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HOW TO: Create Videos for Your Nonprofit Without a Video Camera, a Budget of $0, and Little-to-No Tech Skills

October 1, 2009

Animoto is a service that allows you to create videos about your nonprofit using a selection of your organization’s best photos. Within a few minutes and a couple of clicks, your nonprofit could have a new promotional video that you can use on your Web site, your Blog, in your e-mail newsletters, and on social networking sites. An Animoto video created by the American Cancer Society is good example of how photos, music, and simple text can tell a story and convey a message of gratitude to donors and supporters:


The first step is to create an account. Then click “Create Video” and upload 15 photos for a 30-second video. Then choose a song from Animoto’s music gallery and finally click “Create Video”. That’s it! Animoto automatically then creates a slideshow of your photos synchronized to the tempo of the music you have chosen. You can also embed text in your Animotos videos. To prove how easy Animoto is to use, as I was writing this blog post I created a video about our new kittens that can be viewed on my Animoto profile:

A couple of things to notice:

1) People can “Share” your videos on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and via E-mail with one-click. People can also copy and paste embed code for the video allowing them or you to post the video essentially anywhere on the Web.
2) People can leave comments.
3) You can see how many people have viewed the video.

There are all kinds of ways your nonprofit could use Animoto videos: an overview of your organization’s mission, your annual gala, for the launch of a new program, featuring staff at work in the office or at events, etc. The possibilities are endless, and we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet which is that Animoto offers free Pro Accounts to nonprofit organizations. All you need to do is apply to their Animoto for a Cause program. Once approved, you can then add Call-to-Action buttons and links to your videos to help receive online donations and drive traffic your Web site.

Animoto has some additional features that allow you to get deeper into creating unique Animoto videos including an iPhone App that allows you to create videos on the go, and a Facebook App that creates videos for your organization’s Facebook Page using photos from your Page’s albums. You can also easily create an “Animoto” Tab for your Page under “Application Settings”.

Finally, for those nonprofits that do have video clips, you can use Animoto to create videos that combine photos and video clips. See Mashable’s Animoto Now Lets You Remix Video Clips; It’s Simply Awesome for more information and an example.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2009 6:54 am

    Thank you for posting information about this service, what an incredible lead to share. Video is such a powerful way to convey a message, but if you don’t have the equipment, expertise or money (or the TIME) to do it, it’s usually an avenue shut off for small 501(c)(3)s like us. This could help us add a very valuable piece of media to our outreach and education efforts, so thank you again!

  2. October 5, 2009 4:46 pm

    Another wonderful resource, and you make these things SO easy to figure out. Thank you!

  3. October 6, 2009 5:43 am

    Thanks for the fabulous tip, Heather!

  4. October 6, 2009 7:57 am

    Very interesting. We are just starting with video and I think this will be a nice and easier complement. Thanks as always for your great tips.

  5. Sharon Crost permalink
    October 12, 2009 7:13 pm

    Thanks for this great info. I tried creating a digital story for our community action agency and it was fast and simple. Our team felt it was quite professional looking! I’m still trying to figure out how to post it to youtube or embed it on our site without the animoto promo, but this was a great start to rally our novice team. This helped us learn how easy it can be to tell a story via video.

  6. October 15, 2009 8:07 am

    Gracias por esta valiosa información! Por lo que mencionas, es ideal para ONG’s. Me atraveré a probarlo, sobre todo en Facebook.

    Gracias nuevamente!

  7. October 15, 2009 9:08 am

    Here at Shangri-La, we’ve been using Animoto to promote and highlight our organization’s activities. We use it many posts on our blog and also produce DVDs from the footage to distribute to clients and staff. The great thing about Animoto is that you can email the link and people can then forward it to others and so on. And it’s free for non-profits! What’s not to love about it?!! 🙂

    Feel free to visit our blog to see examples of how we are using it.

  8. November 4, 2009 8:18 am

    Great, positive piece… with a user-friendly option for nonprofits who realize that video helps convey a message in a rich, emotional way.

    Another idea for groups without the budget to hire… there are many video folk–myself among them–looking for pro bono opportunities to help worthy charities and nonprofits.


  9. November 13, 2009 9:07 am

    We have video clips that we have created already but Animoto seems like such an easy, cost-effective way to do this! Great tips. Thank you and hopefully we will be on our way to creating great promotional video clips using Animoto.

  10. jonathanwylie permalink
    November 28, 2009 6:53 pm

    Teacher can get free Animoto accounts that give them the equivalent of the all access pass, so no 30 second video limit. Check out this link to learn how…

  11. March 16, 2010 6:00 pm

    Very helpful especially for those who are just starting to make short films. It is very helpful and it allows a person with great ideas to really make his ideas realized. In relation to that, there’s a free platform called Spidvid that allows video production individuals to connect, collaborate and work on various projects. Very good community for starters and experts alike to engage into.

  12. April 25, 2010 10:12 am

    I’ve been struggling with the Windows Video Maker. This looks a lot better. Thanks for the tip.

  13. November 4, 2010 5:08 am

    watching video clips on youtube have been may past time, Youtube have the most free video clips to watch on the internet::

  14. May 13, 2011 5:38 pm

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