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17 Nonprofit Explainer Videos To Inspire You

Your Nonprofit Needs a Nonprofit Explainer Video

How could we know that without even talking to you? Easy: we’ve seen how effective videos are in accomplishing our clients’ goals, no matter their industry. It could even be argued that nonprofit explainer videos reap more of a reward than for-profit company videos. That’s because people are moved by stories that matter. When the audience cares, they’re more likely to get involved. 

While for-profit companies are busy selling, chances are you’re out making a real difference in the world, and that’s something people want to get behind.

But how will people know what you’re up to if you don’t tell them? And what’s the best way to tell them? 

Whether you want to increase awareness, educate the world, recruit volunteers, or garner more donations, an explainer video is the way to do it. Nonprofit Explainer videos allow you to simply, succinctly tell the world who you are and why you matter.

Why Nonprofit Explainer Videos Are Effective

Whether we like it or not, people would rather watch videos than read these days. That’s why relying on video to tell your story is the way to go. You’ll reach the most amount of people and get them to care at the same time.

Beyond that, your nonprofit organization has a mission that’s meaningful. Like we said before, people are moved by compelling stories, especially if we connect to those stories on an emotional level.

No matter which non profit video production company you hire, make sure they understand how to make effective videos.

Some Ways Non Profit Organizations Use Explainer Videos

Fundraising – This is one of the most common uses for nonprofit explainer videos. If that’s something you’re looking to do this year, an explainer video is a great tool to have at the ready.

Educational content – A lot of nonprofit organizations have ideas they want to educate the world about. These are the think tanks, research organizations, or educational institutions. If your thing is ideas, explainer videos are a good idea for you. If you think your idea is too complex for a two minute video, let us prove you wrong.

Awareness raising – Maybe you don’t need funds but you do need more of the world to know that you exist. Having an explainer video to share with people is a great way to do that. 

Conferences – Share a video at an upcoming conference to kick things off. Highlight specific wins from the last year or communicate a message to the audience in a compelling way.

But Aren’t Videos, Like, Really Expensive?

There are many ways to cut costs and still get a useful video. Work with a nonprofit video production company who truly understands and believes in what you’re doing. Ask them about ways to come down on cost. If they’re unwilling to accommodate, there’s always another animated video production company out there who will.

Get creative when it comes to raising funds for your nonprofit video production! Convince people that video is the best way to reach people (link to stats article), that it has a long shelf-life, and that it can save you time and money down the road.

17 of the Best Nonprofit Explainer Videos

Okay let’s get to the videos. Here are some of the best examples of nonprofit videos we could find!

#1. The Girl Effect

Here’s a video that makes clever use of kinetic type and minimal illustrations to tell a compelling story. There’s no voice over which can be a great strategy to employ, considering how few people watch video with sound these days. 

The pared back color palette, music composition, and compelling subject matter all combine to make this a highly emotive piece of art that compels the audience to learn more. 

Animated explainer videos are a great solution for covering difficult subject matter like this because it allows you to tell the story without showing real people.

#2. Childline: First Step

We typically don’t recommend creating explainer videos that exceed 2 minutes. However, sometimes the story calls for it. This is a great example. 

While, in many ways, this isn’t a traditional explainer video, it’s highly effective because of the way they executed the concept they came up with. It uses abstract visuals to convey emotion and makes use of sound design to drive home the feelings of sexually abused children.

 Given how difficult it is to talk about this issue, the story required a unique visual approach to effectively reach children and make them feel like they have somewhere to turn.

#3. Downtown Raleigh Alliance

Here’s another video that doesn’t have a voice over, yet still gets the point across loud and clear. Coming it at one minute, it does everything the audience needs it to. 

By the end, you know a little more about things going on in Raleigh and if you live there, have more pride in your city. Nonprofit explainer videos are a great tool for cities to have at their disposal!

#4. The Impossible Hug

This is a topic most people aren’t thinking about very often. All the more reason to make a video that raises awareness! While there is a voice over for the video, it takes a unique approach regarding sound in that it doesn’t have music. Not using music, especially for such an emotional subject matter, is a risky move, but they’ve executed it perfectly.

 Instead of using music, it relies on the sound design and visuals to tell the story and convey the emotion. This video proves that sometimes creative risk-taking pays off.

