Last year at this time I wrote a post about an online video campaign conducted by Volunteers of America Chesapeake, in the Baltimore/Washington area.

Today I notice this report from comScore saying that 183 million American internet users watched online video content in November for an average of 20.5 hours per viewer.  Within that, 7.2 billion video ads were viewed. Wow!

Then simultaneously, I received an email alerting me to VOA Chesapeake’s online video campaign for this year. It turns out that last year’s 15 day campaign raised $75,000 in one month. This year’s effort has been expanded to five weeks and will include a heavy dose of social media (here’s the Facebook link).

Here’s a description:

“Each week consists of two videos aired through social media and the organization’s website on “Make A Difference Monday” and “Watch it Wednesday,” where (Courtney) Shirley, a former NBC reporter and anchor, takes viewers behind-the-scenes  at the organization providing information and ways individuals can get involved. This year the campaign also features new videos sharing stories of those being helped. “Tell Us Tuesday” encourages social media engagement through current events and questions aimed at engaging the non-profit’s online audience. “Thank You Thursday” spotlights a story of thanks on the Courtney’s Quest blog, created and written by Shirley or other featured bloggers such as the non-profit’s CEO/President and clients. “Fund Friday” targets financial and in-kind donations by fundraising through social media.”

Once again I applaud this effort. It shows that a smaller nonprofit can be just as inventive as the big guys.

And there’s something else to note about the campaign as described. I think it’s going to provide plenty of opportunity for human connections to be made between VOA Chesapeake’s client-beneficiaries, their staffers, and their donors … even though it’s a digital campaign. That’s the contribution of video.

And that, in turn, reminded me of this blurb, from of all places Supermarket News, about the the craving consumers have for human interaction, citing this Harvard Business Review article, The Future of Retail? Look To Its Past. Says author Peter Merholz:

“In our increasingly connected world, people crave authentic human interaction, and the future of retail is going to look a lot more like it did in the more distant past (or still does in markets and bazaars), and a lot less like the bureaucratically-driven mass consumerism we grew to expect in the twentieth century.”

There’s no escaping “mass” fundraising, but campaigns like that of VOA Chesapeake show us how to bring a human dimension into our efforts … and online video has a huge role to play in that.

Courtney Shirley, you deserve a raise!

Tom Belford



This article was posted in: Communications, Nonprofit management, Online fundraising and marketing, Social media.
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