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Your Phone is Your Secret Weapon

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Years ago, marketing was for big companies and major corporations that could afford staggering advertising budgets and seven-figure consultants. Today, technology has leveled the playing field, and that’s good news for us.

The democratization of technology now makes it possible for you to share your message with the entire world, with little or no money. You only need one piece of hardware and it’s already in your back pocket.

The most important tool in your non-profit marketing kit is…wait for it…your smartphone.

I’m so not kidding.

One of the biggest struggles for a non-profit organization is communicating to donors what it is you do every day – what your work looks like, what it means, and what the impact is. The second challenge is finding reliable and inexpensive channels across which to share this information – one that reaches the most people, for the least amount of money.

Your smartphone is the answer to both of these challenges. Especially when it’s paired with social media.

You should be using your smartphone every day to document the great work that you do. Your phone, along with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are million dollar tools (note: 62% of social media users are on Facebook, 3% are on Twitter, 9% are on Instagram, and 9% are on Snapchat – thusly we recommend concentrating your social media efforts in Facebook). Add a healthy mailing list from your donors and supporters, and you have a marketing machine ready to raise money for your organization.

If you’re not taking pictures and video of your operation every day, you’re missing a huge opportunity to grow your fundraising. It’s one thing to tell a donor, “We rescue thousands of pounds of local apples”, but it’s quite another to shoot a short video showing Golden Delicious apples arriving, holding up this beautiful fruit while telling the viewer where the apples came from, where they will go, and why it’s important. This creates impact! Share this on social media, and watch the “likes” pile up.

“But I can’t make a video. That’s for professionals!”

I hear this all of the time. And it’s just not true.

Spend ten minutes surfing YouTube and you’ll see some of the most amateurish videos ever created. But that’s not why we’re watching. We’re watching because of the content. I’m not watching a cat riding around on a Roomba with a dragon costume on because it’s a cinematic masterpiece. I’m watching because someone caught this on video and it makes me smile.  We can watch bike fails online for hours, and never notice that half of the video is out of focus or that the narration is unprofessional. We are looking for the immediacy of the moment. A glimpse at something we might not otherwise see. And this is a phenomenon that will raise money for our organizations.

So how do we get started? Let’s use the example of our Golden Delicious apples from earlier.

When these apples arrive at your food bank, be there to shoot the video. Now I know I’ve told you that there are no rules anymore, but there is actually one and it’s the most important rule in the new book of video marketing.

Always shoot with your phone horizontal!

When you shoot with your phone in the vertical position, you’re creating a skinny video that will miss half of the action. It only fills a third of the screen!

We’re all familiar with HD and television. When your tv is set to 16x9, it means your set is in a widescreen cinema mode, just like the movie theatres. TV’s and films are no longer square, and they were never skinny – so shoot horizontally and make movies!!!

So, back to the apples.

Use your phone to capture the apples coming off of the truck. Move in close when you have an opportunity to see the fruit. Narrate the entire experience.

For example, you might say,

“These are Golden Delicious apples that are being donated by XYZ Farms”.

Now say thank you to XYZ farms. (I’ll tell you what to do with this part later.)

Next, tell the viewer where these apples are going.

“These incredible apples will be served up this week to hundreds of our neighbors that are struggling to keep food on the table.”

You might even tell them where the apples would have gone if they weren’t donated.

“In the past, these apples would have been taken to the landfill or turned under at the farm. But because we built this incredible relationship with XYZ farms, they will now help feed hungry people.”

And don’t forget your donor language. This is where you drive the ball over the left field fence.

“When you donate to Everytown Food Bank, you are helping rescue and deliver nutritious food just like this every day!”

“A donation of just $20.00 will help deliver this 500-pound pallet of apples to families all across Everytown.”

Then say thank-you. Always say thank you.

You’ve just recorded a thirty second (and never more than 30 seconds!) commercial for your organization that shows mission and impact. You can post this on every social media channel, feature it on your website, and e-mail it to current or potential donors. You now have a new tool that will share your message. The cost? Ten minutes of your time.

Oh, and the donor thank-you we included in your video? You’re going to send this clip to your donor, post it on their facebook page, and tag them on all other platforms. Food donors are just as important as cash donors, so don’t forget to pay them props!

So now that you’re dialed in with your phone (sorry, couldn’t help it), go raise some awareness today, along with some money. And don’t forget to have fun!


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