How to Make a Non-Profit Promo Video

Do you want to help your community? Are you just dying to use your brain and visual storytelling talents and your resources and your big awesome heart to make a difference somehow? Good! I've got just the thing to help. This video, brought to you by our friends What Took You So Long? highlights some of the keys tips for creating short films to promote your non-profit organization or project.

The video gives an intuitive set of helpful tips and insider tricks for making a successful video to promote your cause. The tips are broken into three effective categories, as follows:

I. Directing and Producing

In this category, we learn some of the essential directorial and production tricks to ALWAYS keep in mind when creating a promotional video. This includes information about aesthetics of the scenery, methods of community involvement, and successful thematic elements. Thinking through more specific film techniques such as POV as well as shot variety can be essential to creating an engaging video.

This video, from the amazing organization Helping Hands, is a prime example of well-directed, informational, and personal video promoting a service. Also, there are monkeys.

II. Shooting in the Field

Here, we learn the more technical tricks of the trade. We should always be aware of how we shoot and what we shoot. We learn to be spontaneous and inventive, improvise when we can, frame natural and amazing things the right way, and always have our bases covered with B-roll footage.

III. Editing

This part of the process can be tricky, but we get some helpful hints to keep things simple and effective in the editing process. How should the editing be paced? How should we handle title cards? How can we be most creative in our sound cutting?

Check out this video from an organization called charity: water, which is a great example of quick cuts and clear, concise information straight from the source:

You all know that here at Vimeo, we are believers and supporters of a strong, vibrant community. Interacting with each other, learning from each other, appreciating each other– it's what we love to do! Let this lesson help you to transfer these community-driven ideals into your filmmaking and create something that can help, something that's inspired, something that can change the world!



nate makes films

nate makes films Plus

Love it! thank you so much. I'm looking for some nonprofits right now that might be in need of a video. This lesson really makes me want to get out there and get to work.
Thanks again!

Hana Backland

Hana Backland Plus

Brilliant! Nice one Vimeo People. Although please don't forget that some professional filmmakers earn their living working for non profit, education & community organisations at fair rates for the efforts they put in. We're all for sharing the love & providing good quality products but like any area of the industry.. be careful not to devalue others by offering your services for free. Thank you! :)


Videaux Plus

Totally agree. But many just don't have the budget (small ones, or social entrepreneurs for example..). I think a video like the one What Took You So Long made will help small ones : if you're Care of Red Cross, you don't make the video yourself.. But you're right, this should target NGO that are "out of the market".

issac dhan

issac dhan

People can arrange budget. If they don't have money how will they do further work ? (reality is they can pay, give them prospective) . If they have to buy car they don't think they will buy 2-3 low cost mopped, after-all the purpose is carrying 6 people Anyone will always look for low budget. It's not customer's wrong expectation or movie maker's mistake, he felt that rate is good or doing free is good. In that case someone may think he may take most of the work but hey, if that is true he will be busy every-time (because of his free services) and soon go bankrupt (because he earned nothing) and out of business also. Think about low rate, that fallow may be always busy but he will have to refuse many new proposal (because of present commitments) so logically customer will go to other person. There is always a demand which you can supply happily. Search for it. So Man don't worry. whatever the situation is , if you are good in doing business you will make money.

Dollarmixbag / Ash Robinson

Dollarmixbag / Ash Robinson Plus

Here's a vid I made for freeeeeeee...
As much to give myself the creative freedom to do something better than 'what the client thinks they want' as it was to actually help a social enterprise get more exposure. Win-win!
Right, back to the real world of greenscreened product info vids :(
but thanks for the procrastination excuse!



nice work from What Took You So Long?

Owen Kilgour

Owen Kilgour Plus

Thanks for sharing this great tutorial with us. Here's a promotional piece I shot for the United Nations Women's Guild in Vienna, .

A. M. Albaugh

A. M. Albaugh

I have a question about how freelance videographers can find work from non-profits - are there web sites to go to, or is it more "you approach them" or "they approach you"?

What Took You So Long?

What Took You So Long? PRO

It's both, reach out to ones that you like, make a good video with them, and then more should come your way!


Videaux Plus

Yeah the need of videos is huge! Thx to the staff for this article ;)

Brenda Neal

Brenda Neal

This is great..Thanks Vimeo. Does anyone know where non-profits can go to find free-lance videographers that can provide services at a reasonable (low budget) cost?

Cinematic Images Group

Cinematic Images Group PRO

Brenda, as a CSR/Community Relations/Non-profit focused production company, we are fair priced and valued for our commitment to doing videos that, while are 3 to 5 minute documentories at heart, it is still a business that is not just about giving it away. SCR, Community Relations, and Non-Profit need to understand while we give a great deal in value, it is not for free but is very afordable. I go all over the world and if you look at the two videos below, you will understand the value and quality I provide. ,They are all shot, directed, produced and edited by one person, me.

Contact me for more information at:

Brad W. Smith
Exec Producer

Willoughby Films

Willoughby Films Plus

"It's more than a school..."

That turned out to be the theme of a video I made for a Catholic school in the Boston area. Very well received and a proud addition to my portfolio.

Please check it out here:



Hi Everyone, I am in Melbourne and looking for people/companies that are interested in making a promotional video for my non for profit program, We have funding to get a video made, but I am unsure where I would begin looking for filming people!!!! If anyone can point me in the right direction that would be great!!!!


Vartika Singh

Vartika Singh Plus

Hi Chloe,

I'd be glad to assist you in any way I can from India :)

Aghaonu Johnbosco

Aghaonu Johnbosco

PLS dear ,i am Johnbosco from about start non-profit organization could help tp me make one. inbox me at

Vartika Singh

Vartika Singh Plus

Thanks a ton 'what took you so long'.

Here's a film I made for a Non-profit org that's working in the villages of Rajasthan, India


Int Bel

Int Bel

Thanks. Some useful tips and info.


Shiply PRO

Great tips and amazing video examples too.

Máté Szabó

Máté Szabó

Okay i may have a bit dumb question here its really about the first video. I really like these soft raw-like images with this not vivid color tone. What do you recommend to capture the same (or something like that) color tone (i know it wouldnt have the same depth details) with a 5dmkii? I know that there is the CineStyle color profile, or maybe something could be achieved with color correction, but what is your advice? ("buy a Black magic or a Red or a C300" i dont take for an answer:))

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Lesson Summary

Learn how to make a captivating video for your non-profit organization.

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