Think of Nonprofit.Courses as a content marketing platform to showcase your expertise while giving valuable information to the nonprofits who might like to tap into that expertise.
Here are some parameters, not to be restrictive, but to carry out the intent of Nonprofit.Courses and help you create your best work.
1. Content Focus:
• Nonprofit related. Your content can be about most anything related to nonprofit management or programs. Maybe the best way to think of what you could present about is to think "how to [put your subject here.]," such as "How to write a direct mail solicitation letter," or "How to run a Christmas Bird Count."
• Focus! If a subject seems too big, narrow it down to one aspect of that topic. For example, rather than "How to run social media for your nonprofit," you can focus on "How to develop the best social media policy for your nonprofit," or "How to get the most out of Facebook giving programs."
• Target! Have in mind a person who typifies your ideal viewer. Is that a woman who just started in fundraising out of college? Is it a man who transitions into nonprofit marketing from business marketing? Create an "avatar" in your mind (and maybe on paper) of your ideal viewer's sexual identity, age, geographical location, nonprofit mission, job function and more. Then, in your presentation, "speak" to that person.
2. Acceptable content types*:
• Instructional content meant for the education of a nonprofit audience on a technique or issue of importance to that audience.
• Promotional content created by or for a nonprofit program. This may be acceptable as samples for others to emulate. An example? A fundraising campaign promotional video.
3. Unacceptable content types*:
• Promotional video for overtly selling of a product or program. If you have a video to promote your business or introduce yourself or a product or program, we can link to in in the Instructor's bios.
• Instructional videos on how to use a particular product that you sell. For example, if you represent a gifts processing software firm, we won't accept a "how to" video on how to make a gift entry or run a report on that software. Those should probably go on your website and it could be a link in your bio or to a partner page. However, if you're an accountant, you can do a course on how to run QuickBooks for a nonprofit.
• Documentaries. Documentaries may be linked to in instructor's bios but are not the kind of content we are looking for on Nonprofit.Courses.
• Political content. HuggDotNet LLC does not endorse any political views. We do not accept videos that advocate a particular political view. Since many nonprofits hold advocacy positions, we welcome content on functioning within that context, as long as the material may be applied broadly and does not advocate a position in the video.
• Religious content not related to instruction on nonprofit programs. Similar to political content, we do not advocate a religious point of view. However, since many nonprofits are religiously affiliated, we welcome content on functioning within that context, as long as the material may be applied broadly and does not evangelize for a specific faith or faith perspective.
The most popular question from Content Providers (CPs) is "how long?"
We've all been there - a boring lecture, whether live or online, droning on and on with no apparent end. Of course, you can end your misery. In a live lecture or seminar, you can walk out. Online, it's even easier: hit the "stop" button - and the chances of the viewer returning is slim.
We don't want that.
That's why short, meaningful segments are best. First of all, they fit into the viewer's day. Viewers can catch a portion to/from work on transit. They can see a few at home before dinner. They can catch one or two between meetings at work, or waiting for an appointment.
It also turns out that educationally, shorter is better, too. Our ability to retain is enhanced when we pick up information in smaller pieces than all at once.
At Nonprofit.Courses, a "lesson" is the basic unit. One or more lessons create a "course."
A lesson typically focuses on a single subject within the broader topic of the course. For example, if your course is about revenue generation for event fundraising, then you could have a lesson on organizing volunteers, one on selling tickets, another on selling brochure advertising, etc.
So, back to "how long?"
Developing lessons in lengths of about 2 to 7 minutes each is ideal. A lesson from 7 to 15 minutes is stretching it. Anything over 20 minutes needs to be extremely compelling or very much needed by the viewer to keep their attention.
How many lessons? Now things open up. You can have nearly as many lessons as you want (although beyond 10, we'll suggest that you group them together based on some commonalities.)
How few lessons? If you're doing a single lesson video, then 5 to 10 minutes is good. One, two minute video isn't recommended. We'll likely suggest that you either pair it with other content you have or create one or two new lessons to build up the course.
If you want to discuss this further, then let's connect about your course.
5. Presentation Method:
• Best: PowerPoint with an integrated live shot of the presenter. It's a combination of PowerPoint or similar slides, while concurrent with or alternating with live shots of the presenter speaking.
• Good: PowerPoint only. This is a traditional webinar format with a voice-over from the presenter.
• Okay: Focused live shot only. This is the presenter speaking into the camera with no other visual material.
• Bad: Conference room instruction. This is usually the least preferred due to poor lighting, sound issues and bad camera angles.
• Hint: Please discuss with us techniques such as backgrounds, screen shots and others for a cleaner looking video.
6. Script or not to script?
• The case for scripts: Some people find scripts very helpful, if not essential. With a script you make sure that you cover all the points you intended. The problem with scripts is twofold. First, taking the time to create a script (hint: using a voice-to-text program can help) and second, sounding like you are reading a script. If you're using a script, run through it for practice until you sound like you're not reading a script.
• The case for free form: If you know your subject matter "cold," then maybe you can go without a script. The problem in this case is that you can forget items that you want to cover. Therefore, if you decide to go without a script, have note cards handy to make sure you're covering what you want.
• You may use your own branding on any content you produce.
• You may mention your contact information and describe your services within the video.
• You can use your own developed products or techniques as examples of broader concepts.
• You may not post business or product commercials.
(See here for more on your video's promotion.)
8. Technical information:
Don't let the technical information scare you. This information is mostly for those who are making custom videos. If you have a prerecorded webinar or course, it's likely you already have this information covered. If not, the team at Nonprofit.Courses is happy to walk you through any technology issues.
• Best: "mp4" file format shot in 1080p or 4K. Good desktop cameras for less than $100 can shoot in 1080p. Many handheld cameras that you can tripod mount use this format, as well.
• Good: "mp4" file format shot in 720p. Many modern desktop and laptop cameras use this format.
• Okay: "mp4" file format shot with a cell phone video.
• Not preferred: "mp4" file format shot in 480p or less. Older laptop cameras may use this format.
• Best: Video files directly uploaded to your own cloud file server to which Nonprofit.Courses can have access.
• Good: Files uploaded to your Vimeo or YouTube account to which Nonprofit.Course can link. If you are developing a paid course, then the videos must designated as "unlisted." If you intend your course to be free, then the you can make then "unlisted" or "public."
• Best: "Radio style" microphones like those from Samson, Blue and others are less than $100, usually available at big box stores, and produce nice quality.
• Good: Many headsets are very good for recording. Some are not. Test yours out. If doing live shoots, remember, you’ll have the headset seen on your head.
• Good: Many video cameras come with their own microphones, some of which are good. It depends on the model.
• Okay: Some cell phones also have good microphones. Using a headset can sometimes enhance the sound quality.
• Okay: Some laptops come with microphones that can be used, but as a class, laptop microphone are okay for calling programs like Skype or Zoom, but don't have strong recording qualities.
• There are many video/audio capturing programs available, like Camtasia, for instance. Some are also free (see here)
• Many webinars can be recorded right off of the hosting program, such as GoToMeeting, FreeConferenceCall.com, Zoom and others.
• If you are doing any video that shows you speaking live, consider a "green screen" background. A large, portable screen that has blue on one side and green on the other that "pops up" when used is relatively inexpensive on Amazon, eBay or other sources. It's much better than a distracting office with piles of paper and a littered floor in the background!
If you have any questions about the above, or answers to questions we missed, please let us know. We'll be happy to work with you on producing the best content for your Nonprofit.Courses video!
(*The final say on what is acceptable or unacceptable in content, quality or quantity is solely at the discretion of HuggDotNet LLC or its assignee.)