The newswires were filled with stories about Google/YouTube Marriage yesterday. I was up too late editing a screencast to do a content analysis yesterday, instead I found a great thread on Nonprofits and Vlogging over at Social Edge facilitated by Patrick O'Heffernan. It's called Web Video for the Social Benefit Sector.
Here's a few tidbits I picked up from reading and participating in the discussion. It isn't over yet, so do go check out.
The moderator, Patrick O'Heffernan, shared his thoughts based on his experience with The People Choose which is connected to Link TV and the first non-profit site to launch user-generated video as a community building process in a non profit environment. His list of benefits include:
- Video is a powerful storytelling medium and has the potential to engage people and build relationship, particularly if using some of the video/social networking sites
- Attracts a younger (and perhaps more generous audience?)
- Nonprofit content may be attractive to companies working in this emerging field and there may be potential for some partnerships
- The technology is cheap (compared to a few years ago)
He does mentioned that it takes an online promotion strategy to build an audience and that blogs should be part of the strategy. I might also add an understanding of "Social Media Optimization."
Also, the whole issue of how fragmented the "upload video space" might become, "Eventually it might look like the cable world of 500 channels, some with only 100,000 viewers and others with 2 million and few with 5 million."
(I can't resist adding: 5 billion channels and nothing to watch!)
A reminder not to get caught up in the novelty ...and think strategically:
I think that the rush to praise YouTube for its potential needs to be slowed with some thinking of how one gets his/her video viewed out ot the millions of other videos competing for limited viewer minutes. At the same time, one needs to consider why you're posting the video, and who you want to look at it, and what response you want.
One of the points is a sort of "web the media" take. Ask your organization's web site udience to upload their video clips to whatever video service you're using and tag them with your organization's tag. (I realized that I only thought about this in the context of project - for example capturing video (plus text, photos, etc) from a conference.)
- Do most people have and know how to use video cameras to post video replies? Patrick notes that most of the sites' users are under 30 and they know how to use their cameras. I'd like to add that I was surprised when I posted a video post I did for my Dad, who is 85, and the responses I got from other seniors. Check out this popular YouTube user.
- Posting cellphone videos is not easy with all video hosts. May need to get some technical instructions on how to convert the file formats or use a service like hipcast.
- If you're trying to encourage your audience to create and upload video content, the most important thing is giving people a reason to do it. Exposure can be a motivation. Contests can work too, the Crooks and Liars was mentioned. Current offers TV time; Sunlight Foundation and moveon.org ran contests for the best ads, with Sunlight offering cash prizes. There is also an opportunity to team up with a corporate sponsor to offer a prize consistent with your mission and their products.
- Ownership of content advice: "It will depend on what you want to do with the videos. YouTube keeps the copyright, some others don't. Think thorugh how long any video you receive will be interesting, to whom and for what purpose. Then check with a lawyer." (I'd like to add that I found this great resource that might be useful: The Fair Use Network)
Some examples of nonprofits using Web Video that cover a spectrum of approaches.
Atlas Corps posted an excellent example of their video on YouTube. It is a two-minute elevator speech by the founder of the organization, a warm and personal telling of the organization's programs. The tools used are low cost (Logitech camera and MovieMaker software). They make it somewhat difficult to incorporate storytelling techniques. It would be interesting to see some of the projects he refers to in the clip. For example, perhaps not have the talking head the whole time, but keep the audio and incorporate still photographs and titles to tell the story.
Footpath Pictures is a small company dedicated to telling the stories of non-profit organizations. (Check out this beautifully produced video here.) The video producers, a husband/wife team, started their company after doing some volunteer work in Peru with CARE. Susan Ellis, one of the founders, raised some good points and questions related to use of video in fundraising activities:
Most fundraising videos are made to go along with a live presentation or one-on-one meeting. She goes on to point out, "It seems video, for all of it's strengths can't replace the relationships that must form in successful fundraising. Are there examples of successful online fundraising campaigns that use video as the primary call to action? .... I've never donated to a cause after watching a video online, I don't think-other than political campaigns, I've ever been asked. There must be someone using it successfully and I would love to see how it's working."
Susan also distinguishes between "fundraising video" which is about the organization and its programs and an awareness raising video, one that is about the issue, not the organization.
Note from Beth: Ran into this quote from a blog:
My innner fundraiser is eager to point out that submissions of personal video testimonials recorded by donors about why they chose to give to a particular cause or campaign could be very powerful tool for pitching to new donors. Youtube style video uploads would add a whole new level of storytelling and emotional impact to the personal fundraising pages that are supported by companies like Justgiving, Artez and GiveMeaning.
Cabrini Connections shared a video on YouTube. The organization has had a small video program in place for about 10 years. The program's goal is to connect innercity youth with mentors who work in the communications, video, or film industries. So, using Web video is a natural extension of the organization's work.
Netsquared Net Tuesday also had a session on vlogging and Britt Bravo posted some great notes. Off to consume those now!