The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 24

How to Use Video to Engage Supporters, with Michael Hoffman

In this Episode:

The worlds of online and even traditional media are crowded with information and misinformation. Competition for attention is at an all-time high and trust, arguably, at all-time lows. Creating genuine connections and convincing people to support your cause only gets harder every day. One of the most effective mediums for conveying stories that drive empathy and action today, is video. Once reserved for big-budget galas, video is increasingly accessible. In fact, most of us carry powerful video cameras in our pockets all the time.

This week’s Nonprofit Hero Factory guest, Michael Hoffman, is on a mission to make capturing a nonprofit’s communities’ stories through video as easy as visiting a website or pulling out your phone. Michael joins Boris to talk about why video works, best practices, and how to get the most out of your nonprofit’s stories to create more heroes for your cause.

Listen to this Episode

[00:00:18.750] – Intro Video
Welcome to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast, and podcast. Where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better word for all of us. Da-Ding!

[00:00:20.970] – Boris
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. Today, we’re going to talk about something that I’ve been passionate about for many years, even before I ever got into the world of nonprofits. As many of you know, if you’ve been following the show or anything that I’ve done, I talk a lot about Hollywood and filmmaking. And while the Hollywood storytelling formula can really be applied to most any type of communication. Video, specifically, of course, Hollywood focuses on more than all.

[00:00:46.770] – Boris
And there’s some reason for that, of course. And today we have a guest that has done a lot of things in the world of nonprofit, nonprofit consulting and marketing. But he is now focusing on video specifically. So I brought him on to talk about why he’s focusing on video. What is it that’s best practice, if you will, for nonprofits to be thinking about at this point. Let me tell you a little bit about Michael Hoffman.

[00:01:12.660] – Boris
He is the CEO and co-founder of Gather Voices, which is a technology that automates the creation, management, and publishing of video content. He is also the founder of C3 Communications, a digital marketing strategy for nonprofits and the founder of the DoGooder Video Awards, which honors the best social cause videos each year. Michael teaches marketing at the University of Chicago and is an internationally sought after speaker and trainer who is a trusted advisor to nonprofit leaders on engagement strategy, which coincidentally is what we’re going to talk to him today about.

[00:01:46.710] – Boris
When I asked him his superpower, Michael says it’s enabling nonprofits to tell powerful stories that put donors at the center. And when nonprofits become the mentor to the donor hero, powerful things happen. Which I completely agree with. So with that said, let’s bring Michael on to the show.

[00:02:05.280] – Michael Hoffman
Hi there.

[00:02:06.330] – Boris
Hey, Michael, thanks for joining me today. How are you doing?

[00:02:09.180] – Michael Hoffman
Thanks for having me. I’m doing great. I’m doing great. I’m glad to be here.

[00:02:12.600] – Boris
So as I just read to everybody, your bio, but as I always like to say, can you tell us your story?

[00:02:19.070] – Michael Hoffman
Sure. Yeah. Well, I love that the show—thank you for having me on—and I love that the show is called the Nonprofit Hero Factory, because we need to put the other people in—constituents in—that role of hero. Right? And not the organization and that… and create lots of heroes for the cause. So I just love that because it absolutely corresponds to my world view and the things that I work on and teach and all of that.

[00:02:47.040] – Michael Hoffman
So and all of that just briefly started… I was a nonprofit fundraiser for years in Washington, D.C. I then spent about six years doing venture capital Internet companies. I took that experience to start a digital marketing agency just working with nonprofits, social causes. So, C3 is still around doing great work. And I’ve spent a lot of time with organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and Make a Wish and others helping them with everything from web, video, and strategy.

[00:03:19.590] – Michael Hoffman
And I’m doing what I’m doing now at Gather Voices because it became painfully obvious to me in the seat of a consultant that we just couldn’t scale video production the way that organizations really need in a world where video is so dominant. And so I and some other folks thought about what what could we do to help there? And we came up with technology instead of just services to be able to do that.

[00:03:49.380] – Boris
That’s awesome. I mean, I’m a huge advocate of technology and creating or implementing tools that already exist in order to augment an organization’s efforts so that they can create greater impact without utilizing relatively similar levels of resources that it would take if it was the hand-to-hand combat on the ground. So it’s great that you’re focused on this, but why video specifically?

