Why you should be using personal video for donor engagement

Oliver Bridge

When we think of using video in the charity or non-profit sector, we generally think of expensive fundraising videos and advertisements.

But things are changing, and video is no longer just the domain of your marketing team.

In this article we’ll walk through a brand new approach to donor engagement, and share four sure-fire ways your entire team can use video to deepen donor engagement and drive higher levels of giving.

Why you should be using personal video for donor engagement

There are a few tools on the market today that can help NFPs connect with their donors through video. This article will focus on the leader in the personalised video space, Bonjoro.

In short, Bonjoro lets you send personalised videos to your donors to delight them and create a lasting impression of gratitude and trust. Sounds simple right? It is. 

Let’s walk through how it all works in practice.

Imagine a donor gifts $100 to your charity.

By connecting your CRM to Bonjoro, you get notified in your Bonjoro web or mobile application, and you can send them back a personalised thank-you video recorded via Bonjoro’s mobile, desktop, or Chrome recorder. Here’s how it looks in real life...

Someone donates $100, you get notified, and a task is added to your Bonjoro Tasklist:

You record a personal thank you video:

They receive an email linking to the video you recorded just for them.

Imagine that...

You donate to your chosen charity, and a few hours later you don’t just get some generic email that every other donor gets, you get a real thank you, from a real person at that charity, thanking you personally.

How would you react?

In fact, we recently published an article all about thanking, highlighting scientific research showing that thanking customers doubles their willingness to engage with you.

And it doesn’t just stop at thanking. Personal video works perfectly for NFPs across countless existing use-cases - check out the bottom of the article for 4 simple strategies you can use today.

Does personal video scale to a larger charity with lots of donors?

This is a common question asked by NFPs considering personal video, and to answer it you need to consider the features of your chosen video platform.

Bonjoro for example has a number of features built to help NFPs scale the use of personalised video into their existing workflows. Let’s take a look at some of them here, and see how they fit into the NFP workflow.

CRM Integrations

Personalisation works best when it comes at just the right time. Bonjoro links up with your existing tools to notify you at the right moment to send your video. For example, if a donation takes place in your CRM, Bonjoro creates a task to record a video for that donor. Like any good marketing, the key is to segment your users based on specific actions they have taken and take the appropriate action - see the section below for some of the best moments to get personal with donors. 

Custom Branding

This is obvious, but you want all of your communications to fit with the look and feel of your organisation. With tools like Bonjoro you can easily adjust the appearance of your video landing pages with your own logo, colours, background, and call-to-action buttons.

Custom Fields

This is where things get really interesting. Scaling the sending of video is only achievable if the person sending the video isn’t constantly having to cross reference their existing CRM or a separate CSV spreadsheet. That sort of defeats the whole purpose right? It should be fast and easy to connect with your customers. 

Bonjoro solves this by letting you pull custom fields from your own CRM into your Bonjoro account, so you have all the context you need to record your video right at the time of actually recording it. This is key for large NFP teams who will not always know the donors context first-hand.

Team Permissions & Assigning

Again, this is pretty key for scaling personalised video into a bigger organization. You don’t want to be divvying up your video sending duties manually, or managing on a separate spreadsheet. Bonjoro solves this by giving charity teams the ability to assign certain video tasks to certain team members. If you have a manager of a particular fundraising team they can slip neatly into the admin role here, and have oversight of all of the video sending going on within their team.

Team Inboxes

Pretty much every charity organisation runs some sort of team inbox for donor related activity. Therefore being able to send replies to your videos into a team inbox is essential for continuing the conversation with your donor or advocate. In terms of tools on the market for personal video, Bonjoro is the only one that provides this option.

Recording on any device

Not everyone is comfortable recording at a desk with the rest of their teammates within earshot. Some people prefer to record videos outdoors in their own “safe space”. Moreover lots of NFPs need to be able to record in the field. Having a mobile app to record from is pretty much essential for these people. Bonjoro itself covers every base with a web recorder, Chrome recorder, and mobile apps for iOS and Android. 

OK, now we know all about the features that can help you scale your personal video efforts, let’s look at some best practice for how it’s actually done!

4 simple ways to delight & convert your donors with video

Like we said earlier, the key to using personalised video is to use it at just the right moment, with just the right message. The good news... we’ve done the hard work and figured this all our for you.

Here’s 4 simple video “plays” you can add to your own NFP donor strategy today, including when to send your videos, and an example “Message Template”* for each one.

*Message Templates are Bonjoro’s way of storing a re-usable video template so you don’t have to retype things like subject lines, and you video intro, every time you record your personal videos. They are a huge time saver!

Play #1: Thanking donors for their support

First up, the most obvious but perhaps the most powerful personal video use-case for any charity: Thanking.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Are we really doing enough to truly appreciate our donors when we send a generic, templated email or letter to them? 

Video gives you a unique opportunity to show real heartfelt gratitude, and by saying their name in your video the donor knows that your message is truly personal - just for them, and only them.

Here’s how you can thank better with video.

When to send your video:

Easy. Right after someone donates. And the sooner the better - our data shows that open and watch rates are highest if you send your videos within the first 4 hours. 

The best way to do this is to link up your own CRM with Bonjoro, so a task is created in your Tasklist any time someone donates. This way you, or your team member, will be notified at the exact moment you need to record your thank you!

