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How to Get Thousands of People to Help Make a Video for Your Nonprofit / CSR / Cause Marketing

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How to Get Thousands of People to Help Make a Video for Your Nonprofit / CSR / Cause Marketing


Some people say we only use 10% of our brains.

I like to say that’s only true if you believe it.

What is more certain is that we only use 10% of our computers.

There are ways of collaborating which are infinitely more powerful than how we end up doing things.

And this applies to video production as much as anywhere else.

Even today, people are standing together in rooms, talking to each other with their voices, listening with their ears and writing things with paper and pens.

That is no longer the optimal solution.

It’s not even close.

By making videos in the cloud, it’s possible to bring thousands of people together, whose collective intelligence can exponentially increase the power of your video.

I know what you’re thinking.

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.

You know where that’s true?


You know where that’s not true?

The internet.

In this post we’re going to look at how causes and changemakers can leverage large networks of human intelligence when making their videos.


Leveraging Online Feedback

There are four fundamental types of feedback you can get when creating a video.

Which type you use will vary project to project, but we recommend you use all four,  even if you do so on a small scale.

It may seem like a lot of extra work, but often it comes down to sending a few emails,  and in return you get an invaluable contribution of expertise and talent, at a very low cost – often for free




Get together a group of between 5 and 15 highly experienced writer / directors.

You can tell if someone is a good writer if they can listen to your story, and repeat it back in a way you’ve never considered.

And a truly great writer will repeat back a version which helps you to recognize your own work as even more meaningful than you had previously thought.

Let me give you an example:

You think you’re selling soap.

A great storyteller will show you you’re curing disease. And not only that, you’re also giving a child back her mother. And saving a lifetime of memories.

It’s not about wearing rose-tinted spectacles, it’s about revealing a deeper truth.

Upon seeing this deeper truth, the soap-maker will tend to undergo strong emotional reactions: tears, joy, laughter, overwhelm, as the myriad strands and connections their life’s work are momentarily fused, and a portal is opened up through which they can catch a glimpse of the profound nature of the journey they’ve been on, all this time.

That’s when you know you’ve found a great writer.

Get a group of them.  They can operate on a shared email thread, a private forum, or bi-weekly skype chat.

If you’re doing something truly world-changing, you may be able to get them to do it for free. Or for a small fee you can really build up quite a powerful feedback network.

For more on this read: How to Get an Oscar-Winning Director to Make a Video for Your Nonprofit / CSR / Cause Marketing



The second feedback group consists of those who already have an advanced knowledge of your area of operation.

If you work in microfinance, they know about microfinance.

If you work in forestry, they know about trees.

With me?


Again, somewhere between 5 and 15 people in this group is ideal. You probably already know who they are.

This group is here to make sure you’ve got your facts right. Spot obvious blunders and prevent you from leaving yourself open to attack.

But that’s not all.

Equally important is their ability to collaborate with the writing team.

People tend to assume that they are not storytellers. What they forget is that they have been telling their company’s story all day every day for many years (especially those in the higher echelons of a business –  how many times has someone asked you: ‘’So – what do you do?’’) and through trial and error, have built up a storehouse of analogies, metaphors and verbal illustrations which are gold-dust in helping the writers to explain what it is that you do.

Make sure you get these descriptions to the writing team. They will thank you for it.



Once you’ve finished the first full draft of your video, find 15-20 forums or online groups whose members make up a similar demographic to your own.

Most forums, if asked politely,  will let you ask the community to leave feedback.

As a general rule, having more people give feedback is better.  Now again, please notice I didn’t say more people making decisions are better – we all know that story.  What I’m talking about is how to get a lot of people generating creative ideas, so that you have a storehouse of options to draw upon.

Most of the time it’s not hard to get a lot of feedback in a relatively short space of time. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, word starts to spread and you’ll get hundreds or even thousands of people creating ideas.

Too many cooks MY ASS!

But beware: people tend to be reluctant to review scripts, voice overs and music. It’s MUCH better to put give them a first full draft of a video, and THEN ask for feedback.

If you have the money there are many paid sites which will help you do this. You can hire people to record video responses, with detailed qualitative feedback. Needless to say this can get pretty expensive and may not be strictly necessary for good causes,



We covered this already in: The Truth About Length: A Scientific Guide for Nonprofits, Social Enterprise and Cause Marketing

So I’m not going to dwell on it.

Here’s the short version:

YouTube’s free video ”Analytics” software can help you determine all sorts of useful information about your video.

Which countries are people watching from. Their age, sex and demographic. What devices they’re watching on. What time of day etc etc..

And all the information is put together in pretty bar graphs, bubble charts and interactive maps.

If you have the time and resources to do a soft launch (again,  upon completion of the first full draft of the video) make sure you send your video to a few thousand people and measure the  ‘’Bounce rate’’ metric.

This will allow you to find out where people have decided to stop watching, and use this information to gauge where your video needs improving,  editing, spicing up etc.

It will also show you where people have rewound,  indicating either confusion (because they didn’t understand the first time)  or that they liked it so much that they wanted to watch it again.

Either way, rewinds can be interpreted as a positive sign,  because at least your audience is engaged.

Too much ”Bouncing” can be interpreted as a negative – people are bored / unimpressed / disengaged for some reason.

Finally,  make sure you’re not mistaking a high bounce rate for the standard general decrease found throughout all videos.

Here are the average bounce rates per length of video:

Cause Marketing, Nonprofit Marketing, CSR Marketing, Charity Marketing,


Most of us still work according to the rules of decades past,  and we haven’t fully integrated the new possibilities afforded to us by technology.

If you decide to make a video with a static,  ground-based team, you are severely limiting your potential. This is especially true with non profits,  CSR and cause marketing, for whom there is an abundance of free value available on the internet in the form of human intellectual capital.

In fact,  abundance isn’t the right word.  There is an essentially INFINITE amount. If you really have a good cause, you will never run out of people who are willing to offer their support. The key is in orchestrating systems to ensure that that feedback comes in a constructive manner,  and can be integrated seamlessly into your project.

READ: High ROI Videos: A Comprehensive Guide for Nonprofits, CSR and Cause Marketing

Agree / disagree? Add your thoughts in the comments below.


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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.