To create a successful crowdfunding campaign in the digital age, it is crucial to connect with potential donors through emotive storytelling and engaging visual content. Incorporating a 20-second to 3-minute video into your campaign can be a highly effective way to achieve this.
Studies have shown that a well-crafted video can build an emotional connection with viewers, lend credibility and authenticity to your cause, and increase the chances of raising up to 4X more funds than campaigns without a video.
In this guide, we have compiled a list of 7 essential elements to consider when creating a powerful video for an online fundraising appeal.
Sean Clarke, a Para-athlete from Johannesburg, provides a great example of an effective crowdfunding video. In his campaign to raise funds for James, a teenager in need of a prosthetic leg, Sean created a short yet impactful video introducing James and his life-long struggles.
Structuring your video
- Shoot your video Selfe-style. You don’t need to have a professionally shot campaign video to make an impact. Consider using your smartphone’s front camera to shoot a short, authentic selfie-style video to elaborate on your campaign story. It’s all about speaking from the heart, providing relevant background information, and conveying your passion for your cause.
- Interview the beneficiary: Conduct a short interview with the beneficiary of your campaign to help lead the conversation. Ask the beneficiary to introduce themselves, explain their challenges, and let potential donors know the impact donations will have on their lives.
John Rodwell from Kwa-Zulu Natal interviewed his homeless neighbor Johan, who was living in a tent. The emotional video captured the hearts of donors who contributed to a Wendy house for Johan and his dog.
- Create a slideshow video: If you aren’t comfortable shooting a video, consider creating a slideshow video with images and text to tell the story of your beneficiary and the needs they might have. Consider recording a voice note on your phone that can accompany your video to add a personal touch to your campaign story and keep viewers engaged.
Get inspiration from other skilled storytellers
It’s beneficial to take some time to explore successful crowdfunding campaigns and the inspiring videos campaign creators have made to garner support from the donor community. We can all learn from eachother.
Zanele Hlatshwayo ran 18 marathons to support SADAG, in honour of her father who took his own life due to depression. Her video captured the clear impact her campaign would go on to create.
Need more examples? Watch as Henry Cock prepares to take on 133 half marathons for suicide prevention, Zolani Mahola backs a campaign to save a little boy suffering from cancer, Trinity Van Beeck introduces her friend who qualified for a chess competition, and Marlene Spies raises funds for a Cochlear Implant with the help of her granddaughter.
Before filming your video, keep in mind that you should tell your story in less than 3 minutes to keep your viewers’ attention. Your tone should be warm, hopeful and informal, displaying your personality. Deciding where to film your video is also very important. Choose a well-lit room with a clear backdrop, or shoot your video outside in nature. Wherever you decide to film your video, make sure you have as little background noise as possible.
Your crowdfunding story is the foundation upon which you can build an emotional connection with potential supporters and inspire them to donate to your cause.
In your video, introduce yourself and your beneficiary, share the personal connection you have and provide meaningful background information, to build trust with potential supporters. As best as you can, articulate the tangible needs your beneficiary has, the challenge they are facing, and the positive impact donations will have on them. Share the defining moment that inspired you to start the campaign, and ask viewers to consider donating to your campaign and to share it with their wider network.
Learn about Storytelling in more detail here.
Llewellyn Barnes was a homeless man living on the streets of Pretoria when he qualified for a major golf tournament. In sharing the story of his life, donors learned how his passion for golf got him through many difficult times in his life.
Visual and Sonic Storytelling
While speaking directly to the camera can be effective in introducing your cause to potential donors, incorporating visual aids such as images, text, animations, or music can significantly enhance your campaign’s impact.
Fortunately, there are user-friendly apps such as CapCut, TikTok, Canva and InShot that can help you create professional-looking and creative videos. Additionally, you can make use of the YouTube Audio Library to access royalty-free, copyright-safe production music and sound effects for your video.
When Joseph Payne interned for DOCKDA, a charity in Northern Cape, he launched a campaign to purchase bicycles for rural school children. Joseph used a combination of video clips, images, text, and music to beautifully illustrate his story and raise funds for his cause.
Including a video in your crowdfunding campaign and sharing it on social media can increase your chances of success by 5X, as video posts receive 7X more engagement than static posts. Additionally, videos are more engaging and favoured by algorithms, leading to greater visibility and wider sharing potential.
To further connect with potential donors, consider live streaming on popular platforms like TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram, to promote your cause, answer questions in real-time, and encourage donations. Be sure to promote your live stream beforehand to ensure a larger audience.
Milestones & Updates
Creating videos to update your donors, share milestones, and express gratitude for their support is a powerful way to build trust and engagement, ultimately encouraging additional donations. By showcasing the impact funds raised have created, like this adorable video from Blankets For Baby Rhinos, you can begin building a lasting relationship with your supporters.
Katlego Legotlo who has Cerebral Palsy, was gifted a brand new electronic wheelchair, in a heartfelt moment captured on video, that brought many to tears.
In conclusion, a well-crafted crowdfunding video has the potential to elevate your campaign’s message, convey complex information, reach a wider audience, build a meaningful relationship with donors and inspire them to support your cause.
Create your own Crowdfunding Campaign
South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy has raised over R400 Million in support of various worthy causes from donors from around the world.
If you’re a charity or an individual in need of funds for medical needs, tuition fees or simply want to pay it forward, launch a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy here.
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