Creating an Effective Fund Raising Video

Many churches are investing time and money in a video – or more than one – that tells the story of their need for infused capital beyond the regular budget. Others are using for a Year-End-Giving campaign to inspire people about the accomplishments of the year. It can be a powerful part of reminding people of the reasons for financial support and investment. It trips all the triggers – informational, inspirational, visual, emotional and more. Will time and money spent on a video it be an investment with a positive return?

The fact is this: In order for your video to be an effective fundraising tool, it must contain an “Ask”.

Many succumb to the temptation to make a feel good video about your church’s long-term vision or short-term need but leave out the most critical part – the call to action.   Videos should end with a direct request like, “Our new student facility will better enable more young people to come to a safe place to explore the teachings of Jesus and be in healthy, positive relationships. Please prayerfully consider your financial support of this great initiative and be ready to respond by November 1st.

If you don’t, you have led the giver to the edge of the pool, but never invited them to jump in. This is a missed opportunity.

There are a few critical questions that should be answered in a video.   Excellent videos do this seamlessly and through storytelling and multiple ambassadors (a leader, a contributor, a volunteer, a person served by the cause, etc) as opposed to simply a golden-toned narrator with a script and some video footage.

The questions listed below have a sense of order to them but they do not represent a “storyboard” for a video.   The storyboard is how the video team crafts a beginning, the middle, and an ending – the scenes or chapters of the story are planned in advance. Answering these questions, however, will ensure that you shoot great footage and make it an effective fundraising tool: 

  • Is this a cause worth supporting?

In the crush of so many great organizations asking your potential donor for financial support, please tell us why this cause has merit – is it making a difference? Introduce me right away to a person whose life has been changed because of what you are doing. Also, tell me about potential for enormous impact. I want to know that the ripple effect is big.

  • What are others doing?

I would like to know if you are asking a large group of people, a handful, or just me. I would like to know if I’m the only guy “jumping in the pool” or can I join other sharp, astute donors that will give me the confidence that I’m joining a group of winners and a winning organization? Otherwise, I may have the fear that you will be more dependent on my donation than I want you to be.

  • What are you doing?

Please share with me the specifics of your church’s efforts or focus. What do you do specifically to make a difference? Tell me, but don’t bog me down with too much detail – I can find that out on your website. This is the meat and potatoes, but the hardest part to keep succinct.

  • Why?

Let me know what motivates you. Is it the dire nature of the need? Is it something spiritual? Is it because you have a personal connection with the people you serve? Is it because of the effectiveness of the cause? I need to know the heart behind the stats.

  • What are you asking me to do?

Here is where the rubber meets the road. As a key ingredient to staying “on message” in your efforts to raise funds, make sure the ask doesn’t get skipped or muddied. Be clear with me – I have a lot in my brain and I need you to make it simple. What do you want? Do you want me to give a gift? Make a pledge? Got to your website for more instructions?

Note: There are only a few cases where you should consider having a version of this video without the “ask”.   One is when you are showing the video in an event or setting where a live person could deliver a heartfelt challenge.   The other is when the nature of the request would drastically shorten the usability of the video (“Please make a 2017 Year End Gift”).   This is easily remedied by having two versions of the video done with different endings.

Contact an Auxano Navigator to learn more about developing a generosity culture in your church.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs

Greg Gibbs was raised in the Philadelphia area but has set down roots in the suburbs of Detroit.  As the son of an IBM executive, his instincts for leadership were shaped early.  And, the commitment and involvement of his family in church leadership provided exposure to that environment as well.  He studied Organizational Communication as an undergrad and holds a master's degree in Theology. After a dozen years of leadership in churches both on the west coast and in Michigan, Greg turned his attention to consulting and has spent years traveling the country working with church leaders of all denominations, sizes, and approaches. Greg is both practitioner and consultant. He is the Director of Organizational Advancement for Kensington Church - his home church and one of the largest in the United States. Kensington is a multi-site church with eight campuses, and has helped fund and coach over 50 church plants around the country.  Greg’s tenure at Kensington includes the spear-heading of two $20M capital campaigns at Kensington, as well as developing the Leadership Development program. After 15 years of strategic consulting and having helped raise over $150M for various churches, Greg joined the Auxano team in 2016 as a Lead Navigator. Greg focuses his attention on counseling leaders regarding Clarity of Vision and Building a Generosity Culture in the church. He conducts the God Dreams Retreat, the Vision Frame Process, and other facilitated coaching as needed. Greg has been married to Andrea for 27 years and they have four children, two dogs, and like to roast their own coffee with beans they purchase at the Eastern Market in downtown Detroit.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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