Success Stories: The Underrated Videos That Just Might Seal the Deal

By Josh Gold

Let’s say you’ve just introduced a prospective donor to your culture and purpose in the Identity Film. They liked what you had to say; they think it looks interesting. Does that mean they’re ready to donate?

Probably not just yet. It’s going to take a little more work to bring them to the next stage of the funnel.

One type of video that I love to make for my clients in this situation is the Success Story. These are firsthand accounts from people you’ve helped. In short clips, they share their particular experiences and, indirectly, the personal insights they have into your activities.

They describe the challenges they’ve faced and overcome and how vital you were in that process. These videos work even better when created in sets, offering a diverse representation of your successes.

Helping to seal the deal

Success Stories give you a way to deepen and solidify the interest that prospective donors have shown in you. They act as reassurance that their initial positive impression was justified, encouraging them to commit more seriously.

How do they do it? These videos use small, vivid stories to put the big picture into a more easily digestible – and more affecting – form.

By focusing on individual narratives, you show why you matter to this man or this woman or this child – and, by implication, to everyone else out there whose story echoes theirs.

As each person describes their unique experiences, the viewer gains a fuller picture of all the different ways you are able to help.

While it can be impressive to cite the large numbers of people you’ve helped, your ability to make these individuals real is what allows you to touch the viewer emotionally. This makes it easier for them to see your cause as something they’d want to be personally involved in.

This video also acts as “social proof,” bringing in outsiders to validate your claims about your organization. They show that you can fulfill, and in fact have fulfilled, the promises that you’ve been making.

When prospective donors see this, they know that you’re not just talk and good intentions. You’re the real thing.

In all kinds of situations

Where and how do viewers encounter these videos? There are several likely scenarios.

1. On your website

If someone visited your website and watched your Identity Film, there’s a good chance they’ll want to continue browsing and see what else you have to say for yourself.

Many organizations already have a page filled with testimonials to help site visitors on this quest. Success Stories should be well-integrated into this page, brightening it up and letting visitors see and hear directly from those you’ve helped.

The videos should be laid out in an inviting way, framed by helpful copy that teases the content and ties each story back into your overall message.

2. Mailing list and social media

Even if a prospective donor hasn’t gone looking immediately for more information, there’s a good chance they’ve signed up for your mailing list or followed you on Facebook or some other social media platform.

In order to keep their interest flowing, you can set up several emails to be automatically triggered for new mailing list sign-ups: one to welcome the new member to the family and thank them for their interest; and then, in the days or weeks following this, emails that encourage them to continue learning about you: Read more about our mission. Got questions? See what we’re up to right here.

Similarly, posting Success Stories on social media will keep you relevant for prospective donors. They’ll remind them why they began to follow you and they’ll gradually strengthen the reasons for their support.

You’re looking to make them proud that they’ve already taken steps to be a part of your work – and to get them to consider participating more seriously.

Here, too, you should provide them with a call to action and the ability to easily donate or check you out further.

3. Oneonone

Success Stories can also be useful in the fundraising that you do up close and personally. In conversations with potential donors, these videos bring witnesses into the discussion to corroborate your claims.

If you have a good collection of Success Stories, you can even choose the videos that will resonate most closely with the beliefs or experiences of the person in front of you.

You can show them that you know what you’re doing. That you’re doing it well. And that your mission and approach are worth their wholehearted backing.

Wrapping it up

With these tools, you’re well-equipped to turn interest into commitment and bring a wider crowd fully and happily into the fold. You’re not inventing a new approach to selling yourself, here, but rather building trust and confidence in the pitch you’ve already made.

By being consistent and transparent, you can reassure prospective donors that the value you offer is real and worth investing in.

Want to take your fundraising to the next level? Serio Films offers a free email course on the subject. Learn more and sign up here.

Josh Gold, owner of Serio Films, has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars through video-based marketing. You can follow Josh and his team on Facebook.