Campaigning videos: more than ticking boxes

Videos! It’s where it’s at these days for non-profits, it would seem. “Get viterate” (video literate) was the featured advice on a recent post at the Gates Foundation blog, “5 Experts Share Top Social Media Advice for Nonprofits.” Ever more non-profit organizations are sinking thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of dollars into videos and video competitions to promote their campaigns, build their brands and improve citizen engagement.

Yet just like when I was an online editor for National Public Radio five years ago (which is light-years in social media time), just doing the latest cool thing on the Internet doesn’t actually get you to your goals (unless you goal is strictly ticking the box that you used video and promoted it through social media channels). In a matter of days last week, I saw two big campaign videos from two big non-profit/public organizations, one which was absolutely wonderful (Rainforest Alliance) and one which was absolutely tone deaf and provoked its own scandal (European Parliament). I thought I’d share them here and my thoughts. Perhaps comparing these two extreme examples will spark some strategic thinking to help you out next time your boss asks you to produce a video that will get half a million likes on Facebook. Continue reading