PART 1: 3 Ways To Shape The Conversation: Telling Your Nonprofit’s Story In Film

This post is part of a 5 part series on how to maximize your fundraising efforts AND dollars through film. 

A well-presented story moves your audience to action and does so not by talking at them, but with them. Don’t trust your story to a long-winded presenter, or paid “motivational speaker” when you know that it’s really your story that is making them click on your site, open your email, or attend your banquet. The trick is – how you present that story. 

Present your story beautifully, narratively, and cinematically. 

Instead of just using talking heads or b-roll, try adding a little narrative spice to your story. You’d be amazed what just a little bit creativity can bring to a film. Remember – you’ve got to entertain your audience as well as enlighten them. You don’t have to pay actors – use your friends. They don’t have to speak, just have them doing things that follow along with a voiceover. The mixture of documentary style and narrative style is really exciting, different, and fun – for you, and the audience. Using film in a cinematic way, creates an emotional bond with your nonprofit’s audience. A little narrative photoplay is a great counterpoint to people talking about what is so great about your non-profit. 

Make your story emotionally compelling. 

According to AdWeek, emotional, sentimental narratives are 4 times more powerful than clever ones at converting audiences. You may think that your story is inherently emotionally compelling, but you still need to draw this emotion out for your audience. Film is a passive medium for viewers, so you’ve got to do the work. Choose interviews that you know will deliver the emotional goods. If you do employ narrative techniques, make sure you make up a story that going to have a great emotional punch at the end to send your message home.

Use ALL the video tricks at your disposal to tell your story. 

Look, as a filmmaker, you’ve got a lot of tricks up your sleeve. Music is probably the biggest, and sneakiest. With the right film score you can move people in just the direction you want them to go. Try to work with independent musical producers who can (at very reasonable costs) give you music that is tailored right to your story. Great visual FX are another way to send your message home. Integrating clever charts, text, and graphics is a great way to subtly lead your audience to the conclusion that your non-profit deserves their attention – and $$. 

Author: Max Kaiser