[00:04:17.030] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah, one of the things that I did when I started C3 Communications, which was 15 years ago, was really focus on video production for nonprofits. And that was because at the time broadband had just become something that wiped out dial up Internet. And the Internet really changed from a service that just connected people and had a lot of text and email and other things to a distribution platform for video. And we knew that that was not only coming, but that would really come to dominate.

[00:04:55.440] – Michael Hoffman
And so when when I built the agency, we built it with a strong video production and storytelling at the core. In fact, my co-founder of C3 Communications is a guy named Danny Alpert, who is a top social issue documentary filmmaker in the country, making really important films for television and around social issues. And so we really thought, well, this is what organizations need and will need, even more so in the future. So I’ve always had video as a centerpiece of what I’ve been interested in, and we’ve only seen that become more prevalent. Right?

[00:05:32.160] – Michael Hoffman
And it’s, you know, a lot of it’s driven by these devices that we have in our pockets that we still call phones, but they’re really supercomputers with professional video cameras in them. And we, you know, people are getting really comfortable making and watching videos on their devices. And the question is, well, how do we leverage that for our causes?

[00:05:56.180] – Boris
So how do we leverage that for our cause? Why—and video is great and I love video for so many different reasons—but the same story can be told many different ways. Right? And you could use different media to tell a story. The technology that we have today, you’re absolutely right. We have all of these tools that are so readily available to us and that we’re increasingly comfortable using. The Internet can, of course, facilitate all of the different media that has pretty much ever existed in one way or another.

[00:06:28.810] – Boris
Of course not… not the same as, for example, going to a museum or seeing a live show. But why do you think video is the best place to focus when collecting stories versus just, say, a text form or some kind of written content?

[00:06:45.250] – Michael Hoffman
Right. I mean, I think it’s really starts from just the impact. We see that video gets 1200% more shares than images or text on social media. And we see that 88% more time is spent on websites that have—web pages that have video on them than web pages that don’t have video on them. Right? And we know that you can get 2 to 3 times the click throughs in your emails when you put a video thumbnail in that email, because people are much more likely to want to click to watch that video than to some other link where what they don’t know what they’re going to see.

[00:07:21.700] – Michael Hoffman
So that’s really the big driver, is that we need to engage people around our causes. And video is the kind of content that’s engaging people more. So that’s the one level. I think another level is that we’ve really seen a bunch of trends come together, one of which is the lack of trust in institutions and media and government. And so we’re in a world where the brands aren’t trusted the way that they used to be. And really people trust people and peers.

[00:08:00.010] – Michael Hoffman
And so I think it’s another thing that’s happening is we have to step out in front of our brand voices with real people and those real people, and the stories from real people that are authentic, that feel like they’re not manufactured by a marketing team are the things that work better as well.

[00:08:20.980] – Michael Hoffman
So if you sort of take the video working well and you take the authentic stories, part of real people working well and you put those things together, you know, that’s what we’re focused on because that’s where we see the impact.

[00:08:36.490] – Boris
Absolutely. I’m so glad you shared all those numbers and statistics on how much more effective video usage is in terms of creating heroes, in terms of creating engagement and connection. You know, aside from a one-to-one conversation in person, a one to one conversation over the Internet with video is probably the second best way to actually make a connection with a person. And watching someone is very different than just reading their story, because if their story’s well written, you can convey all the emotions and the imagination gets stimulated and it can be really, really powerful.

[00:09:14.500] – Boris
But seeing someone who has experienced something and seeing their facial expressions, hearing their emotion in their voice is just always a much more immediate driver of empathy. Releases that oxytocin like nothing else so that you trust—and that’s a huge thing that you just mentioned. Social proof and trust building factors are critical these days with so many people claiming so many different things or vying for attention. That connection that you could make through a good story well told is going to make all the difference every time.

[00:09:52.360] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah, and I think there’s another layer to it also, which is that everyone who’s affiliated with your organization or your cause filters that work through their own life experience and story. And so you sitting in a kind of a marketing fundraising communications seat, we are trying to think of what people might want to hear, what might move people. But when we simply give up on that and say, well, if we collect the stories from real people and let them tell their authentic journey that got them to care about this, that’s going to be unique for each person that we get that from.

