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9 Reasons Why NGOs Should Launch a Video Advocacy Campaign

Video has been on the rise in recent years as internet usage grows. On YouTube alone, users upload up to 720,000 hours of video content per day.

High-speed internet and affordable smartphones have made it so much easier for people to consume video content on a daily basis. This trend has impacted digital marketing as more businesses realize the potential of video to engage their target markets. In a 2023 report by explainer video company Wyzowl, 87% of marketers agreed that using video for marketing helped them drive sales. In the same study, 89% of consumers said that simply watching a product video encouraged them to make a purchase. In these instances, video content served as a powerful tool for storytelling, engagement, and, ultimately, conversion.

Video advocacy campaigns are a relatively new concept that has gained traction among non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A growing number of campaigns are using video to raise awareness, draw support, and inspire tangible action. Personal stories and compelling narratives also figure in these videos to show the impact of discrimination, environmental crises, and other such issues on real human lives. With its potential to reach a wide market, video can be an effective tool for NGOs to create lasting and positive change in our communities.

If you’re an NGO, this article may help shed light on why video may be effective in your advocacy campaigns. Here are nine reasons:

1. Establishing Credibility

Building credibility is essential if you want to gain the buy-in of your stakeholders. Trust and confidence from your donors, beneficiaries, and partners form the foundation that will determine whether your initiatives will reach their goals.

Through video advocacy, you can showcase successful initiatives and highlight the impact of your work in the community. You can also include testimonials from volunteers or those who benefited from your projects to provide first-hand accounts of your efforts while also showing transparency.

Careful planning and execution will be crucial in communicating your genuine desire to make the world a better place and why your initiatives are worth supporting. Check out DonateLife’s powerful video, Give Me a Heart, which skillfully blends raw footage, interviews, and impactful statistics to promote organ donor registration.

Give Me a Heart – Campaign Video

What stood out the most from the video are the heartfelt interviews with actual individuals waiting for their heart transplants. By taking a straightforward approach, the video brings attention to a real-life situation that often goes unnoticed. It also offers clear guidance and actionable steps on how viewers can become involved to save a life. The video’s execution is incredibly authentic and relatable, effectively emphasizing the positive impact of organ donation.

2. Raising Awareness

According to Wyzowl, 95% of marketers said that video content had drastically boosted their brand awareness. Raising awareness for your NGO and your cause is critical to your success. By creating a following that understands and supports your mission, you can better reach your goals, financially sustain yourself, and ultimately make a positive change. Advocacy videos have proven to be an effective method of raising awareness due to their ability to engage and captivate your viewers.

Storytelling is a powerful technique used in these videos to connect viewers with your cause. Stories of people who personally benefited from your initiatives can make the audience feel more invested in the outcome. More importantly, the emotional appeal of advocacy videos can evoke strong feelings of empathy from your viewers. This response not only creates a sense of connection but also motivates people to support the cause.

By incorporating striking visuals and a compelling narrative, advocacy videos can have a lasting impact on viewers. Visual elements give form to your NGO’s mission so it’s easier to understand and concretize, while a compelling narrative can inspire action and hopefully lead to positive change.

Check out Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a remarkable nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for and spreading awareness about pediatric cancer. Their video beautifully tells the story of how it all began, their growth, and their current standing, all made possible by the generous support of their community.

About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF)

Through heartfelt narration from key individuals within the organization, you could feel more connected to the profound symbolism behind ALSF’s name. This video effectively captures the essence of what ALSF means to each person involved, forging a deep emotional connection with the audience.

3. Driving Engagement

Advocacy campaigns are powerful tools to mobilize support and drive change. For a campaign to be truly effective, it’s crucial to engage with your target audience. Engaged supporters are more likely to take action and spread the campaign’s message, ultimately leading to greater impact.

Advocacy videos are particularly effective in driving engagement by serving as a powerful medium to convey your core message and evoke a strong emotional response. By using compelling narratives and featuring real people with real stories, video campaigns can draw supporters in and encourage them to take action.

To drive engagement, advocacy videos can leverage several strategies. One effective approach is to incorporate calls to action (CTAs) such as signing a petition or donating to a cause. It’s crucial to make these CTAs clear, direct, and simple enough for supporters to easily follow.

Social media can also be a powerful tool to drive engagement. By sharing your video campaigns on social media, you can encourage people to discuss and share their thoughts for a more interactive way of engaging your target audience.

