video - watching - shutterstock_363709736It’s said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In our multichannel world, how much do you think it’s worth to a donor to receive multiple, emotionally-stirring, action-packed images, in a personalized video message from one of their favorite charities?

With Innovairre’s know-how and expertise, a medium-sized nonprofit organization sent a 2015 year-end, first-name-personalized video to their mid-level and top-tier donors. The intent of the video was to thank donors for their faithful generosity, and to help donors visually understand the powerful and positive impact of their contributions. The results were extremely successful and very exciting.

Donors Respond
The affirmation and encouragement from donor feedback was outstanding—in fact, unprecedented. Donors contacted the organization to convey their gratitude for the emailed personalized video, consistently expressing their appreciation for this unexpected and very welcomed communication. They were impressed and moved with emotion; they took notice and really paid attention.

Donors Contribute
This personalized video did not function primarily as a solicitation or an appeal. It was a potent and powerful expression of gratitude. Yet, provided with the option, many donors were subsequently inspired to make online contributions. The donations received more than paid for the cost of personalizing and distributing the video, with several gifts of highly significant value. Some donors chose this opportunity to upgrade over their past giving levels.

Donors Are Attentive
Analyzing the data, open rates for this type of communication are over 45%. The click-to-open ratio exceeds 40%. While many other emails to donors are deleted or ignored, a personalized video stands out as unique, interesting, and appealing. Donors gladly take the time to view these fast-paced and highly-engaging messages.

Research shows the optimal video length to be about one minute. When a video exceeds a minute and a half, the number of donors viewing it declines. And to retain a donor’s interest, it’s advised that this method of communication be limited to not more than twice a year.

Multiple Applications
As stated, this particular personalized video was intended as an expression of thanks for the donor’s past support, as well as a visual expression of what their gifts are accomplishing. Personalized videos can also have tremendous potential as part of a well-coordinated conversion program, focused on informing, encouraging, and motivating first-time donors to make a second gift, and hence become more fully committed to the mission of the organization.

Tap into the WOW factor!
No other thank you, acknowledgment, or donor information piece prepared by this nonprofit has ever generated this kind of response or reaction. No other communication has been this engaging or as emotionally powerful. Of all the highly positive results, this organization believes that the true intangible going forward is how much this personalized video has strengthened relationships with these donors.

And not only did donors call to comment. Other nonprofits, who learned about this through the buzz in their donor circles, contacted the organization to inquire about the personalized video. Even the CEO of a Fortune 100 company called to offer his congratulations and state how impressed he was with the personalized video that he received.

Needless to say, this charity already has plans in the works for a 2016 year-end gratitude / this-is-what-your-contributions-are-accomplishing video communication. Once again, the message will be direct. It will be highly personal. And it will be passionate!

Paul Daleo is Senior VP of Fundraising at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. To learn more about multichannel fundraising, contact us at Answers@Innovairre.com. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Read more by Paul Daleo: Case study success, Fundraising game plan, Frontend premiums, and Mission trip.