[00:10:33.910] – Michael Hoffman
And that’s what’s going to resonate with different people. They’re going to say, I didn’t realize this was such a huge problem in the world and I didn’t realize I could do something about it. And then I found this organization and they helped me realize that I actually had a lot more power and influence and impact than I thought I could ever have. And that’s exactly that hero’s story which the Hero Factory is saying. I need you to look at yourself not as an ordinary person in the ordinary world, but someone who can actually do heroic things through the organization.

[00:11:14.980] – Michael Hoffman
And so the organization will help you reveal the power that you have, that you didn’t even realize you have. Right? And like getting the more people that can tell that story, the more proof points, the more trust that that has. And as you said with video, there’s a realness to it. People can feel whether that’s real or not, with video in a different way.

[00:11:40.270] – Michael Hoffman
And we’re so lucky as organizations today. We’re so lucky because when I started See3 years ago, everything had to be beautifully shot and expensively produced and all of that. We don’t have to do that. I mean, there’s good reasons to do that sometimes and to have a kind of pyramid where you have a few pieces of tentpole content during the year, let’s say. But you can do so much with the devices in your pocket, with the webcam that we’re both using, like that’s new and that’s really powerful.

[00:12:14.530] – Michael Hoffman
And that gives small organizations an edge. Because, you know, I always say this to organizations that I that I work with. You know, if Nike can tell a story that’s going to make you cry and they sell shoes and clothes, like think about what you can do with the real issues and real people and stuff that matters. You know, it’s it’s like we have such assets in this world of nonprofits in terms of storytelling, and we just have to let them out and be less worried and guarded about those real stories, because sometimes real stories are also a little bit messy.

[00:12:50.480] – Boris
Absolutely, there’s a few things that I’d love to touch on that you just spoke about. So one of the things that I teach organizations and help them figure out is their content source map, basically. So a lot of organizations have a small if even a dedicated marketing team. And they’re often overwhelmed trying to get all of the stories together, trying to create the stories, think of the stories, as you were just saying. And so I walk them through a process where I help them identify all the different types of people that they could possibly source stories from that are connected to their organization already, whether they’re donors or board members or volunteers or beneficiaries of their services and various points in between.

[00:13:35.330] – Boris
Those are all going to have, as you said, a different point of view. Right? In filmmaking, we have different angles and different POV shots. So everybody’s point of view is going to be slightly unique, at least slightly unique. And it’s going to have its own connection that people who are similar to them might resonate with. The other thing that you were talking about with the technology and whether we need professionally produced video… completely agree, again.

[00:14:03.420] – Boris
Yes, there’s that what you call tentpole content at maybe a gala. You want a professionally produced video that looks like you’re doing high-quality work. But oftentimes that level of production is counterproductive when it comes to a direct appeal. You want that raw kind of emotional energy, that unfiltered look, rather than something that’s smooth and polished because it’s harder to connect to something smooth and polished than it is to just a person talking on whatever device it is, not looking perfectly lit with a green screen like I’ve got in here. And it’s actually more effective for some campaigns.

[00:14:42.660] – Boris
So I want to touch on two things now that kind of spawned from that. The first is, we now have, I think, the opposite problem of what we had when you started to See3, like you were saying, where video was difficult to make and expensive to make. And everybody is now jumping on the video bandwagon and Facebook is flooded with video. They used to promote it more. I think they still do promote it more in the algorithm.

[00:15:09.810] – Boris
Instagram is all about the video. Obviously, TikTok is nothing but video. So now there is almost too much out there. How does an organization, first of all, prioritize which videos they put out and second of all, figure out where they could use those videos most effectively?

[00:15:30.930] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s the right question. We think the world, we see a world totally awash in video. Right? And you kind of go, well, ah, we had sort of peak video? And the answer to that, I think is no, that we’re not even there yet. And I say that because when I go and see a speaker’s page at a conference. Right, all the different sessions, session listing, mostly it’s just a bunch of text. And I’m not hearing from those people who are speaking or when I get emails from nonprofits. I’m on many email lists, so I can see what everyone’s doing. How often is it just a big block of text? And “most often” is the answer to that. And so there’s so much room to put video in the places that we’re trying to engage people.

[00:16:23.310] – Michael Hoffman
So I think on the one hand, don’t be scared away by the noise that there is. There is a lot of noise out there. And you also have to know who’s your audience. And and so you have to go where your audience is.

