2014 was a major year for non-profit organisations when it came to video marketing campaigns, with many making headlines in the industry, and beyond. Charities and non-profits are not only capitalizing on the growing demand for emotional content, but also showing their storytelling savvy in the process.

Kony 2012 is still the most viral non-profit video of all time with 230.8 million views, but if you take that video out of the equation, 2014 is the biggest year so far for non-profit branded video views. Kony 2012 really showed how video could make social issues visible to millions of people around the world, and this type of content marketing continues to pay huge dividends for charities.

2014 bucked the trend in terms of campaign timing, with 7 out of 10 of the most viewed being released in the first half of the year. In previous years, most non-profits have waited until the end of the year to release videos and capitalize on the holiday spirit.

Non-Profit Videos Generated 670 Million Views in 2014

Visible Measures analyzed the views from branded non-profit videos, against the amount of campaigns per year since 2009. 2014 saw 146 major non-profit video campaigns generating just under 670 million views. That's an increase of 857% in 6 years.

  • 2009 - 69,973,667 Views (90 Campaigns)
  • 2010 - 240,172,869 Views (176 Campaigns)
  • 2011 - 175,709,234 Views (202 Campaigns)
  • 2012 - 891,649,150 Views (284 Campaigns)
  • 2013 - 635,238,492 Views (173 Campaigns)
  • 2014 - 669,495,184 Views (146 Campaigns)

Top Ten Most Viewed Non-Profit Videos of 2014

Save the Children's wake-up call about the war in Syria is the most viewed non-profit video of this year, with 44+ million views across the internet, and over 1.3 million social shares. BandAid30 is the only holiday video on the list, to date. Music videos are always incredibly popular and given the nostalgia factor for BandAid, it¡'s no wonder that this campaign has shot up so quickly. Here are the charity videos that attracted the most attention this year in terms of views, with their social shares in brackets.

  1. Most Shocking Second a Day - Save the Children 44,043,427 (1,315,255)
  2. Would You Help a Freezing Child? - SOS Children's Villages 21,673,029 (683,485)
  3. Arnold Works at Gold's - After-School All-Stars 19,809,431 (609,616)
  4. Will It Crush? - Omaze 13,637,226 (325,060)
  5. Tree Of Life - Lifebuoy 11,142,287 (48,083)
  6. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid 30 10,732,553 (593,794)
  7. Luge - Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion 8,502,619 (366,306)
  8. #ViolenceisViolence - ManKind 8,400,196 (203,899)
  9. #LaughLearnGive - YouTube & Comic Relief 8,101,846 (173,038)
  10. There Is No Them, Only Us - Bank of America and (RED) 7,896,679 (94,760)
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Successful Video Marketing for Non-profits: 4 Strategies

What makes an engaging, relevant, and successful non-profit video? Mallory Russell, Director of Content at Visible Measures, gave ReelSEO some insight into four of the most important strategies for creating the type of content that is going to change the thoughts and minds of the general public.

#1 Make it Genuine: Tap Into Real Emotions

Non-profits should run toward emotion and not away from it. In today's video environment, consumers want to watch content that moves them to tears, moves them to joy, and perhaps most importantly, moves them to share the videos with their friends. The type of emotion that consumers want is especially opportune for non-profits, because, for the most part, non-profit's mission and message are innately emotional and engaging.

An excellent example of this is Save the Children's 'Most Shocking Second a Day', a video that depicts a scenario where a British girl watches as her life in the U.K. turns upside down in war-time carnage.

#2 Tell a Real Story That Viewers Can Relate To

Real emotion comes from real stories. A real story can take multiple forms: a stat, an anecdote, a tell-all. ManKind Initiative's 'ViolenceisViolence' video aims to shine a light on domestic violence against men. Did you know that 40% of domestic violence in the UK is against men? The non-profit put on a stunt in London where women abused men in public, and the clip generated a huge amount of discussion and publicity for the cause.

#3 Be Creative: Capture the Imagination With Great Storytelling

There is more than one way to tell a story or explain a fact and it doesn't have to be a straightforward appeal for funds or awareness. The biggest successes in branded video find a way to tell that story or explain that fact in an unconventional and surprising way. It's the surprise that get viewers talking and sharing.

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SOS Children's Village created an amazing narrative around the horrendous conditions for children in war-torn Syria with its 'Would You Give Your Jacket to Johannes' campaign. It placed a young boy at a bus stop in the middle of winter, freezing cold because he lacked an adequate coat or jacket, and watched how adults reacted.

#4 Get Your Story in Front of the Right Consumers

Branded videos only succeed when they reach the right people. It's good to not only to distribute a video over a mass platform like YouTube, but also on more niche sites where you are sure to reach those influencers who will help spread word for your non-profit. For those using YouTube, don't forget that it offers 3 unique perks that non-profit organizations can benefit from.