How to Create Effective Volunteer Recruitment Videos for your NGO or Charity

A successful NGO or charity requires great people to be involved. Unfortunately, volunteer recruitment can be difficult. Only 25% of the adult U.S. population volunteers and, on average, they only spend about 52 hours per year volunteering (NP Source).

The good news is that your organization can effectively encourage recruitment with the right marketing tactics—the best being video. Six billion nonprofit videos were viewed in 2016, and 57% of those people went on to make a donation. And there’s no doubt that video can be just as engaging and successful for volunteering as long as you know what you’re doing.

If you want to create an effective volunteer recruitment video like the World Food Programme’s video about the #HumanitarianHackathon, there are six key ingredients that every high-quality video needs.

1. Determine Your Ideal Volunteer

First, you need to know your audience—your ideal volunteer. Your audience will determine how you approach your video. The more you know about their characteristics, skills, demographics, where they work, and how they spend their free time, the better you’ll be able to tailor your video to your target audience.

If you haven’t already, consider filling out HubSpot’s free Buyer Persona template to help you with this.

Oceana, for example, demonstrates their knowledge of their ideal volunteer very clearly in their #GivingTuesday2018 video.

They know that their audience is one that cares about the ocean and its many creatures. So, they use compelling images of sea creatures, happy in their habitat, to remind their audience why the Oceana mission is so important, and thus why they should get involved.

2. Clearly Communicate the Goal of Your Organization

People will only want to be involved in your organization if they understand what you do. You need to clearly communicate the goal of your charity or NGO in such a way that your audience feels as if they can relate to the cause. You want to showcase the best of your charity, so volunteers are inspired by what you do enough to get involved themselves.

The World Food Programme clearly and concisely communicates its goal to combat climate change and advocate for the poorest people in their minute-long #COP24 video on Twitter.

Right away, the video uses still images and facts to outline the problem. Then, the video explains what WFP is doing to improve these issues, specifically explaining why the COP24 event is essential to their goal. By the end of the minute, any viewers should be able to clearly explain the who, what, where, when, and why of the World Food Programme.

3. Show How Volunteers Benefit by Joining Your Organization

While many people do want to help others, we are also interested in what we get out of it. So, it’s important to show your volunteers what you can offer them. After sharing what opportunities are available, also show them what skills, experiences, and fulfillment they’ll get out of their efforts. Remember, benefits can be both abstract (a better world for their children) and tangible (experience for a resume).

Yale’s Program on Climate Change understands the importance of personalization their mission, and they demonstrate that knowledge well in their America’s Natural Wonders video.

Instead of focusing on climate change issues around the world, Yale recognizes that their volunteers mostly live in the U.S. and so will be more impacted by issues facing the U.S. In this way, viewers see how giving to Yale’s Program on Climate Change could directly benefit themselves.

4. Show Your Current Volunteers in Action

Don’t make your potential volunteers guess at what they’ll be doing and what it will look like. Show them current volunteers in action. Show the type of work their doing, where they’re doing it, and how. This lets potential recruits get a feel for what their own experience could be.

In the World Food Programme’s Happy #ValentinesDay Everyone video, not only does WFP clearly outline their goal, but they also show that goal in action. First, viewers are told the problem, and then they are shown in video and text exactly how the program and volunteers in the program are making a difference.

5. Include Testimonials

One of the best ways to advertise for your charity or NGO is to let your volunteers and people you have helped advertise for you. Share stories from current and past volunteers and/or the people they have helped to put a face and voice to your efforts. Testimonials can help make the work you do feel more personal, which is the best advocate for volunteering.

Change.org uses testimonials masterfully in their The journey to the most controversial Super Bowl halftime show yet video.

The entire video is basically one long testimonial about a Change.org petition that had a major impact on the Super Bowl halftime. The video tells the entire story of the campaign from beginning to end, clearly showing how Change.org was used to make a difference. Best yet, the video includes interviews with individuals involved in the campaign, giving a face and a voice to the testimonial.

6. Be clear and Concise

Videos should be no longer than one to three minutes and should focus on delivering your message quickly and clearly.

In just 40 seconds, Oceana’s Shark Adoption video explains what their goal is, why it’s important, and how getting involved can help make a difference.

It’s a very clear, concise, and simple video that gets the point across with music, text, and video clips. There is no ambiguity in this video. If you like sharks and want to help them, adopt them.

Effective volunteer recruitment videos don’t have to be complicated or fancy. They just need to get your message across clearly and demonstrate why someone should get involved, what it means, how it looks, and how it can benefit them. After that, it’s just a matter of getting your recruitment video out to the largest audience possible.

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