Screenshot of charity:water’s video on Instagram

7 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Video On Instagram

If your organization hasn’t been using Instagram, now might be the time to jump on the bandwagon. Last week the photo-sharing platform released a new video feature that is proving to be hugely popular.

Within 24 hours of its launch, more than five million videos were created on Instagram, reported TechCrunch. But what’s the big deal? With apps like Vine and your smartphone’s default video feature, video for smartphones isn’t new.

With 13 video-specific filters and a neat “cinema” feature, which stabilizes videos automatically, Instagram’s new 15-second video capability has addressed the growing need for beautiful and easy video production. The only equipment required is an iPhone or Android phone.

While Instagram is indeed another social network, nonprofits shouldn’t worry about building a large following on the platform to effectively use this new feature. You can simply create a video on Instagram and share it on your organization’s social media networks.

Here are seven ideas to get your nonprofit started with video on Instagram.

Show Impact

One key reason regular donors stop giving to nonprofits is because they are not provided information on the impacts their contributions are making, according to Blackbaud’s “Donor Perspectives: An Investigation Into What Drives Your Donors to Give” report released last year. Video on Instagram lets nonprofits quickly and easily show donors how their money is being used.

Check out the impact video that New York-based nonprofit charity:water recently uploaded to Instagram. The woman in India no longer needs to walk four hours to fetch water thanks to a water tap charity:water has installed next to her home.

While you can share your organization’s impact in a blog post, showing impact through video makes it easier for supporters to connect emotionally to your organization. And when they connect emotionally, they’re more likely to give.

Tell Stories

For organizations whose impacts are not tangible, use video on Instagram to tell stories. Consider success stories and “what are they doing now” type stories. Educational groups can share stories of the latest achievements of young people they assist. Humanitarian organizations that work overseas can share quick highlights from their projects around the world.

If you don’t think 15 seconds is enough to tell a story, try arguing with the guys behind 5-Second Films. The time limit simply forces us to be thoughtful in how we package and present our stories.

Organizations whose work focuses on sensitive topics like domestic violence or child abuse shouldn’t shy away from video storytelling either. Because survivors are usually uncomfortable sharing their experiences, Melissa Mikesell from Bolder Advocacy says it is the job of nonprofits to represent those who are not able to speak for themselves.

Inspire and Demonstrate Positive Actions

In February, a cat named Parker was adopted after the Humane Society made a 6-second Vine of the feline walking around, strutting its cuteness. The owner says he adopted Parker after watching the clip.

Organizations can inspire action by taking supporters behind the scenes using video on Instagram and attaching an immediate call-to-action to the video.

Nonprofits can also use video on Instagram to show supporters easy ways to take action.

By demonstrating how text-to-donate works or how to react to bullies, organizations can help their followers be more comfortable with taking actions. People find it easier to do something if they see others doing it, so make it easy for your supporters by showing them what you want them to do.

Teach Something

If your organization can teach something simple, consider making a quick how-to video on Instagram. There is a reason why more than 110 million how-to videos have been uploaded to YouTube. In addition to being valuable to your followers, how-to videos can boost your organization’s image as well. For example, a pet adoption organization could show new dog owners easy ways to discipline their dogs.

Let Your Supporters Shine

Like any other content you create, producing compelling video can be time consuming even if it’s just 15 seconds. If your supporters use Instagram, engage them by giving them opportunities to share videos with you too.

If your organization’s supporters know something that could be valuable to each other and your organization, invite them to share their knowledge. This could help strengthen your organization’s community by giving them a new way to engage with you and each other. For example, nonprofit medical groups could ask their supporters to share practical tips and advice by creating videos on Instagram.

Obtain Testimonials

Videos of people vouching for your organization’s work can be beneficial both for fundraising and outreach efforts for your nonprofit. Ask your supporters and donors to record why they support your organization on Instgram, and share it on your social media channels. This is not only a great way to spread your organization’s name, but also an opportunity for your organization to obtain content to repurpose in the future.

Thank Supporters

According to Nonprofit Tech 2.0, “a video can often communicate your appreciation better than the written word.” Remember that out of 1.8 million 501(c)3s in the U.S., your donors, volunteers and other constituents chose to support yours. Make sure to thank them regularly.

If you can, ask donors for their Twitter handles on your donation page. After you create a video on Instagram thanking them, add their handle to the video’s description and share it on Twitter. You’ve just tweeted a personal thank you video to them.

In the end, the same basic rule for social media marketing applies to video on Instagram: Provide your audience with valuable content.

We’re excited to see what sort of creative Instagram videos nonprofits will produce in the coming months. Please share in the comments below any other ideas on how organizations can use video on Instagram.


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