October 12, 2022

Plan and Schedule a Nonprofit Fundraising Video

Photo sign made by human hands held together.

There are many reasons why video marketing is hailed as the “future of content”. While 86% of businesses use video in their marketing strategy, nonprofit organizations especially benefit from the medium as campaigns that include a fundraising video raise 4 times more funds than campaigns without one. The emergence of video-making apps certainly contributed to the increase of videos posted online, and the video shot and edited quickly on your smartphone does have a place in your marketing strategy. So, too, do professionally produced videos. Talented filmmakers are able to evoke emotion through beautiful moving images to tell your unique story.

Working with a professional video production house can be intimidating if you haven’t had that experience before. To help you feel confident in this adventure, we’ve outlined the timeline to follow as you plan and prepare to film your next organizational or fundraising video.

Click on image to open a PDF version.

Pre-production: 2 weeks

The pre-production period begins when you meet with the video production team. Together you will discuss your goals for the video, the type of video you want to produce, the storyline, who will be interviewed on camera and what they will be asked, possible filming locations, and what existing footage can be used in the video–often called B-roll.

During the two weeks of pre-production after your kick-off meeting, you’ll work on scheduling your on-camera interviewees, finalizing the interview questions, confirming the locations for the shoot, and gathering the B-roll files.

Efficiency tip: before meeting with your video production team, be sure to have enough internal meetings to decide on the goal for your video and what story you want to tell. If you want to include your filmmakers in those discussions, you should plan on four weeks for pre-production to allow additional time for creative planning.

Production: 2 to 3 days

Production is the actual filming of your video. For a fundraising appeal or organizational video, six hours of shooting at two or three locations is appropriate. You should expect the filmmakers to apply their experience and expertise to guide on-camera interviews and film B-roll for background shots and to add context in the video.

Efficiency tip: you’ll be charged for the time the film crew travels from location to location. Keep this in mind when scheduling the interviews and finalizing the number of different locations.

Post-production: 3 weeks

Post-production includes editing the footage and making revisions based on client feedback. Generally, media production houses plan for two rounds of revisions after sending the first draft. Three weeks of post-production also allows for reshoots if necessary. After you approve the video, you’ll be sent a link to download the final file. 

Efficiency tip: your contract with the video production house will specify ownership or co-ownership of the final video file. During your kick-off meeting, be sure to ask about the additional footage not used in the final video. Most likely, preparing the extra footage will be considered a separate service. 

Count back two months from your event.

Most nonprofit videos are produced for annual fundraising galas. If your deadline is your annual event, you should allow at least two months to create your video. Just as nonprofit events are seasonal, video teams are seasonally busy as well. It’s never too early to contact a video production house to discuss your project and to schedule your kick-off meeting. In fact, they will appreciate that you are ahead of schedule.

This article was originally posted in January 2020 and updated in October 2022.