Into Focus: The First-Ever Benchmark Report and Guide for Nonprofit Video

Net Tuesday is planning an eight month Video for Nonprofits series of events that will start this summer. Check out this new Nonprofit Video benchmark report.


What is Into Focus?

It is clear to everyone in the nonprofit world that video is a critical communications tool. Video is everywhere, online and on mobile. YouTube alone delivers 4 billion video views a day. How nonprofits can effectively use video is less clear. This benchmark guide is the first ever to examine how and what nonprofits are doing with video and to begin to identify best practices. The guide can be downloaded at

What are the top take-aways?

1.    Video is important, and getting more important

·         80% of respondents said video is important to their origination today

·         91% believe video will become more important in the next 3 years

·         92% value the investment they have made in video

2.    Orgs want to make more video, but aren’t allocating the funds to do so

There is a massive disconnect between the belief that video is really important, working and wanting more of it, and allocating the funds to make more videos.

Nearly 2/3 of organizations say their video budgets will stay the same or decline!

3.    Metrics with video are hard and is probably one thing holding back investment.

The survey reveals that organizations are counting what is easy to count: views, likes, and clickthroughs. These numbers only have real meaning and value if you understand their connection to the underlying organizational goals that the video was meant to achieve. If, for example, your goal is email sign-ups, how do views translate into constituent engagement?However, when it comes to analyzing the impact of their videos, 76% of the respondents either don’t know how it’s measured or they only track it anecdotally.

4.    Change the Culture, Be Successful.

“If you went to a nonprofit in 1995 and said they needed a website, they would probably have seen the writing on the wall and said, ‘Yes, we will get a website.’ If you told them that within ten years they would have a whole web department, they would say you were crazy. They would ask, ‘Where could we possibly get the money to do that?’ Nevertheless, the culture started to shift – even before organizations had the ability to assign money and staff. We are in the same place now with video. People know they need it, or they are about to discover they need it, and nearly all of them intend to use it more. But many nonprofits are still figuring out how to integrate it into their work and allocate funds for it in their budgets.” Michael Hoffman, CEO, See3 Communications



Why does it matter?

Nothing grabs the public’s attention like video. A majority of bandwidth online is already carrying video and it is also the fastest growing service on mobile phones. To attract the advocates and donors they need to their causes, nonprofit organizations must effectively use video or risk being drowned out of the conversation.

What do nonprofits need to know about this report?

Even though most nonprofits recognize the “video revolution” and want to do more, few are prepared to make video really work for them. There are many barriers to having an effective video program at nonprofits. Budget, for example, is one of those barriers. The biggest challenge, however, is not about money— it is about culture. Video, like websites before it, will become one of those communications tools that are indispensable to organizations. Organizations will find a way to build internal capacities and think differently about how they use video, because they have to. This report is a first step to understand how to move in that direction.

How Can I Use This Report?

By understanding how the nonprofits that are leading the way on effective video communications are approaching their video work, users of this guide can apply key insights and takeaways to their own organization’s efforts. Understanding what metrics of measurement matter for video, as well as the time, budget, and overall focus that winning orgs put into their video effort, will help users to create goals for video production and distribution within their own organization. Also, the guide provides examples of videos that are most successful in fundraising, advocacy, and general communications.

Who we are? And why did we do this?

We are See3, YouTube and Edelman. While each of us works with nonprofit organizations in a different capacity, each of us is committed to moving the sector forward with communications.

·         See3 is the leading provider of video strategy and services to the nonprofit community and works internationally with social causes to engage and activate people.

·         YouTube is committed to assisting nonprofit organization to use their channel to advance their missions. Through its Nonprofit Program, YouTube grants nonprofits special benefits that enhance their use of the platform.

·         Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, is committed to CSR, sustainability and citizenship and invests in research to advance the field.

How did we compile this report?

We began with a quantitative survey. The participation of 7,000 nonprofit stakeholders was solicited directly, via email, as were 200 nonprofits representing a diverse range of missions, sizes and locales. A call for respondents and survey links appeared on 50 nonprofit-affiliated blogs and on social media networks. Results were tallied from almost 500 respondents, including senior management and staff working in development, marketing and communications and, of course, video production.

The demographics of respondents reflect the diversity of the US/Canada nonprofit sector: 30% were from small organizations (annual budgets under $500K), 25% from medium ($1-5 million) and the remaining 45% represent organizations with budgets that range from $5 to $250 million. The greatest number of responses came from Education (21%) and Human Services (27%). Health, Arts, Culture and Humanities, International, Environment and Animal organizations were also represented.

In addition to the survey data, we conducted more than 20 “qualitative” interviews, selecting subjects with an eye to diversity of the organizations, the interviewee’s area of expertise, and the organization’s experience (or lack thereof) in the production and integration of video into communications and development strategies.

Finally, YouTube provided previously unreleased statistics on views, numbers of videos/hours uploaded, subscribers, comments, users of nonprofit tools (annotations, Google Wallet, live streaming, etc.) and others insights into those 20,000 organizations in the YouTube Nonprofit Program.


For press inquiries or other questions, please contact Nasser Asif, Director of Marketing, See3 Communications:[email protected]

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About admin

Eli strives to be a connector – the interstitial tissue that holds the muscle of a community together. He’s been a volunteer manager, an event organizer and a digital campaigner. Basically he’ll take any gig that allows him to enable a group of passionate people to create things they love. Currently he’s the NetSquared Community Manager supporting a global volunteer network of 50 monthly meetups for the nonprofit technology sector. Together they hold over 450 events per year.

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