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Big Brands Embrace What Nonprofits Know: Authentic Video Works

The drive to appear more authentic in video communications is making the jump to the corporate world. Among other big brands, Celebrity Cruises is on board (pun intended) with the move to allow real voices within their company to tell the brand’s story.

Real life Captain Kate McCue posts to an account loaded with behind-the-scenes pictures, reels, and other assorted content that provides a unique window into life as a cruise ship captain. (Click here to see @captainkatemccue’s Instagram account) And while it’s safe to assume there is some marketing oversight on Captain Kate’s Instagram account, they are not afraid to let her share her personal views on, for example, feminism.  


Interestingly enough, the nonprofit industry has reversed roles and is actually leading the corporate world in business trends with this authentic video storytelling charge! George Washington University embraced authentic video storytelling in 2023 and enjoyed an overall five percent increase in donor growth over the same period of time. At firstname.co, we have noticed how nonprofits and higher ed marketers are leading this shift to authentic video communication, as we have worked with more than a dozen institutions and nonprofits since 2018 to help them incorporate authentic video in their constituent engagement strategies.


And it works. During a 2021 A/B test, authentic student video was watched to completion 2,925 times. Another video in the same campaign, more highly produced and featuring that institution’s chancellor, was watched to completion only 54 times. That’s a 54x difference in the engagement rate favoring the firstname.co authentic student video over more typical, high production value university content. 

The results from that A/B test led to the further development of Donor Engagement Centers built around authentic video, which is leading to incredible results like we noted above at George Washington University. 


Don’t give in to the notion that “you can’t generate positive ROI while acquiring donors.” You can, you just need to reinvent the way you communicate with your audiences, and it starts with an investment in authentic video. Not just for annual giving, but also for mid-level and major giving


Are you ready to dramatically increase fundraising, admissions and enrollment, and all marketing and communications with authentic video? Ask us how! Click here to set up a demo of firstname.co’s services.


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