Nonprofits need to take advantage of growing online video viewership

Online videos have become something of a phenomenon. According to Digday, an online resource for digital media, marketing and advertising professionals, just today nearly 90 million people in the U.S. are going to watch 1.2 billion videos online.

According to Cisco, online video traffic, which is already substantial, will make up 55 percent of all consumer Internet traffic within the next two years. There are huge marketing opportunities in Web videos for not only nonprofits who accept donations online, but any organization in any industry. However, Kantar Media reports that only a meager 24 percent of national brands are using video as a promotional tool.

Video is a relatively quick and inexpensive way for nonprofits to reach an considerably large and diverse audience, and the medium is incredibly versatile. Charitable organizations can leverage the technology to:

Give your cause a face
Nothing brings a people together like a commonality to rally behind. For the Humane Society of the United States, their champion was an unassuming puppy dog named Stallone who had been rescued from a dog​-fighting operation in 2009. The short video documentary the organization shot about Stallone helped to give the cause a figure to support.

Of course, not all videos must be so grim, but the Humane Society's example reflects how powerful and galvanizing a video can be if done right. First Graduate, an organization assisting first-generation college students, shoots videos of aid recipients thanking donors.

Document your mission
People give to charity because of generosity, and sometimes tax credits, but continued giving - which ensures sustainability - is about dedication. If people connect with a cause, they often make a serious financial commitment to it, which is why several organizations have taken to using video to engage and compel audiences.

Take, for instance, charity: water, a nonprofit working to bring water to those without, which recently used a short video to demonstrate how an impoverished woman named Sarpan Garmanga once had to walk four hours to collect water for her home, but now it only takes her a few seconds. A moving video like this can help contributors see exactly how their money is being spent, transforming a simple online donation form into a means to help.

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