Using Video to Tell Your Story: Examples, Tools, and More


I’ve had video on my mind lately. A guest post at the Communications Network Blog by Helen Lowe, president of Catalytica and former head of visual communications for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, called “Which Stories Are You Likely to Remember?”  sealed the deal for me this morning. It’s a compelling, if not scientific, argument for using video to tell your organization’s stories.

We recently launched the Forum’s YouTube Channel with videos of presentations from Foundations on the Hill. It was our first foray into filmmaking so we kept it pretty simple. Other regionals have been working with video much longer and have developed a more sophisticated style. For example, Minnesota Council on Foundations recently had MCF diversity fellow Tawanna Black lead a conversation on encouraging diversity among positions of power within philanthropic organizations, with several other good examples on their YouTube Channel.

Another effective example of video storytelling comes from Michigan Council on Foundations YouTube Channel. Below is their video of their 2009 Summer Youth Leadership Conference.

What I like about this video is that it shows a narrative of events. You get the feeling of what it was like to be there in person. It’s important to note that the video contains very little actual video. Most of it is photos set to music. That goes to show that you don’t need fancy video equipment to create an engaging multimedia presentation. Animoto is a service that I like for creating video slide shows from photos. There are others, such as Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker. Just look around and find what tool suits you best.

Video doesn’t always have to tell a story; sometimes video can be very practical. Take Iowa Council on Foundations‘s tutorial on how foundations can use Issuu.

Joseph Piearson does a great job explaining how the service can be used, while the video show each step. By the end, I feel pretty confident that I could use Issuu to do some cool things for my organization.  You can find even more at ICoF’s YouTube Channel.

You may have noticed that all these examples come from YouTube. There are other video hosting services, but YouTube has a few distinct advantages. First, it’s the largest video distributor on the planet. If you want your video to be seen and discovered, it’s good to go where the people are. Second, YouTube offers a nonprofit program that is easy to sign up for and lifts the limits imposed on most video sharing sites (such as file size or video length). Thirdly, a nonprofit YouTube Channel allows you to insert what they call “Call to Action Overlays.” You’ve probably seen these in YouTube videos before in the form of ads. As a nonprofit YouTube user, you can add your own overlays with links to your website or  information about a cause.

Other services that you might consider include Vimeo, DailyMotion, and Archive.org. [Note to KM Partners: All of these services, including YouTube, are embeddable in our shared CMS.]

Are there other regionals or regional association members using video to tell their stories? If so, how? Can you point me to any other effective examples?

If you’ve been hesitant to include video in your communications, what are the major barriers you face?

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3 responses to “Using Video to Tell Your Story: Examples, Tools, and More

  1. Video is on everyone’s mind. Geoff Livingston just posted this helpful resource at Mashable, “5 Ways Nonprofits Can Increase Engagement with YouTube”: http://mashable.com/2010/03/26/non-profits-youtube/

  2. Thanks for the mention, Dan, and the links to other videos and resources. I hadn’t heard of Animoto before!

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Blog Posts of 2010 | FORUM'S Forum

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