[00:16:38.490] – Michael Hoffman
You know, I’ve had so many organizations. I’m sure you’ve had this experience as well, where organizations like, you know, we want to be on TikTok. And you say, well, your average donor is a 70-year-old woman. Is this where you think you’re going to increase that market? And it’s like, “well, we want to have younger donors.” It’s like, great, let’s go for 50-year-old women this time. You know, I mean, you have to be strategic about these things and really say, well, who are we targeting and why and where do those people live online and what ways and what are the things that are going to connect to them.

[00:17:21.630] – Michael Hoffman
One of the things that we’re excited about in Gather Voices, where we have technology that can get lots of video from lots of people, is that, there’s no downside to getting as many people as possible to tell their story. Because a couple of things happen there. One is you get all this content. You don’t have to use all of it, but you get a lot of content regularly instead of chasing after content that you need in that moment.

[00:17:50.100] – Michael Hoffman
The other thing is simply asking someone to share their story strengthens the relationship that you have with that person. And I think this is a really important point. It’s like the content itself is useful because of how it could move others. But the asking for the content is powerful in saying you care about what these people’s experience are. You care about what they think, you care about who they are and you’re lifting that up. So I think the idea of building video collection into lots of touch points that you already have is a much better long-term strategy than let’s chase some people because we have this initiative coming up.

[00:18:34.230] – Michael Hoffman
And so when I say long term, I think of like, every donor… on a thank you page, it says click here to record a video and tell us why you care about this. You know why you care about this cause, like what brings you, right? Like just creating a culture of saying, we want to listen, we care what you think. You know, that can have real impact.

[00:18:55.470] – Boris
Absolutely. Though you have to be careful that when you say we care, we want to know what you think, that you can actually respond to that as well. There’s … the only thing worse, I think, than not asking people for their input and and helping them feel like a part of the movement, a part of the cause, a part of the community is to ask them and then ignore them.

[00:19:18.000] – Michael Hoffman
I totally agree with that. I totally agree. And I think, you know, that doesn’t mean that every video lands on your homepage. Right? There are lots of ways to make people feel and genuinely care of what they think. And the value of it is so powerful as well, just in terms of intelligence. Like to really understand what’s the intersection between these different people in their lives and in the organization that we care about.

[00:19:47.610] – Michael Hoffman
You know, I like what you were saying about thinking about all the different storytellers. It reminds me of work that I got to do with Make a Wish, where and the production quality issue, where you make a wish for many years had one story, which was this wish story where you have the wish kid getting their wish and everybody’s happy. And it’s like a really great story. But that was it. Like that’s all you ever saw about Make a Wish was like that big reveal moment of that which kept getting their story.

[00:20:18.390] – Michael Hoffman
And you know what the problem with that is? That resonates with some people. But mostly you look at that and you go, that’s great. You have it all figured out. What do you need us for? Right? Like, there’s no there’s no sense of need in there because the organization’s already done this thing that’s powerful and has impact. And I can watch from the sidelines and it’s fine. But it also doesn’t show my role. If I’m a volunteer or I’m a donor, what do I have to do with that?

[00:20:46.560] – Michael Hoffman
It doesn’t look like anything. It’s own contained thing. And so what we did with Make a Wish was really say to them, you have permission to tell other stories even though you want to be child centric, which was like, this weird child centric, kept them in that box because they’re like, oh, we can’t tell stories about anybody else. It’s like, no, that’s not what we mean by child centric. Child centric means it’s all on behalf of the kids.

[00:21:10.770] – Michael Hoffman
That doesn’t mean you can’t tell their stories. So a great example was once they once they really internalize this idea, they did the most incredible video and I will find it for the shownotes. It’s the most incredible video of a volunteer. Because Make a Wish, which is one of the few organizations where the real work gets done by volunteers, a lot of the real work gets done by volunteers. And so they had this volunteer and the guy at the beginning of video, he’s like, I get really weirded out by sick kids.

