How Video Contributes to the Storytelling of Nonprofits

Posted 1 year ago

Do you want lots of website traffic, rapport with your audience and a surplus of donations? If the answer is yes then more than likely you’ll need a strong website with a quality video on the homepage. According to MarketingSherpa, video attracts two to three times as many monthly visitors and doubles their time spent on a site. What’s more, Mist Media reports, having video on your landing page increases your chances of showing up on the first page of Google by 53%. Although video is often the last priority in developing a website, it’s actually one of the most useful tools available to you.

We humans love video and we can’t help it, either! The National Center for Biotechnology Information said our average attention span is about nine seconds. That’s right nine – which is why we need information to be interesting, to the point, and visually stimulating. Did you know that before reading any text 60 percent of site visitors will check if a video is available (Diode Digital). In fact, people stay two minutes longer if there’s video content (ComScore). It’s no different for your nonprofit organization.
Video on your website is a sure fire way to connect with current donors and prospects. If you don’t have a video marketing program, it’s time to get started.
Here’s how four nonprofits that Towne Group have helped use videos to tell their stories and promote their brands.

1. It’s Better to Show Than Tell

It’s better to show your cause than to just write about it. According to Forrester Research, watching a one minute video is the same as reading 1.8 million words or 3,600 webpages! Because text is such a one–dimensional medium, nothing gets your point across like a good video.
HC DrugFree, an organization that helps Howard County residents who are dealing with drug addiction, finds that to be true. With opioid misuse and heroin abuse on the rise, HC DrugFree set out to inspire awareness of the problem. Since October 2015, they’ve been doing just that with a series of three videos. The videos can be easily shared via social media, posted on sites and used during events.


2. Video Appeals To Emotions

Advertisers learned long ago that using video for storytelling really taps into our emotions. Research has shown there is a connection between social bonding and strong imagery. Strong visual imagery can cause the release of neurochemical Oxytocin which causes feelings of trust, empathy, and even love. (
Two videos from the Maryland Heart Association provide a case in point. One shares the story of Winn Berrell, a tenacious and well-adjusted young man born with only one side of his heart. It premiered at the Association’s Heart Ball, where survivors are celebrated along with the association’s mission, donors and volunteers. The video earned a standing ovation. The attendees learned that despite numerous heart surgeries, Winn was leading a happy and active life. The donors saw first-hand how their contributions play a role in positive outcomes.



3. Video Builds Loyalty

An emotional connection via imagery creates a bond with your audience. allegiance. The Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) developed a video for its 50th anniversary Holland Awards Dinner in 2015. President Bita Dayhoff wanted to raise community awareness for the services the Council provides.
The video showed how funds donated to CAC keep the Food Bank stocked, impoverished children educated, and shelter over the heads of needy families. It even spotlighted a devoted contributor.
Dayhoff (who confessed she cried at the first viewing) said, “It really reflected the passion of the organization, the staff, their belief in what we do, their love for our clients, for our community.”



4. Videos and YouTube

With over a billion users, YouTube is a smart vehicle to showcase the work of nonprofits. It reaches more 18-49 year olds than any U.S. cable network, with an average of 40 minutes watched per visit.
eMerge Inc., a Maryland organization that helps individuals with intellectual disabilities, developed an inspirational three-part series of videos covered the key values and programs of the organization– from its greenhouse to its employment to its residential housing programs. And today, thanks to Emerge’s embrace of YouTube, the organization’s leaders can track who is watching their videos, easily share links via social media and offer a mobile-friendly medium to champion their cause.


Did you know the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Keep that in mind when you begin your next fundraising campaign. It may take some planning, but the proof of success is in the stats.
Kristy Cooper is the Marketing Manager and Coordinating Producer for Towne Group, a strategic communications company. She can be reached at

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