Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 16, 2018

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Video Isn't in the Future For
the Small Nonprofit -
It's in the Here and Now

by Gary Dillard

There may have been a time when the use of video was something for a small nonprofit to think about - next year. That time is history. Many people expect video; almost everyone enjoys it. Without it, you will lose no small number of viewers on your website and you can expect your loss to grow dramatically in the months and years to come.

As the year 2008 was closing out, the research firm comScore Inc. released figures for online video viewing in October. Almost 150 million internet users in the United States watched an average of 92 videos each that month for a total of 274 minutes. How many of them were your videos? How many people read that many pages in a book? Or that many articles in a newspaper?

Google, which acquired YouTube in 2006, has a 40% market share, accounting for about 5.4 billion of the 13.5 billion videos watched that month. Almost 100 million viewers watched video on Google sites.

Video watchers account for 77% of U.S. internet users, comScore said.

You don't have to remake Gone With The Wind. The average online video was only 3.0 minutes long, the research showed. And viewers don't watch a web video for a long duration. Web video services provider TubeMogul reported that only about two-thirds of the original viewers are still there after 30 seconds and if it goes more than 5 minutes, only 10% are still with you. So get your hook in fast and your point across even faster, just as you would with the lead of a news story. This is no place for slow introductions or dramatic buildups.

If you agree that video is going to be good for your organization, here's a three-step plan:

  1. Get yourself a video camera. Don't start with HD; its time is not yet here and you probably don't have enough horsepower in your computer to do it justice. Plan to spend a minimum of $200 to $300 and get a camera that uses a tape or records on a built-in hard disk. Great size and expense isn't really necessary for web work.

  2. Learn how to use a video editing program. As you get started, Windows Movie Maker or Mac's iMovie should do the job, and they come free with your computer. They are rather intuitive and can do many of the things you need to do for basic movies. Worry more about getting good audio into the camera's microphone, with as little background noise as possible.

  3. Set up an account on YouTube and get used to uploading videos. Go ahead a get a YouTube "channel" for your organization and starting linking to the individual movies from your website.

Have fun doing it. While creating a video is a bit more time-consuming that writing a press release, it also can be more rewarding. You'll probably soon discover there are several members of your organization that are quite "comfortable" in front of the camera. Let them go for it. You'll get better as you get experience. And your group will reap the benefits.

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About the Author:

Gary Dillard has edited daily and weekly newspapers and trade magazines over the past four decades. He currently is working on a book on PR and Marketing for the Small Nonprofit. A related blog can be found at

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