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High ROI Videos: The Ultimate Guide for Causes, CSR and Nonprofit Marketing

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High ROI Videos: The Ultimate Guide for Causes, CSR and Nonprofit Marketing


There are 63,000 video producers on the internet, and millions more freelancers.

If you want the perfect video, you have to find the perfect team, right?

The problem is each producer has their own prices, styles, speed, quality and value for money.

So how do you find the best people, when there’s so many to choose from?

Well, there’s a smart way, and a stupid way.

The smart way can get you a 10X or even 100X improved ROI on your video.

The stupid way…





The stupid way is where you ask around, you do some searching, and make a list of 10 or 100 or maybe even 400 potential companies.

You go through them one-by-one. You check their websites. You check their videos.

You find out their prices. You find out their availability. You find out what people are saying about them. …

Then you pick your favourite.

Even if you did this 400 times you’d be making a decision based upon a total knowledge of 0.6% of the video market.

Imagine you were the captain of a sports team, and you picked the best players out of 0.6% of the total available, and your competitor got to choose from the other 99.4%?

Let’s not dwell on it.

But who has the time to research 63,000 video producers?

Welcome to the smart way.




Unfortunately things that are smart are not always easy.

So we need to do a bit of background education.

The good news is that even a small understanding will generate an exponential improvement in the power of your video.

With that in mind:

The first and most important thing to understand, is the difference between a Cloud Based Producer (CBP) and a Location Based Producer (LBP)




A location-based producer (LBP) is what you might think of as a traditional video studio.

There is a building, and inside the building are a group of people who make videos.

If you ask the people in the building to make you a video, they will make you a video – inside the building.

Pretty obvious? Good.




A cloud-based producer (CBP) is an online company which leverages the global market of 63,000 LBPs and the millions of freelancers available.

The job of a CBP is to understand the video market in general, and ensure its clients are getting the best possible deals from anywhere on the internet.

Typically a CBP it will have a good grasp of where the most fertile communities of LBPs reside, and who is leading the way in terms of value for money, speed of delivery, production quality etc.

When it’s time to create a video, the CBP will draft a video brief, outlining the exact requirements of the project (the goal of the video / budget / deadline etc) and send the brief out to hundreds, or even thousands of top performing LBPs around the world.

The LBPs then pitch ideas back to the CBP, and present solutions for making the video.

In most cases the CBP will manage the responses, choose the optimal team, and orchestrate the end to end process of creating the videos, charging a fee for its services.

To find out how Ample Earth uses cloud-based production to help good causes, read: The Most Powerful Video Production Tool For Causes And Changemakers In The Universe





The increased size and scale of CBP operations quickly change the rules of the game.

Let’s start with the advantages:



The fundamental benefit of working with a CBP is the much larger talent pool available. In essence, you are seeking the most talented individuals from ‘’the internet’’ as opposed to ‘’whoever lives within commuting distance of the office.’’

Even a large city like London (9 million people) pales in comparison to the size of ‘’the internet,’’ (4.2 billion – that’s 466X larger in case you’re wondering).

Simply put:

More choice = better opportunities = better outcomes.

But that’s just the start.



In North America and Western Europe video productions tend to be the highest quality, and are also by far the most expensive.

However in large parts of Southern, Central and Eastern Europe there are powerful communities of video-makers able to produce equally high calibre productions at just 20-40% of the price, simply because life is so much cheaper here.

Producers pay a fraction of the cost in living expenses / rent / bills / wages / tax etc and these savings can be passed onto clients.

The same is true of South America – particularly in modern centers like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. These are even less expensive than SEC Europe, and can be of a similar high quality.

In case you were wondering – most directors will speak perfect English, and have often spent time working in the West, so they understand the working culture and standards expected.



The third major advantage of a CBP is the ability to build customised teams with a highly specialised skill sets on a project-by-project basis.

For example:

Right now Ample Earth are making an animated video for a nonprofit client in New York.

The writing / directing is being done in the UK, the voiceover in the USA, music from Italy and animation in Buenos Aires.

Each contracted worker in this project has been carefully selected based upon their incomparable skill, value for money and successful track record relative to the thousands of others available on ‘’the internet.’’

As soon as you have an ‘’in house’’ employee taking up the position of full-time writer / animator / director – you’ve limited your options to a fraction of what they could be.



