Video storyboarding for non-profits

You need to pull out all the stops for this one. Remember, you’re working for a cause you believe in, and you need others to believe in it as well. You need potential donors to see that cause through your eyes.

You work for a non-profit that digs wells in Africa. Your job is to make potential donors see how important it is for these remote villages in Africa to have a reliable source of fresh water. And, how important it is for you to have the money to create a video to reach a broader audience through a media campaign on the Internet and perhaps even television.

What’s the best way to do that? Storyboarding.

Ensure potential donors know how much impact their money has for projects like digging wells in underdeveloped countries

Ensure potential donors know how much impact their money has for projects like digging wells in underdeveloped countries

Usually storyboarding involves drawing or in some other way representing the important shots in your video. You can do this through sketches if you’re artistic, but since we are dealing with real problems that real people are facing, we recommend incorporating pictures of those people and their situation. You can use photos or screen-grabs of any video you have of places in Africa where your organization has worked.

Before and after shots are a must, because potential donors don’t just want to see the problem. They want to see the solution and know that their money has made a difference.

Basic timeline for the storyboard

You start with a few shots of the suffering people in a certain village endure because there is no readily available source of clean water. You use pictures of children carrying pots, plastic jugs, anything that will hold water, and explain that they have to walk miles just to get to a water source.

You then show that water source, a swampy pond which literally could be the “fountain troubled” that Shakespeare mentioned in Taming of the Shrew: “…Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty, and while it is so none so dry or thirsty should deign to sip or touch one drop of it….”

Except these children, and their village, have no choice. This is it. So you show them going back to their village with their containers of muddy water. You show people using it to cook, wash, and drink.

Then you show what happened after you dug a well for their village. You show the construction process in a few photos, and then the reaction as the well begins pumping the first beautiful bursts of water. The children no longer have to walk miles in the sweltering heat to get water. It’s right there for the taking, and it’s fresh, clean, cool, flowing abundantly. The next photos show the village celebrating its new well, the children playing and laughing as they splash each other with water, adults freely drinking and sharing with each other, pouring out drinks for their elders who may never have tasted such fresh pure water in their lives.

Use high-impact photos in your storyboard so donors can see who they're helping

Use high-impact photos in your storyboard so donors can see who they’re helping

This is the video you see in your mind’s eye, and you have to ensure potential donors have an equally clear vision. You need them to understand how funding this video, along with donating to your project, will help you reach far more people through a solid media campaign including television commercials.

Presenting the video

How you present the photos is up to you, but a simple way to do it is by using programs like PowerPoint or Keynotes, which allow you to create slides with the photos and explanatory text. The benefit of these programs is that you can easily edit or switch out slides if you think of better presentation or find better pictures. You can then either use this as an actual presentation, or save it as a PDF and print it out. At that point you can tape the individual pages up in order on a convenient wall or whiteboard, which mimics the way a storyboard is traditionally presented.

Whats kind of impact do you want to make?

The important thing about storyboarding for non-profits is that your presentation must have immediate impact. If they’re not moved by the presentation, then the presentation wasn’t effective. The last thing you want to hear is: “I’ll think about it…” Your donors may be happy getting a tax write-off, but you can’t count on that being their sole motivation. There are a lot of good causes out there, and they’ll be much more inclined to donate if you make the storyboard resonate on an emotional level.

Hencar can help you craft a solid storyboard for you to use in pitching your video to potential donors, and we can even help you with the pitching itself. Don’t risk losing a solid donor base by taking half-steps to sell yourself. You’ll see how much more effective you can be with a solid storyboard on your side.