5 Steps To Use YouTube In Your Fundraising Campaign

5 Steps To Use YouTube In Your Fundraising Campaign

SEO, PPC, Email? We are constantly bombarded with these phrases by digital gurus in order to reach a wider audience so that we can all raise more money using digital fundraising techniques and ideas. How do we implement these strategies and do they still work for the smaller charities?

Back in 2012 Lasa published a study suggesting charities should be more proficient and invest into digital marketing best practices in order to keep up with the rise of digital. The same study posed a vital question: If charities do not fully engage with Digital, what are the risks?

The consensus concluded that if charities do not embrace or enhance their digital presence they will not be able to engage with their audience or online communities, eventually leaving them vulnerable to other competitors that can muscle into their fundraising space.

Givergy’s digital expert Khurram Rehmani shares his expertise in how YouTube could be the key to your next digital fundraising campaign.

Why YouTube?
We all watch YouTube videos whether its a tutorial, to solve a problem or to simply listen to music. Over a billion subscribers and 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute according to YouTube.

Trends suggest that YouTube is continuing to dominate and influence the way in which we absorb video content and will extend its share of advertising revenue. Earlier this year, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl predicted digital video will surpass TV by 2020. Its hard to argue otherwise with younger audiences spending more time online than watching television.

If you are convinced to utilise rich media content on YouTube it is imperative to experiment with your small budget to create a video. Astute readers may counter argue videos require heavy investment and manpower which is beyond modest charity budgets.

However, current trends have substantiated video content is perhaps one of the easiest channels to exploit. To qualify these claims, access to recording equipment has never been easier as you can simply use smartphones, tablets, go-pros, etc., which all house high quality (HD) cameras. Advancements in technology have allowed us to create video content almost anywhere, and you can produce and create good quality video with little time and effort. It is important to mention popular YouTube channels with thousands of subscribers didn’t start with expensive production teams.

How to use YouTube for you fundraising campaign

Interested? Here’s how you should start planning your YouTube campaign in five steps:

1) Brainstorm
In order for your video to be deemed a success, you must allocate sufficient time and planning to write a solid script in advance. Create a list of questions, objectives and goals to target the types of donors you would like to attract. Start off with a brainstorm to develop and implement a story and fine tune it. It always helps when you have more than one person contributing ideas. Once a script has been written, create a storyboard and match the two together. Its normal for the script to change, but always keep in mind your budget and resources and remember, this does not need to be a Hollywood production.

2) Research and test
Once you have written your bulletproof script and storyboard, you can implement your creative project. Take into consideration any props or equipment that are required such as microphones, cameras or green screens – depending on how technical your video is. If you are not creating this video in-house and have some budget to spend on filming, you should consider using a small startup video company, such as a freelancer or even film students. Once you have decided on your filming resource, you must establish a filming agreement on the project so that you don’t experience any short falls on expectations. Before production commences, create a dummy account to host trial footage as a test to assess whether your audience finds the title engaging or not.

3) Production
This is the fun bit, hopefully your camera crew are filming your storyboard vision to near perfection. It is advised to preview your film to make sure your creative video matches your storyboard or script. Filming could occur over a couple of days so ensure your video is consistent throughout.

4) Editing
Editing software is usually pre-installed on most computers due to the demand of vlogging (video blogging), therefore you may choose to use the pre-loaded software such as iMovie on Apple Mac or Movie Maker on Microsoft Windows. Alternatively, you could have a professional edit the footage at an additional cost. Again, remind yourself of the top line objective for your video. Audiences can forgive shortcomings if the content is engaging and useful.

5) Syndicate
Once you have your masterpiece it is time to syndicate on your social channels. Upload your video campaign to YouTube with a brief but descriptive caption. Perhaps you made a series of video content out of this campaign. It is not unusual to find yourself with too much footage, so use this opportunity to split content and release smaller video campaigns over a couple of days or weeks. Don’t forget to send an email to your database, share on Twitter and Facebook and perhaps put snippets on Vine. If you decide to share on social channels such as Facebook, it is recommended to place subtitles within the video so audiences can follow your content on the go without sound.

