top of page

Explainer Videos Explained

A few years ago, I put together a video for an organization I headed. It was emotional. It tugged at your heart strings. We showed it at a meeting with a foundation. They awarded us a grant and later, one of the foundation leaders said, "you're the ones that may so-and-so cry. She never cries!"

Emotional videos will always be important to nonprofits because they engage us on a deep level and so much of philanthropy is driven by our hearts. They help us put tragedy into human terms or uplift and fill us with hope. Often people don't even realize how deeply they were touched by the scenes. Done right, they move our hearts to take action.

However, there are times when you need to appeal to people's heads. I'll give you an example. With the same organization, we developed a new school-based program during the first COVID shutdown. We needed a way to explain what we were up to, but the schools were shut down, we hadn't started classes yet and, even once we started, privacy concerns limited our ability to show our students. What to do?

We turned to an explainer video, a video that used words and graphics to give the details of our program. That is a very different type of video than the ones nonprofits put together for events and to show donors. With an explainer video, we don't want people to leave with the feeling that they have been moved by what they say. We want them to remember very specific things. It might be details about your new program. It might be instructional, like a volunteer training video. The point is you start with a defined goal, and you want people to know the information when they are done.

Have you ever thought about doing one for your organization? Here is a short look at what goes into a great nonprofit explainer video.

Let us know if we can help at


bottom of page