the videos, how much each organization spent on the videos, and how much the videos raised.

It will run posts on the more interesting submissions.

Two of the recent pieces featured have come from Jewish non-profits — the Jewish Family and Children Services of Phoenix and Youth Renewal Fund, a program to provide supplemental education to disadvantaged Israeli children. We’re reposting with permission the two posts below, but if you would like to submit to The Chronicle your organization’s video for consideration, send an email to their Web editor, Peter Panepento here.

From The Chronicle:

Many charities are creating short videos to help garner attention and money for their organizations online. But for many groups, long-form video — anything over two or three minutes — remains an important tool.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service in Phoenix, for example, hired a production company in Los Angeles to create an eight-minute video appeal that featured the organization’s clients discussing how it had helped them.

The video was unveiled at the group’s annual spring fund-raising luncheon — an event that raised nearly $100,000, says Jessica Junis Green, Jewish Family & Children’s Service marketing and development coordinator.

The organization then featured the video on its Web site and is planning to expand its use into social networks, Ms. Green says.

What do you think of long-form videos? Are longer videos effective in telling an organization’s story? Or should groups be spending more energy creating shorter videos that are more readily shared online?

Merritt C. Birnbaum didn’t have a big budget or a team of volunteers to help her when she set out to produce a new fund-raising video for the Youth Renewal Fund. But she had a creative idea.

"We strove to create a video that would place the work we do in context, revealing to the audience the reality and scope of the problems our programs are working to solve," says Ms. Birnbaum, the New York charity’s marketing and development director. "In this way, we veered away from a literal description of the organization, focusing on the ‘why’ versus the ‘what.’"

One of the charity’s supporters suggested that the group create a video that included a series of text-based facts that pointed to the problems the charity seeks to solve.

The text was presented over video clips and images that were purchased from iStock Photo, a Web site that offers stock images and video at a low cost, as well as some images from the organization’s past projects.

Ms. Birnbaum wrote and produced the piece and worked with a freelance film editor to produce the finished video.

The project cost the charity less than $6,000 — and it became the center of a text-message appeal at a recent fund-raising dinner that encouraged guests to pledge money to the organization on their mobile phones.

The appeal raised $22,150 in pledges and Ms. Birnbaum says the video has since been posted to the organization’s Web site and to YouTube.

"As a small organization in a tough economy, we needed to think creatively with an eye towards fiscal responsibility," she says. "It does go outside the realm of traditional nonprofit videos and presents a solution for small nonprofits who may be able to utilize in-house resources they haven’t yet considered."

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