When it comes to planning your content ideas and storyboard it is important to take into consideration the following:

1) Think outside of the box
The most important aspect of creating a good video is to create a narrative which is unique and most importantly not done before. This is where creativity starts to flow and sometimes the simplest ideas can become the most effective.

2)Create a connection
Stand out from the crowd and leave an impression on the audience. Aim to hit a cord with the user within the scheduled video time and send a powerful message that would spark conversation or inspire someone to make a difference.

3) Understand your target audience
Create a persona of your target audience and use this as a blueprint. Perhaps make educated guesses on how they would come across your content or hear about your campaign. Thinking about these finer details in the planning stage could change some brand messaging in your video.

How to use YouTube when doing a fundraising campaign

Don’t forget to implement these YouTube top tips:

Clean your YouTube channel
Make sure you have appropriate banners and keep your About section up to date. It is also key to implement links to your social network profiles and place a featured video on your channel. Finally, don’t forget to place links to your blog and homepage so viewers can learn more about your organisation.

Call to action
While editing your video, make sure you include annotations within the video. Place one at both the beginning and end of your video. Perhaps while in the editing process you can account for the call to actions within video production? Time the annotations to switch off after a few seconds, leaving them running throughout the entire video could potentially distract your audience

Always upload a transcript of the video so audiences with hearing difficulties can follow and watch your video.

Links in the description
Writing an engaging description isn’t a YouTube ranking factor but could help point traffic to your donation page or blog. Make sure the link above the fold is not hidden within a wordy description.

Respond to comments
It would be good to invest time to respond to the first initial comments from audiences, even if its a simple recognition of your content or a question about your campaign. This becomes trickier as you get more comments but responding to your community can really make you stand out from others and shows you value their engagement.

Other questions you may have regarding your YouTube campaign:

Should I spend money on YouTube advertising?
Charities who have budgets to spend on paid YouTube campaigns are advised to create a test campaign and see if content resonates with the audience. For paid advertising to work you would need to create more than one video to glean any insight into brand messaging. Click through rates on YouTube are generally higher than PPC campaigns so this may result in higher conversions. From a cost perspective, YouTube advertising isn’t as expensive as people think, if you’re targeting the right people.

How many views or subscribers should I attain?
Depending on the style and messaging of your campaign, always start off with a number to measure how successful your campaign is. Make sure you set yourself realistic and achievable targets to meet your goal.

How often should I create videos for my channel?
It is suggested for charities to upload content as often as possible without compromising on quality and messaging. The more videos you upload the more likely you are to gain subscribers. Try to make sure you vary content subjects and listen to your target audience.

My video isn’t going viral?
Never make a video with the aim of it going viral. When a video or content in general goes viral you can never plan for it. When it happens, great! But it is very difficult to achieve viral content as a campaign goal.

The video has no sound when I upload?
Make sure you have no music or tracks playing in the background of the video unless you have the royalties to use that particular song or background track. YouTube listens out for music not owned by channels and mutes the audio. If you do own the rights to use the soundtrack contact YouTube support, alternatively you can choose a similar backing track in the YouTube video creator studio.

Its been 1 month and my video has under 1,000 views?
Sometimes videos can peak at different times and you never know how a video can stand out. For example, a video of butter melting has achieved over 1 million views. Keep persisting with video content until a video clicks with the audience. It can be frustrating, but once you have cracked the formula and gain hundreds of subscribers, all your videos will achieve better results.

Please let us know how you get on with any YouTube campaigns you have launched by tweeting us no matter where you are in the world! @GivergyUK, @GivergyUS, @GivergyCA, @GivergyHK, @GivergyAU.

Ben Crook

Ben Crook

Chief Operating Officer

Ben is at the forefront of every project in Givergy, listing and actioning constant improvements across the business. With over a decade of experience in the charity and events sector he brings a deep understanding of what the fundraising industry needs to operate effectively and efficiently.