Interactive elements go a long way for engagement in online communities. Some examples are clickable annotations and polls. These elements can make your video more engaging while providing supporters more ways to actively participate so they can feel more invested in your campaigns. By using these techniques, you too can mount a successful campaign.

The Trevor Project’s Every Single One: A Letter to Those Who Supported Us video is a compilation of sit-down interviews with different people discussing their journeys as queer individuals. The participants walk us through their experiences of doubt, fear, and acceptance. They also share personal stories of how the Trevor Project has helped them during this tumultuous stage of their lives. The video ends with a call to action on how viewers can support the organization in their mission to help members of the LGBTQIA+.

The Trevor Project’s Every Single One: A Letter to Those Who Supported Us

4. Amplifying Reach

Amplifying the reach of your advocacy videos is crucial if you want to make a real impact on your target audience. Through digital technology, you can turn video content into its own means to extend your influence on a larger scale.

Video advocacy campaigns have the potential to exponentially amplify their own reach. Using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you can optimize video content for search engines so it becomes more discoverable and accessible to relevant audiences. This increases the visibility of your advocacy message.

Social media sharing and virality can also significantly expand your video’s reach. By incorporating social media sharing buttons where you post your videos, you can encourage viewers to spread your message across multiple social media platforms and reach a bigger audience for greater engagement.

Finally, collaborations for cross-promotion can help increase your reach. Partnering with influencers and other businesses that share your advocacy can help amplify your message and expand your reach beyond your original target audience.

Take a look at LEGO’s video campaign where they showcase their sustainability efforts following their partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

LEGO’s Video Campaign

In collaboration with WWF, LEGO has made a commitment to reduce its annual energy consumption associated with manufacturing each LEGO® element until they reach carbon neutrality. Additionally, LEGO aims to enhance the sustainability of its products by reducing material usage, increasing recyclability, and incorporating more renewable or recycled materials.

5. Creating Shareable and Viral Content

Creating shareable and viral content is a powerful way to spread awareness about important causes and reach a wider market. Advocacy videos have the potential to create such content by crafting compelling narratives that resonate with the public. Incorporating humor, inspiration, and other emotionally engaging elements can also make your video more shareable and memorable.

Moreover, using storytelling techniques that spark conversation can drive more engagement and shares. By encouraging participation and action, you can foster a stronger sense of community and motivate viewers to share your video with their friends and family.

One key advantage of advocacy videos is they enable you to tell personal stories that highlight the positive impact of your efforts. These stories help humanize complex issues and make them more relatable. You can also customize your video to fit your target audience to ensure that your message resonates with the right people.

This video of Bill Gates participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is one of many successful campaigns that went viral.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the internet by storm, surprising the branding world with its unprecedented viral success. It shattered the notion that only for-profit ventures could achieve widespread recognition.

The challenge was started by three young men living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, a neurodegenerative disease. They bravely poured buckets of ice water over their heads, filmed the act, and shared it on social media to urge others to join in and donate to research. In a matter of weeks, the phenomenon exploded with over 17 million ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos flooding Facebook alone, resulting in an astonishing 10 billion views from 440 million individuals from all over the world. Participation from famous personalities such as Lady Gaga, Jimmy Fallon, Oprah Winfrey, and LeBron James further drove momentum.

This incredible outpouring of support raised over $115 million for the ALS Association. The funds still continue to fuel research efforts and spread awareness about ALS.

6. Overcoming Language and Cultural Barriers

Communicating with diverse audiences can be a daunting challenge, especially when language and cultural barriers come into play. This is where video can prove to be an effective tool for your advocacy campaign.

Adding subtitles or multilingual captions to your video is one way of making your content accessible across various language speakers. Another way is by adapting video content to suit different cultural contexts. In doing so, videos can be more relatable, engaging, and ultimately more effective in conveying your message.

Including diverse representation in your narrative can also help overcome language and cultural barriers. By showcasing real people from different parts of the world, your video can build connections that foster empathy and understanding with your audience. This approach not only helps overcome cultural or linguistic differences but also promotes a more inclusive and equitable approach to advocacy.

Watch how One Tree Planted made their Planting 52 MILLION Trees in 2022 video campaign simple yet effective. For this video, they used footage from all over the globe where they planted trees, clipped videos from the news, and closed captions to clearly show their commitment against human-made climate change.

Planting 52 MILLION Trees in 2022 video campaign

7. Harnessing the Power of Visual Storytelling

Visual storytelling is a powerful communication technique that can easily capture the interest and emotions of your viewers. Advocates can harness the power of imagery and cinematography to create a compelling narrative that inspires positive action.