#5. Exodus Cry

Even nonprofits with very heavy subject matter can leverage video to share their mission with the world. Here’s a perfect example. Exodus Cry exists to end human trafficking and this video is all about the connection between prostitution and human trafficking. 

Everything from the compelling music score to the detailed style and motion, makes this a compelling story that drives the audience to care and get involved. This video is proof that animated explainer videos can be as effective as live action in generating a strong emotional response (and at a fraction of the cost!).

#6. HIAS: For the Refuge

Here’s a beautiful video with a powerful message about refugees. It’s an effective example of high production value in action. The art alone makes you want to continue watching and keeps you engaged in what the story is about. 

While it isn’t overly emotional, the subject matter, compelling illustrations, and quality motion keep the viewer interested throughout the entire video.

#7. Letters Foundation

Sometimes nonprofits need a video that gives their audience a peak behind the curtain to see how their organization operates, like this video from The Letters Foundation.

It’s an organization established by siblings Doris and Warren Buffet that seeks to offer financial assistance to people who have fallen on hard times. The delightful style is easy on the eyes and gives the piece a whimsical feel which is perfect for this philanthropic organization’s brand.

#8. CV Humanitarian Travel

CV Humanitarian Travel is an interesting organization because though isn’t a nonprofit itself, it works on behalf of nonprofits doing humanitarian work. 

They are a travel agency that provides organizations and individuals with discounted airfare and streamlines the planning process of the trip. We really love the trendy style of this video!

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#9. Charity Water

Charity Water is a pretty well-known nonprofit organization trying to provide clean water to the millions of people who still don’t have it. This video effectively appeals to the audience by getting us to put ourselves in the shoes of those who don’t have access to clean water. 

We love this approach because empathy is really what gets your audience to care and ultimately, take the action you want them to take.

#10. Hope For New York

Hope For New York is a nonprofit that helps New Yorkers in need. The style of this video is sophisticated and streamlined, with the minimal color palette and consistent design throughout. 

However, its use of photography also makes it a multimedia approach to animation. This can be an effective strategy when it comes to animation because it breaks up the visual story just slightly which can help keep the audience engaged.

#11. Restore the Gore

This is an effective nonprofit explainer video because the message is clear and easy to follow. It starts by appealing to the audience’s love for nature, transitions into the problem, and then succinctly tell you the actions you can take to help. The story isn’t over-the-top emotional, but it does drive people to care and get involved.

#12. The Cause Story

Here is another example of an organization that helps nonprofits. The Cause comes alongside organizations that are just getting started and takes care of all the logistics so they can focus on the cause they’re passionate about. 

The animation style of this video is simple, clear, and gets the message across without losing the viewer in unnecessary details.

#13. America Off Balance

America’s debt is out of control. The Hoover Institution wanted to tell this story and spread the word about just how bad it is. 

They also created supplemental material to go along with the video; all of that material has the same style and feel as the animated video. 

This is a great example of a general PSA because they aren’t pushing people to give money or believe what they believe—they’re just challenging people to think about the issue and grasp the gravity of the situation.

#14. Fight for Survival

Here is proof that sometimes, shorter is better. This video comes in at 30 seconds but does everything it needs to. By the end, the audience knows what the organization is about and can go learn more if they want. 

The style of this one is also paired back which helps keep the audience focused on the message.

#15. Me Too Movement

A first person narrative approach is a powerful creative device when coupled with gripping animation. 

Everything about this video strikes the right emotion—from the music, to the way the woman tells her story, to the sound design. It all comes together to powerfully tell the story of countless women who suffer from sexual violence.

#16. CARE

This video is a little bit longer than we’d typically recommend but it works because they set up a compelling story that we get lost in which makes us want to keep watching to see what happens next.

 By the end, we not only understands what CARE is all about, but we care too and want to learn more.

#17. Hoover Institution

Hoover Institution is a think tank based out of Stanford University. This particular series, Policy Briefs, repurposes audio from lectures given by its organization’s scholars.

 It combines mixed media, kinetic type, and bright pops of color to take something that could be rather dull (lecture audio) and makes it fast-paced and engaging.

Final Thoughts

Every organization can benefit from video, including nonprofits. You’ve got a message that matters, a mission that people really want to support. Include video in your marketing strategy, no matter what goals you’re trying to achieve, and you’re sure to see results. Hire a nonprofit video production company who will come alongside you and develop your story from the ground up, utilizing whichever creative ideas are best for your particular goals.

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