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Skyrocket your donations with fundraising videos!

Mar 9, 2022 8:03:06 AM

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Gandhi.

And that sums up why you do what you do, regardless of what your nonprofit’s cause may be.

But it’s hard to get people on board. To most people, changing the world for the better, even a little, feels all but impossible. And this is what you’re up against as a leader: getting others to believe that they can make a difference. How can you get them to see the world the way you see it, not as it is, but as it could be?

And it’s a pretty big hurdle to overcome. If you can’t get the public to understand and believe in your vision with you, there’s not much point in fundraising and asking for them to join hands with you to help make it happen. If only you could wave a magic wand or cast a spell that would get your message breaking through the fog.

Here’s where the power of animated storytelling comes in. It’s not magic but we’re honest, it’s pretty close!

Why is fundraising such a big deal for non-profits?

For the uninitiated, there’s a clue right there: nonprofit. By definition, a nonprofit organization does not and cannot function like a corporation or business. All its expenses and operations are powered by donations.

This means that fundraising is crucial to any nonprofit of any variety. Public awareness of your cause, reaching out to the public and getting donors signed up and committed to the cause keeps the lights on and bills paid.

Therefore, effective and clear messaging is vitally important.

And there’s no form of modern communication quite as effective and powerful as animation today!

Why use animated fundraising videos and donation videos?

Ever been consumed by a TV series or a movie, taken on a roller-coaster ride of emotions? And the characters and the story stuck in your mind for a long time afterwards?

That’s the power of storytelling.

Facts and figures and numbers speak to the mind and logic. Art and music touch the heart and make an emotional impact. But good storytelling makes a powerful impression on both head and heart. And this has the power to form a bond of trust with the viewer that lasts.

Storytelling can use a myriad of formats, but probably the most versatile and attention-grabbing one, is animation.

Animation is about much more than cartoons for children and works amazingly well to audiences of all ages, for everything from advertising, explaining complex topics to employee training. This dazzling, versatile format has the ability to go into detail with complex concepts, breaking them down and explaining them simply, in a way that holds attention probably better than any other format available today.

And this is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak: Nonprofits use animation to connect with their audience and explain the problem they’re striving to solve.

But there’s no need to take our word for it. Here’s an excellent example from a nonprofit called MMC:

Makers Making Change is a nonprofit organization devoted to helping the disabled with custom tools and devices from simple to complex. The colorful animation keeps things lighthearted and positive, complementing a clever script that explains what MMC does. And all without overwhelming the viewer with too much technical information.

As you can see, animated storytelling is amazingly effective for nonprofits as well. They’re highly engaging, attention-grabbing and memorable. And you know that if you can’t grab your audience’s attention, you can’t then win their hearts and convert viewers into donors.

Here’s how Malaysian nonprofit Makna used animated storytelling to explain what they do in a charming short video:

Unlike many other diseases, cancer isn’t the kind of thing where you spend some time in hospital, leave and return to your normal life. It’s a long journey that’s hard on the patients as well as their families. There’s a lot to cover, so Makna used animated storytelling to explain what they do and how they help, while keeping things interesting, personal and relatable.

Notice that at 2 minutes in length, this video isn’t an advert, but an explainer video. And there’s a difference. For example, despite its length, it holds the viewer’s attention easily throughout, and the story stays memorable long after watching it just once.

That’s the power of animated storytelling!

How to pick the right animation style for fundraising videos

Like any creative artform, animation comes in a myriad of dazzling styles, from heavily stylized to realistic, from wild and colorful to subtle and sublime. Picking the right style for your needs is an artistic decision depending on many factors including your organization’s culture, your audience, the need, the problems you’re striving to solve, and so on.

Animation is more art than science, so when it comes to picking the right style, there’s really no right or wrong answer. For best results, partner with a good animation team and they will suggest the best options for you to choose from.

Let’s look at a few of the most common styles used in animated explainer videos.

2D & Infographic-Style Animation

This style of animation is excellent for conveying ideas with simple, minimalistic imagery. In contrast to 3D animation, this style is flat. It’s often text-heavy with a lot of vector graphics. Sometimes, less is more, and a simple and minimal style could be what you need.

Here’s a good example of a 2D animation art style. This style lends itself well to explaining ideas graphically without getting too busy or overwhelming, and blends seamlessly with elements like symbols, icons and text.

This video about charity and relief efforts in Iraq uses this art style to great effect, combined with a well-written script that goes into enough detail about the situation in Iraq, without getting lost in the woods with too much information. Notice also how it keeps things personal using characters and families, reminding us that ultimately this situation affects real people just like us, and not abstract numbers and statistics we hear on the news.

3D Animation

3D animation is perhaps the most popular animation style today. It’s what you see in big-budget Pixar and Disney films, but not limited to them. In this style, all characters and elements are created in a 3D virtual environment.

There are many advantages to this style. You can create realistic or stylized worlds from scratch, or depict the real world with incredible accuracy and realism as needed. This is why 3D is also used in industrial design and architecture as well as gaming, storytelling and fantasy. When it comes to explainer videos, 3D is perfect for employee training, especially when it comes to highly technical fields.

Whiteboard Animation

Whiteboard is a simple 2D style animation that, as the name implies, mimics the real-world whiteboards used in meeting rooms and schools to sketch out ideas and notes with a group. This animation style lends itself well to explainer videos where a lot of information needs to be covered and explained clearly.

Cartoon Animation

Cartoon animation is probably the style we’re all most familiar with from our childhood. Cartoon animation usually features exaggerated and highly expressive characters that are attractive and convey emotion easily. But they can also use these traits to better tell a story and explain concepts.

Tips to effectively raise funds with fundraising videos

Show you care about the issue

Sincerity is key. Even the most expensive and elaborate fundraising campaigns will fall flat if your audience feels that you don’t really believe in the cause yourself.

Make them emotionally attached to the cause

Your audience needs to understand why they should care about these issues, and how their actions can make a big difference with your help. You must directly connect the problem you’re describing, to a solution that can only work with the viewer choosing to respond and act.

Use storytelling

All storytelling is, ultimately, about connecting with the viewer on a heart level. And this is no different.

As we’ve already covered, storytelling has the power to form a bond of trust between you and your audience. Art speaks to the heart, information speaks to the mind, but only storytelling does both at once and a lot more. This is true whether the story is from Pixar or Peta– it’s universal.

If you’d like to learn more about how to be a storyteller, it’s easier than you might think! Check out our storytelling course here.

Be relatable

Regardless of your messaging, you must understand your audience and their world. You must speak their language. Why would your viewers trust you when you don’t understand them?


We'll let you in on a little secret: Babe Ruth didn't hit a home run in his first bat, Michael Jordan had to learn to shoot layups before he could shoot three-pointers, and John Elway had to lose two Super Bowls before winning one.

The point is, it’s okay if you don’t produce the perfect charity video the first time around. Create, test, and refine. Remember that storytelling is more art than science. Do not be afraid to experiment and keep trying till you find the right formula.

It’s time to go out there and tell your story!


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