DemLabs blog

Save time and money. Create your own fundraising, advocacy and campaign videos with just a laptop and the free Lumen5 app.

Fundraising videos is a chicken-and-egg challenge for grassroots groups.

Can they afford to make a fundraising video? How much money will it raise? Will that even cover the cost of creating the video?

Fortunately, there is a solution - even for the artistically challenged, non-technical and penniless. Create your own video with just a laptop and the free Lumen5 app. Use its hundreds of royalty-free, professional video clips and soundtracks as building blocks to create your video quickly.

Of course, if you need a high quality video and have the means, you should hire a professional video producer. Lumen5 is not a substitute for that, but adequate for the needs of many grassroots groups and campaigns.

"Perfect is the enemy of the good enough".

Doing God's work

Reverend Leo Woodberry founded the New Alpha Community Development Corp. (CDC) in Florence, South Carolina to help local communities many of which have recently been ravaged by COVID-19. Many residents lack internet access which prevents them from finding out about where and when to get vaccinated. The Reverend is providing free internet access through mobile WiFi hotspots where users see messages encouraging vaccination as they surf the web.

The Reverend is on a fundraising crusade in order to deploy more hotspots and reach more people. He created this compelling fundraising video with the free Lumen5 app. This blog explains how the video was created along with tips on how to make your own fundraising, advocacy or campaign video.

Reverend Leo Woodberry creates a fundraising video with the free Lumen5 app.

Designing your video

People have short attention spans, so it's best to keep your video short. Ideally less than a minute. This video 80 seconds long as there is a lot of material to cover. The video is structured in six small segments, each of which is just a few seconds long:

Opening scene with activity to grab the watcher's attention. It is used to explain the challenge. This scene uses a ready-made clip from the Lumen5 library which was found by searching for "Hospital". Captions are added sequentially which gives the viewer a chance to read it, before the next line is displayed. This is a better approach than having a text heavy screen which may be hard to read on a phone.

Background information about the lack of internet access in rural South Carolina is added. This is in the form of an image which was uploaded into Lumen5. Zooming into the map provides a sense of animation even though the image itself is static.

Direct appeal with a photo of Reverend Woodberry overlaid with captions describing his plan and what he plans to use with the donations. The video is designed intentionally with captions and background music rather than the Reverend speaking. This is more impactful and works better for people watching the video with the sound turned off.

More details about the solution with a sequence of images that were uploaded and captioned.

Call to action which asks viewers to support the project and provides a donation link. This segment includes two short video clips from the free Lumen5 video catalog.

Soundtrack. Once the different segments have been assembled, a fast paced sound track was chosen from the free Lumen5 music catalog.

Publish video. You can download the videos you create with Lumen5 and share them freely as a file or publish them on YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook. The Reverend's video was uploaded to YouTube and can be seen here.

How to create a fundraising video with Lumen5.

Create. Test. Repeat.

You never know which video will perform well. so it's a good idea to experiment with multiple versions of your video with different images, video clips, messaging and soundtracks. Try different layouts - square, landscape and vertical. It takes just a few minutes to create a new version of a video with Lumen5.


Capture attention right away, and keep the video as short as possible: You’re working with mere seconds of attention span. Hook your viewers and make it easy for them to watch all the way through.
Expect viewers to watch without sound: Many people are scrolling through their feeds on the go or at work, and they don’t want everyone around them to hear what they’re watching. 85% of video views take place with the sound off! If you want your audience to understand your video, add captions or text, or design your video to be understood perfectly without sound.
Optimize for mobile viewing: More and more, people are using social media on their phones instead of their desktops. Make sure your video is easy to watch on mobile, and pay particular attention to the legibility of the text.
Choose the right thumbnail: On most social media platforms, you can choose a still image that will represent your video. Choose wisely! Use a frame from the video that represents the content well, or — if the platform allows — create and upload a custom thumbnail.
Source: Boosted

TakeAway: Boost your fundraising by creating your own videos for free with Lumen5.


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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.