[00:21:40.230] – Michael Hoffman
Like, I don’t think I can be in a room with somebody who’s really sick, you know? And but then I went in and I met this kid, Noah and I, we fell in love. It was like the most incredible thing. And then he tells this whole story about how he did this, rebuilt this kid’s house so that the kid could get access to the outside with his wheelchair. Right? But they would have never thought that it was OK to have a volunteer go, “I don’t know about this being with the kids thing.” But what that ended up doing was giving voice to the same emotional journey that so many other people had, which is why “I don’t want to get involved, because I don’t think I can deal with it” and how he got through that and how he experienced it.

[00:22:28.000] – Michael Hoffman
And that led to more volunteers, right? That’s what they needed, volunteer recruitment. So you have to tell the stories of the people that you want to activate. Again, if you have a story and there’s no donor agency in that story, that doesn’t mean the whole story has to be about the donor. But if there’s no sense that it was the donor that made it possible. Then no donor is going to get activated by it, right? And if there’s no sense of the volunteer, the volunteers are going to activated by it. So I don’t know. Tell me if that’s in line with your experience.

[00:23:00.320] – Boris
Oh, that’s absolutely my experience. That’s absolutely what I teach day in, day out. You know, people will respond to other people who are more like them, who are in a similar position to them, who feel the way that they do. And you need to definitely empower them and make it seem like you can become a hero. And we are not the heroes.

[00:23:22.880] – Boris
The nonprofit is not the hero. And I think that’s how it was coming off on that Make a Wish video that you’re talking about before you guys came in. That the nonprofit is the hero. “Look at the great work we do and oh, you should help us.” Rather than, “our volunteers are heroes who make these wishes come true. And you can also be volunteer even if before you may have thought that, oh, it’s really difficult to be in a room with sick children.” You reminded me of that Sally Struthers campaign so many years ago that said, for the price of a cup of coffee a day, you could feed every child.

[00:23:58.970] – Boris
And it was very effective, I’m sure. But at the same time, it turned a lot of people off. When that commercial would come on, it was so sad and so manipulative that people would change the channel. And that’s not necessary. You don’t have to just, in that case, it really was exploit the beneficiaries, exploit the people who are having the problem in order to say there is a problem and you can help.

[00:24:25.640] – Michael Hoffman
The other piece about that. I think that doesn’t work is that the ask has to be commensurate with the challenge. If I say to you, millions of kids are dying in Africa of hunger and you can give me the price of a cup of coffee, there’s a mismatch there. It’s like, yeah, I don’t think I’m going to really have a big impact on that problem, you know? And so I think that’s another piece of it. But I love what you just said about about Make a Wish and that because that was actually the first thing that we did with them was their mission statement said, Make a Wish, grants the wishes of children.

[00:24:59.960] – Michael Hoffman
And we were like, no, make a wish, doesn’t it? Thousands, tens of thousands of volunteers and donors grant the wishes of children. That’s who does it. It’s Make a Wish that makes it possible. But it’s the heroes are not it’s not the organization, because then you put your donor as the sidekick and nobody wants to be a sidekick. Nobody wants to be Robin, sorry.

[00:25:21.560] – Boris
That’s true. That’s true. Although I was just randomly reading an article that Matt Damon did want to be Robin and kept auditioning and they kept turning him down. And in the end, it’s really a good thing because the guys who did play Robin never actually went too far in their careers. Sorry, total side note. Let’s come back to…

[00:25:43.570] – Boris
All right, video is powerful. Appeals from and in stories from people on all different levels within the organization are vital and can be used super effectively. What makes a good video story? What are the elements that a story on video specifically? And I mean, I could talk for days about this stuff… from your perspective and what’s been working for you guys, what’s necessary in there for it to be effective?

[00:26:11.810] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a couple of levels of that. I would say. Let me just start with production side of things. You know, people we don’t need fancy produced video, but we need good sound. So I would say if you’re going to focus on anything, you know, it’s sound and light and sound, especially. That people will watch bad video with good sound. They will not watch good video, bad sounds, it’s too frustrating.

[00:26:35.570] – Michael Hoffman
So just simply having quiet places, an external microphone, that’s very inexpensive, other ways to get good sound. So I would say that just as a production note. Go ahead.

[00:26:47.540] – Boris
Let me pause you right there, because absolutely. And I learned this in Hollywood so many years ago that’s number one thing. Do you advise organizations to send out external microphones for things because not everybody has one?

