How Nonprofits Use Video to Promote a Great Cause.

John Eaves, Director of the Global Youth Ambassadors Program. 

People Give to Causes and Charities When There's An Emotional Connection.
And There's No Better Way to Connect Than Through Video. 

Nonprofit organizations are usually advocates for a cause of some kind. This advocacy comes in many different forms:

  • Raising money for cancer research
  • Educating the masses about disease or health concerns
  • Fighting poverty
  • Feeding the homeless
  • Promoting economic opportunities
  • Opportunities for the disadvantaged

During Wheels 4 Walls, people spend a night in their car to raise money to fight homelessness.How Can Video Help?

So what can video do to further these important causes? It can help nonprofits tell their stories in a more engaging way.

More importantly, video is effective at making an emotional connection with an audience. And such emotional connections are a critical first step in persuading people to donate time or money.

It's one thing to hear about hungry children, or to think about "poverty" in the abstract. But video can go much further. It can introduce us to actual families or children in need, making us much more likely to open our wallets.

Video tells stories in a way that makes people care.

A group of Global Youth Ambassadors in Germany.Global Youth Ambassadors Program

Here's an example. The Global Youth Ambassadors Program was started ten years ago by Atlanta politician John Eaves.

The goal of the program is to help high school students from underserved communities learn about other cultures, through leadership development, foreign language proficiency, and international travel.


GYAP helps expand each student's world view so they can become more competitive in the global economy. To tell the GYAP story, we followed a group of students through their training, and collected user-generated content of their two-week trip to Germany.

They learned German culture, studied the German language, and took field trips to German companies in the Atlanta area. At the Bremen Museum, they spoke with an actual Holocaust survivor—a moving experience to be sure.

The purpose of the video is to explain the GYAP mission, to attract sponsors and contributors, and of course, to persuade students and parents to take advantage of future opportunities. 

Every year, the Hambidge Center raises money for the arts with a large art auction.The Hambidge Art Auction

Here's another example of a nonprofit video, for The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.

Hambidge is a creative residency program based in the Georgia mountains. It empowers artists, authors and other talented individuals to explore, develop and express their creative voices. To raise money for the program, Hambidge sponsors an Art Auction in Atlanta each year.

To create the video, the event was filmed over a period of several days. We shot a private preview party hosted by High Museum Curator Michael Rooks, event set-up at the Goat Farm Arts Center, and the event itself.

At the Wheels 4 Walls event, people raise money to fight homelessness by spending a night in their cars.Wheels 4 Walls

Here's one more example of nonprofit video. Our House, a homeless shelter in Midtown Atlanta, wanted to raise awareness about a growing problem in our city—homeless families that spend nights in their cars.

To promote this problem, they created an event called Wheels 4 Walls. Dozens of volunteers signed up sponsors, drove to a nearby parking lot, and spent the entire night there together.

I filmed a short documentary about the event, interviewing several of the participants. It will be used to promote Wheels 4 Walls in the future.

Many thanks to GYAP founder John Eaves for the creative opportunity,  to Hambidge Executive Director Jamie Badoud for his help and support, Hambidge Communications Director Dayna Thacker, and finally, thanks to Diane Douglass with the Our House homeless shelter.   

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