Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five Questions to Help Your Small Nonprofit Choose a Professional Video Producer

The last post in our series of four on using video is by Madeleine Hammond. Madeleine is a marketing executive at Skeleton Productions - one of the UK's leading video production companies.

If producing a video is part of your nonprofit's marketing strategy, one of the first - and most important - decisions you will face is who to work with. Sure, you want a company with all the necessary credentials & experience, but that's not enough. With so much to consider, choosing the right production team can start to seem like a daunting task & a full time job. So here are a few things to ask yourself to help make sure you get the right production company for your project:
  • Do They Match Your NP's Style?
  • Do They Understand/Care About Nonprofits?
  • How's Their Production Quality?
  • Do They Have the Help You Need?
  • Can You Afford Them?

Pick a Company that Matches your Style

Working with a company that shares your style is crucial in creating content you can be proud of. They need to share your vision, and this needs to be clear across every step of your video journey. Ask yourself: Are these people you could hang out with? Do they share similar philosophies when it comes to doing business? If not, they may not be right for you. You can learn a lot about agencies and their values by reading their blog, reviewing their work, and by meeting them - in person, by phone or by video chat. Don't be afraid to ask them about their preferred styles to work on, either. The chances are, if they are passionate about your type of video, they will strive to create the best possible content.

Do they Care About My Nonprofit?

It is critical that you meet with the selected agencies before making a final decision. You will be able to get a pretty good idea of whether they care about your project or if it's simply about the numbers. If they really care, they will ask questions specific to your cause. Are they interested in your charity's work and aims? You want a company who are truly invested in your project and will do their best to make it a success.

What is their Production Quality Like?

Quite a broad question, but it goes without saying that you want your video to look as professional as possible. By reviewing videos in their portfolio, you can ask yourself; Does it look and sound professional? How is the lighting? How is the sound quality? How do the after-effects and graphics look? Are the animations fluid and creative? Fundamentally, you need to ask yourself if you and your team like their work. ALL decision makers need to be on board to make this project a success.

Can They Fill In Where We Need Help?

As well as being sold on the agency's strengths and weaknesses, you need to evaluate your own. What areas will you really need help with, and does your chosen company facilitate these needs? Do they have scriptwriters and storyboarders? Are you a marketing novice and in need of someone to head up your strategy? Don't be embarrassed to ask for help - it will ultimately help you build the strongest campaign possible.

Are they Within my Budget?

Unfortunately, finding this fantastic production company must all be done within a somewhat restricting budget, and for nonprofits this is doubly applicable. Video production can be expensive, but done right it can be invaluable to your campaign. Always explain to agencies your financial situation and shop around to find the best quality for the best price. If you can, try and get a breakdown of all the costs. You can get a better idea of where you are spending your money and - if necessary - where to make some cutbacks.


As a professional who has experience working with nonprofits, Madeleine has given us some great insight in what you should look for before signing a contract. Once you know the answers to these questions, you can be reasonably certain of a successful result. And I'll add one more thing: if possible, talk to your counterparts in other small nonprofits - if they have put out a video that you liked, ask them for the name of the production company. Ask for recommendations. This will make your short list that much shorter.

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