[00:26:59.480] – Michael Hoffman
Not necessarily. I mean, I think it depends on the circumstance. So I think if you’re recording at an event, you better have a setup that will deal with the surrounding noise and things like that. One of the things we’ve done in our software actually is we have when you when we get people to record themselves using their own phones, we have a frame of their face in the middle. And people are like, oh, so that they put their face there.

[00:27:25.610] – Michael Hoffman
And I was like, yeah, but really. So that they size it right, so it’s close enough to get the good sound. And so I think, I think there’s ways to get good sound, but it’s definitely something to make people aware of. And if you can, you know, the other thing we’ve built into the software is also a warning that says it seems loud in there. Maybe you want to move to a quiet place.

[00:27:46.670] – Michael Hoffman
So I think again. Depending on the use of the of the things, it sometimes makes sense to send equipment out to people not always necessary if you give them the right framework to do it.

[00:27:58.570] – Boris
OK, so we’ve got sound. We need great sound. Absolutely. What else?

[00:28:02.470] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah. I mean, the other thing is just a compelling personal story with no fluff. I think there’s a there’s a tendency in people who fancy themselves video makers to have like intros, and things that take some time to get into it. And that’s nice if you’re sitting down to watch Game of Thrones or something. But in our world, online mostly get right to it, like jump right in to whatever that piece is, and cut your story so that, you know, that you that you grab people in the first few seconds because you can lose people so fast online.

[00:28:40.440] – Michael Hoffman
You know that’s that’s an example. So, so that’s really I mean those are the big things I would say. I think when you let people tell their own authentic stories, you get a mix of things. But that’s 99% of the time better than the story you’re going to try to manipulate or craft.

[00:28:58.810] – Boris
Interesting. I worked with an organization here in the New York metro area where we were trying to find videos and video stories, basically soliciting stories. And what I found helpful in that case, and I don’t know if you guys do this… Before they ever actually turned on the camera, we had them write out answers to certain questions that would trigger a storytelling formula. First of all, a beginning, middle and end, if you will, with that conflict or not conflict, but challenges, whatever they might be, and also get them really thinking about those elements before they start.

[00:29:35.540] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah, I love that idea. I think that’s a great idea. And another way to do that is also and that creates some ease’s is more in the social proof vein, which is showing other people’s stories. And so people go, oh, that person did a video, I can do a video. That person tell a story. I see how they told the story about how long it is. So, again, modeling that behavior that you want from them.

[00:29:57.760] – Boris
That’s an awesome idea. I actually hadn’t thought of that. I use templates and other things, but why not give somebody a model to say, hey, here’s a sample video of the kind of testimonial that we’re looking for, the kind of story that we’re looking for right now. It’s about the right length. Here are some questions that you can think about, and now go.

[00:30:15.400] – Michael Hoffman
What’s your version of this? Because I think that’s what holds people back. A lot is going in their minds, “I’m not sure what Boris wants from me.”

[00:30:24.250] – Boris
A blank canvas.

[00:30:25.720] – Michael Hoffman
And so the more you can make people feel at ease with that, the better.

[00:30:30.510] – Boris
Really cool. So if organizations haven’t started doing this and right now, as we all know, the pandemic is surging again, so it’s difficult to get out and go video record somebody. And there are plenty of tools like Gather Voices being one of the best ones that I’ve seen personally. I enjoyed playing with your platform. Where should they get started? How should an organization get started in collecting these stories?

[00:30:57.810] – Michael Hoffman
I mean, I think the first piece is just a leadership, an organization-wide belief that it’s important to do it. So number one is like a commitment. We’re going to do it like that’s gotta—that’s where it starts. And then there’s no excuse whether you have technology or not. There’s no excuse because everybody has these devices, the shoot powerful stories. So the idea of asking people, starting with your closest circle, starting with your board members, starting with your long-term donors, starting with your, you know, the staff. It’s like just start where it’s easiest to start and work your way out from there.

[00:31:38.080] – Boris
Awesome. So I ask everybody if there are any tools that they recommend nonprofits check out, is there anything that you think would help them in this vein?

[00:31:50.470] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah, I mean, I think one, I will just say we give a lot of free content away at Gather Voice on these subjects. So there’s just a ton of content on our blog and things like that and on LinkedIn and other places where we publish, really just trying to take what’s working that we see working and sharing that. So I think that’s one piece. And then I think that there’s a bigger—so that’s around video. I think in just in terms of organizational development and growth mindset, I’m really at this moment, I’m really into this book called Scaling Up by Verne Harnish.

