Nonprofits and Social Media: The Power of Video Story Telling

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Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) around the world strive to tell their story to potential donors and volunteers every day. We strive to come up with that powerful message that will move people to action. Video is one of the most vibrant ways to paint that picture and create a lasting impact. In the past, NPOs avoided using video because it was expensive to create and challenging to broadcast. New technology and the onset of social media have changed all that.

Creating video has never been easier. Just about every cell phone comes equipped with a video camera these days and free editing software is available online and through software packages purchased with new computers. Windows Movie Maker is one example of software that will walk you through the process of using your photos and video clips to make a movie. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating unique ways to tell your story. Even if your finished product won’t impress Spielberg, it will inform your audience about your mission and make them want to take action. That’s powerful!

The challenges nonprofits once faced with broadcasting video have all but disappeared with the popularity of social media sites. From blogs and Facebook to the most famous of video sites, YouTube, there are many options to post videos and tell your story. These sites make it easy to post, promote and evaluate the success of your videos.

YouTube actually has a program specifically for NPOs. Once approved for the program (the requirements are listed at, you can enjoy several benefits including increased upload capacity, the use of a “donate” button through Google Checkout, a listing on the Nonprofit videos page, and the ability to place a Call to Action overlay on your videos. More information about each of these items is available on YouTube’s nonprofit page. Now you’re not only creating a video to tell a story, you’re empowering your audience to take action. That is powerful!

Nonprofits can also use videos as blog posts. We live in a society of short attention spans – sometimes video speaks louder than print. Videos can also be posted to Facebook and Google+ and links posted to Twitter and LinkedIn. Everywhere you turn these days, the capacity to post and promote your videos is available.

Social media not only gives you the outlet to post and promote videos, but it can also let you see what kind of traction your video is getting and allows you to receive feedback and communication that can be followed up offline. After all, if we can’t see our results and create more conversation to develop relationships, what’s the point?

Social media allows NPOs the opportunity to tell their story in a captivating way. It allows us to connect with donors, volunteers and supporters in a way that touches all of the senses and creates a call to action. It allows us to reach hundreds and thousands and millions of people in just the blink of an eye. That is powerful!

Have you had success promoting your nonprofit through videos? Please share your stories and contribute to the conversation!

Amy Stephan
This monthly Social Media and Nonprofits column is contributed by Amy Stephan. Amy is a consultant and non-profit professional with more than 10 years of field experience working in fundraising and development. She provides nonprofits with help in fundraising and major gifts, capital campaigns, board and volunteer development and staff leadership, working with organizations of all sizes to plan, implement and assess social media strategies. While holding leadership positions with local branches of organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the American Diabetes Association, Amy developed a passion for all things related to fundraising and non-profits. In addition to her non-profit work, she is a freelance writer and blogger who has worked as a full-time writer and editor for daily newspapers and magazines. +Amy Stephan
Amy Stephan


  1. Pete Cogle says

    We’re in the process of creating some Social Videos for the Rick Sharpe International charity ( at the moment.

    In a series of videos Rick talks about why he got into charity work in Kenya, near the Ugandan border, and how his unique idea of getting a container, complete with medical supplies, shipped directly to Uganda minimized costs, reduced wasteage and corruption and provided the builfing for a clinic.

    It’s powerfull stuff. See the first two videos here:

    • Amy Stephan says

      Kudos to you for diving into video! It’s such a great way to tell a story and what a great story you have to tell. I will check out your videos!

  2. says

    We have had great success creating and sharing videos for nonprofits
    through a number of media. These two debuted at the annual Triangle Heart Ball by American Heart
    Association and were subsequently used to to encourage people to attend the next Triangle Heart Ball by sharing online and through social media.

    While these were produced by our company we were able to do so at a
    reasonable cost in order to meet the rigorous guidelines set by AHA.

    For those who are creating videos on their own or hiring a freelancer –
    keep a few things in mind: 1) Make sure to tell a Story and to use people who have been touched by
    the nonprofit to tell the story – think WHY not how and what!

    2) Make sure to follow basic video composition guidelines and use the
    best lighting and audio available as well as selecting the shot. For
    more information on how to do these check out our blog:

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