1. Remove yourself from the equation

For those who feel camera-shy, Amara urges you to remove yourself from the equation. She reminds us that donors aren’t focused on the individual sender of the video; they are focused on the impact of your organization. Sometimes Amara films in the office, and sometimes when she’s walking back from the gym! It’s okay if her hair’s not done, she says, she just makes light of it and delivers her message.

The videos aren’t about you, Amara says; they are about your mission and those who are the recipients of the service your organization provides.

2. Recognize the value it will bring

Amara says not to let apprehension get in the way of the benefits personal video messages could bring for your organization. Not only is it a great way to personally thank donors, but Amara believes it’s a great marketing opportunity as well. In fact, Amara says that her personal video messages are more often shared than the professionally made, more resource-intensive videos on her website. Amara describes one time when she sent a personal thank you video to an organization, who then took that video and included it in their own video to donors – resulting in even more donations to the Good News Community Kitchen!

3. Don’t assume your donor base will not appreciate personal videos

Amara understands that some organizations may be worried that their donor base would not appreciate this new technology. Amara even admits to being nervous about sending videos initially and wasn’t sure her older donors would enjoy them. One of her oldest donors is 97 years old, and, as it turns out, he loves getting personal video messages! In fact, when the Good News Community Kitchen has a need and Amara sends out a video, she knows she can count on him to donate.

4. Be strategic

It may feel intimidating to record a video for the first time. This is why Amara recommends being strategic. For each donation, she gives herself 24-48 hours to send a personal video message acknowledgment. She also uses a baseline script for her videos, making sure to reference donors by name and their donation amount so that they know the video was made just for them.

5. Make it personal

Once you have a baseline script down, don’t be afraid to ad-lib, especially if you have an established relationship with the donor. For example, the same 97-year-old donor is a part of the fraternity who gave Amara a community service award. In her thank-you video to him, she made sure the award could be seen hanging behind her and she pointed it out to him as she was filming.

6. Be authentic

While having a script template is a helpful resource to refer to, it’s also important to be authentic and personable. Treat the videos like a conversational thank you and be open about what your organization is working on and the challenges you’re facing. During the webinar, Amara shares a video acknowledgment she sent to a donor at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the need for her organization’s services was at an all-time high. She didn’t worry about putting on a brave face for the video and delivers a heartfelt thank you to the donors for helping her organization during such a turbulent time. And because of the ability to leave comments and “likes” on the video messages sent with Network for Good, after sending these videos she received words of encouragement and gratitude from donors, a testament to the strong connection authentic personal videos can foster.

Incorporating these tips and tricks, Amara believes utilizing personal video messages has been a great investment for her organization. She tells webinar viewers not to fear anything related to video, and signs off the webinar with this final reminder: “Just take a few hours to get comfortable with it, and then unleash your creativity and watch your organization grow!”