21 Nov How’s that YouTube Channel Coming?
By David Allen, Development for Conservation
If you have not done so recently, go to Google (the number one search engine in the world) and type in the name of your land trust. See what comes up. Were you first on the resulting list? Were you on the first page?
Now go to the number two search engine in the world. Do you know what it is? Hint: it’s YouTube. Repeat the exercise: type in the name of your land trust. See what comes up. Were you first on the resulting list? Were you on the first page?
The fact that YouTube is second should not come as a surprise to anyone by now. If you were surprised, check out this infographic (from a dental blogger!) Not having a YouTube channel is becoming like not having a website.
Developing a presence on YouTube is not hard and not expensive. You can easily start with a smartphone and a tripod. I recommend interviewing people using a standard set of questions that begin to get at what your land trust does and why doing it is important. Consider interviewing the Board President or new board directors when they first agree to serve. Interview easement or land donors, dedicated volunteers, field trip volunteers and participants, executives from businesses who support the organization, and/or agency partner representatives – videotape them, and publish a set of first-person stories.
You could also video field trip or work party gatherings, annual meeting speeches, or virtual tours of your preserves. But I recommend starting with interviews. Why?
The trend in all communications is toward the use of very personal stories and testimonials. This trend – first-person accounts of real people, their motivations, and emotional connections to the land – also makes for effective fundraising. Testimonials, once captured, can be used (with permission, of course) in newsletters and on the website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. And YouTube!
Finally, here’s a powerful idea for using video to say Thank You to donors. It comes from an organization called Charity Water. This particular video was created in 2011, as well as most of the specific Thank You videos that appear down the right side margin. Dated or not, I loved the idea so much I have been sharing it ever since.
Note particularly that Charity Water uses a video envelope – a title sequence and a closing sequence that is the same for every video. This is important for branding – you want the viewer to imprint with the organizational name, logo, and purpose, and you want to leave them with the information they need to find your website and make a donation.
Got a video that you’re proud of? Share it with me or send me a link in the comments, and I’ll share it with everyone else.
PS: I am fully aware, and I do not need it further pointed out, that I do not have a YouTube channel myself. Do as I say, not as I do.
PPS: You should search Google Images for your organization, too.
PPPS: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Photo by Element5 Digital courtesy of Stocksnap.io.