What to say in your video:

This will be context dependent, but here’s an example Message Template you could use to introduce your video with Bonjoro:

Subject Line: [Name] - here’s a personal thank you video from [Org Name]

Message: Hi [Name]. Here at [Org Name] we don’t think automated thank you emails do justice to your contribution to our cause. So here’s a thank you I recorded just for you, and more information about how your money will be put to good use…

CTA: Join our Facebook community

(This is just an example of how you could use a Call to Action after thanking to drive that person to get closer to your mission)

Play #2: Showcasing “before and afters” around the cause the donors are supporting

Next up, how’s this for building advocacy for your cause, and letting donors know that their money has been put to good use?

When to send your video:

The best time for these videos is of course once you have something to show them! You might want to tag all of your donors in your own CRM who you feel need a deeper update. This might be segmented further by the specific level of contribution, where you send a personal video to givers above a certain amount.

What to say in your video:

This is all about giving them context. If you are recording in the field it’s the perfect moment to show them any facilities or equipment in situ. But don’t worry, if you can’t record in context, or you have too many videos to record to make that possible for everyone, you can easily use your video call to action to link to a pre-made video or other resource showing them what they have contributed towards.

Subject Line: [Name] - here’s how you have personally helped [Org Name]

Message: Hi [Name]. I wanted to personally tell you all about how your money is being put to use here at [Org Name]. There was too much to put in an email, so I thought I’d show you instead!

CTA: See How You Helped

(If you can’t show the recipient their impact on the video, use the Call to Action button to link to another resource that shows them.)

Customer story:

One of our customers, Tim McElravy who runs a YMCA camp shared this wonderful story with our private Facebook community of Bonjoro customers. It shows the true power of connecting donors with their cause!

Play #3: Reactivating lapsed and former donors to your cause 

We all know that once a donor has lapsed, it can be really hard to bring them back, when they are so inundated with messages from other charities and other commercial organizations. 

In fact research has shown that the average personal now receives over 120 emails every day. Every day! So how do you stand out and win back their attention?

When to send your video:

This really depends on your own definition of lapsed donor, and also what fundraising drives you have going on at any given time. But now is as good a time as any to do this. Go back into your data, and either tag up all of your lapsed donors, or pull a list into a CSV and upload them into Bonjoro to kickstart your reactivation campaign. We promise it will be the easiest and most uplifting reactivation campaign you ever ran.

What to say in your video:

There’s really no need to try too hard on this one. A bit like Tim’s example above, just updating a previous donor in such a personal way can have a huge impact on their engagement with your and your cause. Sure you can use a Call to Action to drive them to a relevant landing page where they can give again, but there’s no need for “giving” to be the primary message of your video - that will happen as a result of you taking the time with that donor.

Subject Line: [Name] - you helped make all of this possible

Message: Hi [Name]. I wanted to take time to personally update you with what we’re up to here at [Org Name]. Without your donation in [Year] none of this would have been possible. Watch the video to find out about all the amazing things you kickstarted, and what we’re up to now.

CTA: See our latest work

(The idea here is just to pique curiosity, not to make an ask in your video. If they are delighted and overwhelmed by your effort, that will happen naturally once they see your latest cause.)

Customer Story:

We spoke to one of our customers Joan Gary Consulting who shared a super simple, but highly effective engagement process with us:

“I use it with clients and especially as a retention strategy for the online membership site I run for leaders of small nonprofits. I spend 45 mins every Friday afternoon sending Bonjoro videos to a select group of members (we have nearly 3,000) to celebrate a win they've had or to bolster them up after a tough week. My team provides 2 sentences and an email address and I'm off. Opens and views are through the roof!"

Play #4: Inviting donors/community members to events/galas

For many of you, charity galas and events can be the single most important point in your calendar for driving donations. 

But the first problem most of us have is actually getting people to show up! 

This strategy takes advantage of the law of reciprocity; by showing you have taken the time for your invitee, they feel more obliged to accept, show up, and give generously.

When to send your video:

This one is probably just best slotted in as a substitute to your usual member or community outreach before an event. We’d suggest A/B testing this for your very next event. You could trigger based on a tag you add to your CRM like “Invite to Gala”, or by uploading a CSV of your invite list into Bonjoro.

As we write this in April 2019, and we’re all still under lockdown, this approach is more relevant than ever. Virtual events are taking off, and using video as your invite medium makes even more sense to get cut-through, and ensure a personal feel to the event despite the physical distance of your attendees.

What to say in your video:

You can easily repurpose your previous invite letters into video form. We’d advise you to use a short and snappy video prompt to get your video opened and keep your actual video to 2 or 3 points and under 60 seconds long. Here’s an example:

Subject Line: [Name] - here’s your personal invitation

Message: Hi [Name]. As a valued member of our charity, I wanted to personally inform you about our next event. Watch the video to find out all about it, and how to reserve your ticket. 

CTA: Reserve your ticket

Wrapping Up

This article has only scratched the surface, but you can quickly see the huge potential for adding personal video to your donor strategy. And best of all, it’s easy to implement.

If you want to give personal video a shot, you can get a free 14 day trial of Bonjoro right here, and a free 30 minute personal video consulting session with one of the team by mentioning this article in the Live Chat widget.

Video tips
About the author
Oliver Bridge
Growth Grizzly
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