[00:32:30.700] – Michael Hoffman
It’s really a management book, but it’s really all about just being organized and how you think about growth. And I think so many nonprofits have a scarcity mindset. And if they really take some pieces of what quick growing businesses do, they can think differently about it. And that puts some of these tactics like getting more video from people at the forefront, because you really have to start thinking about how do we get our story out there more aggressively? How do we grow? What does that mean? You know, what are we trying to accomplish and what’s the path to get there and being more organized about it? So, yeah, there’s there’s there’s a lot of great tools out there.

[00:33:16.120] – Boris
Awesome. We’ll make sure to link to all of those in the show notes, as well as the video that you said you were going to send us that you guys helped create for Make a Wish. When folks are done watching this, besides, of course, subscribing to my newsletter and leaving a great review for this podcast, what should they do to follow up with you?

[00:33:34.240] – Michael Hoffman
Yeah, so I’d love to hear what you all think and what you’re doing. I mean, I think you see this also Boris, we learn as much from the practitioners out there as we do doing the work that we do. So follow me on or connect with me on LinkedIn—so you can just look up Michael Hoffman and Gather Voices there. Also, you know, that’s really the best way. And I’m just, and so send me an email.

[00:34:03.460] – Boris
And if people want to check out Gather Voices, do you guys do some sort of a trial or how do you do that?

[00:34:10.060] – Michael Hoffman
We have a ton of content on our website that shows how it works, how other people are using it, what what it all is. And then you can get a demo really easily. So you can do that right from the website. It’s

[00:34:24.430] – Boris
Cool. Thanks so much, Michael, and thank you all for joining us today for the Nonprofit Hero Factory. I hope you got some great tips and things to think about when it comes to gathering your stories on video or however you prefer to get them all together. They’re crucial to activating more heroes for your cause. Thank you, everybody. We’ll see you next week on the Nonprofit Hero Factory.

[00:35:04.640] – Outro Video
Thank you all for watching and listening to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, we hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform and let us know what you think, by leaving a review.

Concepts and Takeaways:

  • People are increasingly comfortable with video, whether watching or appearing on camera. The question is, how do we leverage that for your organization’s cause? (5:43)
  • Video gets 1200% more shares, 88% more engagement and 2-3x the click-throughs. (6:46)
  • Video is better at sharing an authentic journey, building empathy and trust than most other types of content online. (9:02)
  • Your goal is to inspire more people to believe they can be heroes by sharing the stories of how your organization has helped others become heroes. (10:45)
  • If Nike commercials can make you cry, imagine what real stories about real issues can do. (12:14)
  • Although it might feel like there’s a lot of video today, there are still a lot more opportunities to incorporate video into communications, as long as you know your audience. (15:18)
  • Simply asking someone to share their story strengthens your relationship with that person. (17:50)
  • The Make-A-Wish Problem: Touching stories are not enough. Narratives have to empower the would-be supporter. (23:22)
  • In video, sound quality is more important than video quality. Audiences prefer to watch a poor quality video with good sound, over a great-looking video with poor sound. (26:11)
  • Fancy video techniques are no substitute for compelling personal stories—and sometimes distract from them. (28:02)
  • Give people an idea of what to say in your video with examples and templates to follow. (29:35)

Action Steps: What Now?

  • Resource Spotlight

    In this episode, the following resources were mentioned:

  • Start implementing!

    • Get started: There’s no real question of whether you have the technology or not anymore. It’s just about your organization’s commitment to start asking for stories from your closest circles and working out to your broadest ones.
    • Connect with Michael: You can connect with Michael Hoffman on LinkedIn or send him an email.

About this week’s guest

Michael Hoffman

Michael Hoffman

CEO, Gather Voices

Michael Hoffman is the co-founder and CEO of Gather Voices, a technology company that automates the creation, management and publishing of video content. He is also the founder of See3 Communications, a digital marketing agency for nonprofits and founder of the DoGooder Video Awards which honors the best social cause video each year. Hoffman teaches marketing at the University of Chicago and is an internationally sought-after speaker and trainer who is a trusted advisor to nonprofit leaders on engagement strategy.

Connect with Michael Hoffman