Using compelling visuals and filmmaking techniques, video advocacy campaigns are designed to grab your audience’s attention. This is achieved through carefully designed camera shots, lighting, and composition that evoke audience empathy. Incorporating music, sound effects, and voiceovers enhances storytelling as well for a more immersive experience.

Incorporating visual metaphors and symbolism can also be used to depict your advocacy goals and efforts while also engaging your audience’s feelings. You can also use these video elements to portray your target audience and make your messaging more relatable..

Breast Cancer Now’s video showcases masterful storytelling without the use of dialogue. Instead, it captivates viewers by letting the narrative gradually unfold, leaving them intrigued by what the little girl is doing until the big reveal at the end.

UK Charity Breast Cancer Video Campaign

Through visual narrative accompanied by emotive music, this video provides a poignant portrayal of breast cancer that comes close to the heart. The deeply personal nature of the child’s relationship with her mother creates an emotional connection that touches on our own personal relationships with our loved ones. Simultaneously, it underscores the urgent need for action to put an end to breast cancer mortality, calling on the audience for support.

With its skillful execution and universal appeal, this video from Breast Cancer Now not only engages the audience but also spurs each viewer to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

8. Building Long-lasting Relationships

Building long-lasting relationships with supporters and partners is crucial for the success of any advocacy campaign. It helps establish trust, create a sense of community, and promote your cause. Advocacy videos can play a pivotal role in fostering these relationships.

Including behind-the-scenes footage and interviews can help strengthen your connections with stakeholders by showing how everyone has contributed to the success of your campaign. Putting a spotlight on your volunteers also shows how much you value and appreciate their work for such a thankless job. Furthermore, being transparent communicates how you care about your beneficiaries through a greater sense of inclusivity and partnership.

Video content can be used to provide regular updates on the progress of your advocacy campaign. These can include milestones, achievements, and any upcoming plans. Through video, you can strengthen your connection with supporters on a more personal level by making them feel like they have been part of the journey.

Watch this video campaign by the World Bank to see how they used different video types to give Filipinos a behind-the-scenes look into their various projects. 

World Bank’s Video Campaign

Through video, the World Bank was able to present their current and future plans to help the Philippines mitigate the devastating impact of natural disasters and climate change.

9. Tracking and Measuring Impact

Tracking and measuring the impact of campaigns are crucial to successful advocacy. These steps enable you to determine what works and what doesn’t so you can evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign strategies. 

When it comes to advocacy videos, measuring impact becomes easier thanks to the wealth of engagement metrics provided by various social media platforms. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook offer metrics such as views, likes, and comments that you can analyze to understand how many people are engaging with your campaign and how they are responding to it.

In addition to engagement metrics, monitoring how your video drives traffic to your website as well as conversion rates from viewer/visitor to supporter can provide you with a wealth of data on the effectiveness of your campaign.

Gathering feedback and testimonials from supporters and beneficiaries is also a powerful way to measure impact. Not only does this help you capture how people truly feel about your campaign, it also puts a human face on the positive impact of your campaign.

This video from the Robin Hood Foundation titled Robin Hood Relief Fund: Hurricane Sandy used testimonial videos from individuals who benefitted from their social service to show a concrete example of the work they do.

Nonprofit videos don’t require elaborate production or flashy effects to be impactful. The Robin Hood Foundation exemplifies this in their video through their simple yet well-polished approach. What truly stands out is their use of video to effectively convey the stories of the people who benefitted from their service.

By featuring firsthand testimonials such as these, you can make your impact more tangible and relatable to supporters. Such narratives have the power to create a deep emotional connection while demonstrating the difference your organization can make in transforming real human lives for the better.

ALSO READ: Social Impact Documentaries to Watch in 2023

What’s Next?

NGOs are catalysts for change, and video advocacy can help amplify your message.

Incorporating video into your PR and marketing strategy is a must in today’s digital age. With new ways of reaching and engaging your target audience, you can drive greater success for your campaigns by potentially getting hundreds, if not thousands, of people to care as much as you do. And who knows? You might just go viral on the internet. Imagine how many lives you can change with a single video. So go ahead and take the next step in your advocacy, and don’t be afraid to put social media to good use.

M2.0 Communications is a PR firm that helps brands creatively tell their stories. We offer services including social media marketing, influencer management, and video production. Visit our work to learn more about the brands we collaborate with.

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