Video Production

What is Your Nonprofit’s “Ambient Music?”

Justin Ware
Sep 21, 2022

Visitors to Disney might notice music playing in the background while walking through the park, waiting in lines for rides, grabbing a bite to eat, etc. This music is sometimes referred to as “Disney Ambient Music.” If you’ve recently been to one of the main Disney theme parks you might recall some of these background favorites.

This Disney Ambient music helps you forget you've been standing in line, that your toddler had a meltdown, and that you’re paying more than a month’s salary for a vacation. Ambient music contributes to that intangible Disney magic, which engenders so much loyalty making it “the happiest place on Earth” for people all over the world.

Imagine creating a soundtrack or playlist with that kind of power for your nonprofit organization. What if your cause had a subtle background soundtrack that positively influenced how donors feel about your mission, even if they are not fully aware of that influence taking shape?

This is the impact of sharing authentic, quality video over social media feeds like LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram. It’s content that generates clicks in email and text-based warming campaigns. Even analog channels like direct mail and phone campaigns can benefit by sharing video using QR codes.

Keep in mind that ambient video is not necessarily transactional and not every piece of content needs an explicit call to action. Especially on social media, the goal is not conversion, it’s warming. It’s about frequently, subtly, reminding your advocates why they support your cause. It feels real and authentic and finds a way under your skin (in the best way possible). 

Of course, using video to build this kind of  brand awareness requires producing much more authentic video content than is the current norm. At firstname.co we know this goal is within reach, and only requires a commitment to reshaping some traditional roles to focus on video output. This might include hiring new staff members who are adept at quick and effective video coverage. It might involve an outside video agency and/or new video creation technology platforms. (There are many apps to accomplish this for nonprofit organizations) Or maybe increasing video is something your nonprofit accomplishes through building a team of “influencer” fundraisers.

The goal here is for authentic video to quietly enhance content that aims towards a conversion of some type. The two – warming and solicitation content – work hand in hand. If the majority of your content primes a prospect to more readily accept and react positively to an ask, those asks will perform far better. Google first demonstrated this power of mission-video to convert with a 2013 survey that shows 57 percent of everyone who watches a nonprofit’s video content will go on to make a donation to the nonprofit featured in that video. And still today, firstname.co’s client partners enjoy similar success when videos get viewed.

What is the ambient music of your nonprofit? Take a page from the Disney playbook, and keep donors and prospects engaged with great video content throughout the year.

Justin Ware
Justin Ware is a digital fundraising expert with nearly 15 years of experience helping nonprofits raise money online. An Emmy-winning YouTube producer and one of the original pioneers of the online giving day and online ambassadors programs, Justin is focused on innovative tactics and "what's next?" for cause-based work.

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