When working with a traditional LBP, if you really want to know what’s going on it’s best to be there in person. But a CBP will use online project management software to orchestrate projects, so that any time of day you and your team can log in from your mobile device and see what’s going on: give feedback, discuss ideas, ask questions, brainstorm, etc.

So even though client / producer are not always in the same physical space, they’re always just a click away in the same digital “space,’’ allowing for greater control, transparency, and communication.



In traditional corporate ventures, high expense makes high quality production impossible on low budgets.

However in philanthropy, we find that the highest most experienced and expert videomakers are often willing to work on low budgets if it’s a cause they feel inspired to help.

At Ample Earth, we’ve ranked thousands of directors from level 1 to 10. Directors at level 1 are absolute beginners. Directors at level 10 have won multiple internationally recognized video-making awards, including Oscars, Baftas, Emmys etc.

The key to the Ample Earth system is that our pricing model works ”backwards,” so that we begin by pitching your project to the best directors (level 10) and working our way down. If no one is interested at level 10, we’ll ask the level 9s, then 8s and so on.

More often than not if you’re doing something truly inspirational, a level 8-10 director will help out on your measly third-sector budget. This is not guaranteed, but it is likely.

By working in this manner we can guarantee you get the best possible video for your money.

And that’s good.

Very good.

To find out more about how this works, read: How To Get an Oscar-Winning Director to Make a Video for Your Cause / CSR / Nonprofit Marketing

But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.

Time for the downsides.






A CBP will often hire people on the other side of the world. And sometimes they just disappear.

Simply put – it’s much harder to hold people accountable when they’re ”from the internet” as opposed to ‘’down the street.’’

In the case of Ample Earth this happened twice in the last 6 years.

Someone contracted to make a video took the money, and ran.

And – short of hopping on a plane with a baseball bat – there’s not much you can do.

In situations like this it’s important to ensure you have a contractual guarantee with the CBP not to take liability.

The Ample Earth policy is to start again with a new team and no extra financial cost to the client.

For more on this, read: The Zero Risk Way To Guarantee You Get a Mindblowing Video for Your Cause / CSR / Nonprofit Marketing

The caveat is that 99.5% have fulfilled their contractual obligations because the vast majority of people are honest and hard working, and know the value of a positive online reputation.




The second major disadvantage of a CBP is lack of face-to-face interaction.

As we have said, almost all communication takes place using online tech (video conferencing / email).

Many people, especially elder generations, would rather meet face-to-face, shake hands, stare into each other’s eyes etc.

And that’s fine.

In fact, it’s optimal.

Skype is not a replacement for face-to-face interaction. And if you’re someone who likes working with real life human beings, then clearly you’ll want to go with a local team.




I’ve painted an optimistic picture of the power of CBPs based upon the total number of video companies available on the internet. And while the principle remains the same, it’s worth pointing out that even for a specialist CBP it’s impossible to access every videographer on the internet.

Nor would you want to.

63,000 is a ridiculous number, and covers the entire global video market (high cost / low cost, Film / animation, 2D / 3D etc.) and I haven’t even begun to talk about the many millions of freelancers.

Part of running a successful CBP is understanding where to send your video brief, and how to orchestrate the responses.

60-80% of video briefs you send out will require human interaction.

This can very quickly get out of control.

Imagine, for example, you send out a brief to 10,000 companies, but you forget to specify the preferred output format of your video (in frames per second). You can expect 6,000 emails in your inbox the next day asking for clarification.

When you’re operating on the scale of a CBP, things can easily dissolve into a bureaucratic nightmare.

Doing your homework is essential.




Video creation is a subtle art which demands the meticulous orchestration of sight, sound, motion and emotion.

The use of cloud-based video production allows nonprofit and cause-related organisations to access world-class video talent at exponentially decreased prices.

This is a huge opportunity for growth, but it requires new ways of working online which can be alien and unattractive to some.


What’s your experience? Disagree? Tell us what we missed? Add your thoughts and comments below.


Read: What The Hell is a ‘’Good Cause’’ (And Why You’re Not One)
Read: The Zero Risk Way to Guarantee Your Cause Gets a Mindblowing Marketing Video

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In 2006, Cady won an Oscar with his short film ONE-DAY TRIP (El Viaje). And his deep understanding of storytelling earned him a position as a regular judge for the for the Emmy Awards, New York Chapter.

He is a member of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures (NBR) and also employed as a college professor in New York City teaching direction, production, editing and writing.