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I looooove working with people who are in the Non-Profit sector. Creative, generous, amazing people with big hearts! But, it does seem like every time I get a call from a local charitable giving based org…many are stumped on how to navigate video with a small budget.

I’ve had this conversation with so many people recently, I thought, “Duh…make a quick vlog, Erica…AND practice what you preach - do it on your smartphone!” Of course, as a video professional - my tendency is to grab my pro gear and go to town…but, that would make me a hypocrite, right? Especially when all of the ways I talk about below…can be done on a smartphone! Here is a breakdown of what was used in this simple video, and how long it took:

  1. iPhone 7 plus (yup, haven’t upgraded yet, it’s still a great phone)

  2. Rode smartlav+ microphone (it’s an affiliate link, but I think I get like…$1, so…I’m not heartbroken if you use it or not, lol) But, I’ve had this mic for 2 years and it’s served me well!

  3. Natural light from the picture window in my house

  4. InShot editing app (I pay a few bucks for the pro version, because I don’t want logos on my vids)

  5. It took me 20 minutes start to finish to make this video, and it was my first time using InShot
    (I also recommend the app: Videorama)

Alrighty, so…here we go with the video IDEAS!

  1. Go Live From Events!
    It’s such a great way to get in front people, and if you current donors can’t attend - chances are, they will share the video…expanding your exposure to new donors.

  2. Send Monthly Updates
    For some reason, many of us are used to sending one big update e-mail at the end of the year…but, it doesn’t have to be this way. Shoot informal update e-mails with your smartphone of someone on staff speaking (with enthusiasm!) about all of the amazing things going on with the org that month.

  3. Use Timelapse
    Timelapse is a really great, fast way to show hard work…and scale of events. And, it can be found on almost any smartphone! If you’re having trouble finding the feature, just search: “timelapse” and the name of your phone on youtube, chances are…someone is showing how to do it! These are great to post on social media to create buzz, ask people to look for themselves, or to show you’re working hard.

  4. Send Videos of Testimonials Benefitting From Services
    Have you smartphone ready at an event, and get a few words from people benefitting from your org or service. Donors want to hear from the folks their donations are helping!

  5. Use Micro Videos in E-mail to Personalize “Asks”
    All you have to do to personalize a video, is to say the person’s name…and maybe something you remember about them, or thank them for what they’ve done for your org. Then, let them know a personal update about your org, and that you look forward to seeing them at future events, or participating in future giving campaigns. Be energetic, genuine, and don’t sweat the small stuff like equipment…because your smartphone can get the job done!

What other ways do you and YOUR fellow non-profit folks use smartphone video for good? I’d love to hear about any success stories in the comments!

Erica Hanna
Owner, Puke Rainbows
Video Director and Coach
6-time Emmy Winner