Videos can be a powerful communications tool which can convey the messages of your organisation in a dynamic, genuine and engaging way. Social causes can benefit from video in many ways, including volunteer recruitment. demonstrating social impact by showing happy volunteers and clients, and as a promotional tool to raise money.

With the rise of video hosting platforms, such as Youtube and Vimeo, and of low cost video recording equipment and post-production services, there’s never been a better time to use video to get your organisation’s messages across.

Let’s take a look at some recent examples of social causes using video in effective ways:

Campaign with WWF

This is the latest campaign from WWF that answers the questions for those who have ever wondered ‘What can I do…?’

The video effectively communicates how we all have more power than we think – especially if we act together “Your actions can make all the difference – you could be the decisive link in a chain that has impacts across the world.” This message would much less powerful in other media, so video was a great choice to get the message out there.

charity: water

charity: water is a non profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. They give 100% of the money raised to direct project costs, funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need. Here’s one their latest videos:

charity: water have proven that great design is a greate strategy for success and actually employs a full-time designer as a senior leader of the organisation. Their website and marketing content, such as this video, tells viewers a clear story but also shows a level a professionalism – an important element in modern day fundraising as people are increasingly finding out more about organisations before deciding where to donate their money. A video embed code is placed right next to the donate button, allowing people to place the video on their own sites very easily. This also signifies that spreading awareness is just as important as donating to the cause.

Given.org

Given.org  lets you create a cause and then target the 20,000 companies with Facebook Fan pages from within Facebook. Companies can then sponsor causes “publicly” by sponsoring individuals on FB. The fund raising activity is publicized via feeds to friends of the fundraiser and fans of the company and charity. This spreads viraly through Facebook as companies start to sponsor individuals via their raising of money for causes through Facebook.

Here’s a video that explains more:

This is a low budget video, but it gets the message across quickly and effectively, explaining more about the idea. If you’re looking to do something similar, take a look at the Flip camera range, which offers one-button recording and instant upload to compouters via a usb stick. Bear in mind that the sound quality isn’t great on these Flip cameras, but this video shows how a simple creation often better portrays the message of your organisation.

Bright One Tour

I’m going to take this opportunity to plug one of my own projects and show you the Bright One tour. We chose to create a video because the organisation’s current strap line (Bright One is a volunteer-run communications agency for the third sector) doesn’t effectively get across how Bright One works. This video clarifies this in fun and engaging way, all in under a minute!

Scott did a great job on the video, so I highly recommend dropping him a line if you’re looking to pull together a similar video.

So there are several examples of where video has played a key role in communicating the needs and causes in an efficient but effective manner. But how do you get started?

1. Video Recording Equipment

As mentioned before, Flip cameras are a fantastic, low-cost way of getting started. Make sure that you always film too much. It’s easy to edit down, but more difficult if you don’t have enough material to play with.Lucy Yeatman, a volunteer for Bright One, gives her top tips on filming over on the Bright One blog:

2. Video Editing

There’s now several online services, such as Jaycut, that let you easily edit your videos online for free. ust like any story, your video should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Adding titles allows you to construct this story, informing your audience about what they’re going to see , what they’re seeing now in the form of subtitles and to let people know further details at the end (”For more information, see our website…”).

3. Video Hosting

Once you’re happy with the cut, you’ll need to find a place to host your video online. Choose a professional video hosting, such as Vimeo, to showcase your work and let content be easily shared and embedded by your supporters.

For more tips and tricks, take a look at Mashable’s Complete Guide to Video Blogging.

Do you use video as a communications tool in your organisation? Do you know of any other examples of organisations using video effectively? What tips would you give to organisations who want to make their first video?