May 27, 2021



Fundraising videos have become increasingly important to any non-profit fundraising strategy. According to Nonprofits Source, 57% of people who watch nonprofit videos go on to donate.

But that was all before COVID-19. Now, with many people isolating at home, digital media and videos, are some of the only ways that potential donors can connect with your nonprofit. During this pandemic, your organization’s ability to create a video that inspires people to give is that much more critical to your fundraising strategy.

So, how does a single person (perhaps with the help of a family member or roommate that they are isolating with) create a heartfelt video that will drive donations for your nonprofit?

Here are 7 critical tips that will help anyone create compelling video content for their nonprofit:


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Pick any real-life environment like an office, a living room, or an outdoor location. Just make sure it’s not distracting, messy, or has anything that doesn’t contribute to the story, message or image of your organization.


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Using natural lighting is the best way to set yourself up for video success. However, you can have too much natural light. It is best to shoot outdoors on a cloudy day, or during the golden hour (an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset).

If you choose to shoot your video indoors, natural light is still your best bet. Pick a room that gets a lot of natural light through big or multiple windows. You can then add additional sources of light like ceiling lighting, table lamps and so forth to add more brightness if needed. Play and test the light with the subject’s position to see what looks best in video. In any case, make sure the subject isn’t facing the window directly or too closely, because that will likely wash out your entire shot.


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No need to get a new camera for your videos, most smartphones have excellent cameras that will allow you to create professional style videos at home. Make sure to do the following when recording on your smartphone:

  • Use the back Camera– The rear camera on a phone is better quality, has a higher resolution, and offers more features within the app.
  • Keep the camera still to avoid unwanted shakiness in your final product
  • Record in landscape mode—turn your phone on its side
  • Don’t use zoom– The zoom on your smartphone is digital zoom, not optical zoom, which is no good for detail or image quality.
  • Put your phone in Airplane mode to avoid getting unnecessary interruptions and sounds from notifications while you are shooting.

Pro Tip: if you don’t have someone in your house to help you film, use a tripod or makeshift alternative to keep your camera still—even a bag of rice can serve as a great DIY stabilization device.

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56% of all videos published in the last year are less than 2 minutes long. People want content that is short, easy-to-consume and relevant. Your social media videos don’t need to be long, but they need to provide value. Focus on creating content that is engaging. Cut out any excess information and get straight to the point—you will want to make sure people are hooked from the very beginning because viewers who watch the first 3 seconds of a video are most likely to finish it. And, if they finish it, they are more likely to give your organization a donation!


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Subtitles and closed captions open up your content to a larger audience, including deaf or hard of hearing viewers or those who speak languages besides the one spoken in your video. If equity is an important value for your organization, consider using an online tool to create subtitles. Platforms like YouTube even have tools that allow you to easily add captions to your videos when you upload them.


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Don’t worry about mistakes while filming. Shoot in small segments and use online video editing software and apps to clean up your video and make sure only the most compelling parts make it to your final product and your potential donors.


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Share your video on social media and on your organization’s donation page. Don’t forget to make it easy for people to access your donation form in case they are inspired to give.  Platforms like GiveSmart allow you to add videos directly to your donation form—making it even easier for donors to emotionally connect with your organization. 

These easy-to-follow rules will give you a big head start in creating a compelling, heartfelt video that connects with your supporters amidst a world of social distancing. So, get out there (not too far from home, of course) and start experimenting and see what you can do with your next fundraising video.

Our goal at GiveSmart is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how GiveSmart can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.


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We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

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Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County