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Phil Cooke Podcast

Apr 9, 2019

Donor development and fundraising is critical for your non-profit organization to succeed. Phil Cooke shares five important keys to producing successful fundraising videos that can engage potential donors with your vision and encourage them to partner with you in the mission of your ministry.


Hundreds of nonprofit organizations and religious ministries use fundraising videos to tell their story. It’s a powerful medium, and along with other projects, our team at Cooke Media Group produces fundraising and donor development videos for some of the largest nonprofits and ministries in the country.


After years of producing these around the world, we’ve discovered some important keys to creating an impact with the audience. The next time your organization considers a promotional or donor video for your website or to show at a live event, here are five important principles to remember:


  1. Keep it short. Some studies indicate as many as 66% of viewers stop watching a video after the 2 minute mark. For a live presentation you have a captive audience, but even then I rarely produce anything longer than 4-6 minutes. Leave the audience wanting more. As a famous opera singer once said, “You need to stop singing before the audience has stopped listening.”


  1. A successful video isn’t about facts, it’s about emotion. The audience won’t be moved by the fact that last year you served 10,000 meals, housed 500 homeless people, or built a medical clinic in the Congo. They want to see the lives changed because of what you did. Stop using statistics with fancy graphics and start telling stories. Never forget that video is about emotion, and if you need to share facts, then print them on a brochure or put them on your website.


  1. Don’t create a music video. I don’t care how much that worship song by Chris Tomlinmeans to you, illustrating a song with shots of your work doesn’t impress anybody. Interview people and let them tell the story or have a narrator do it. Music videos rarely lend themselves to sharing your vision, showing the results and calling people to action.


  1. Do it well. Your brother-in-law may have a home video camera, but trust me – he’s not going to show the emotion, the drama, or the story an experienced professional will capture. The point of a donor development video is to call the viewer to action, so get the kind of advice you need to do it well. I can’t stress enough the potential of a compelling video presentation, so don’t leave it to chance. Be creative, be contemporary, and most of all, be strategic.


  1. Have a call to action. Make sure you include an “ask” in your video. People want to give; it’s your job to make sure you specifically ask them! Keep in mind that it’s not about asking for money; it’s about asking viewers to support the vision of your ministry or organization.


Potential donors want to hear your story, and in today’s visual culture, showing a powerful video is an incredible tool. The question is:  What’s the story your organization needs to tell? – Phil Cooke

Want help telling your story or creating a donor development strategy? Cooke Media Group can amplify your message so you are reaching the audience you hope to reach. Find out more about here:


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