In mid-August, I published tips for creating videos for your nonprofit website and looked at which legal aid programs are posting videos online. After watching many of the posted videos, I've found that they can be classified into 8 types.
- Organization Introductions
Most organizations have created videos that describe their work and why it's important. For example:
- Legal Aid 2.0: Legal Help is Just a Click Away (Illinois Legal Aid Online)
- Legal Services of Northern California
- Bet Tzedek Is . . .
This is a challenging type of video to create. They need to be short, relevant, and visually interesting. Tell specific stories about your achievements. If you are looking for ideas, check out these award-winning videos: EcoViva, Darius Goes West, I Am the Wooden Floor, Join the Fight, and What Kind of Planet Are We On?
These videos focus on one client's story and discuss how his or her problem was resolved. For example:
- Leah (Montana Legal Services Association)
- TRLA TV - Texas Foster Youth Justice Project
- Brenden's Story (Arkansas Access to Justice Commission)
Typically, these videos feature the client and his or her attorney. Again, they need to be short, relevant, and visually interesting.
Especially around the National Pro Bono Celebration, organizations post videos to recognize their volunteers' efforts and recruit more volunteers. But, as Illinois Legal Aid Online demonstrates, these videos can also be used through out the year to encourage participation. For example:
- Volunteer of the Month (Illinois Legal Aid Online)
- One Promise (Florida Legal Services, Inc.)
- Arthur Miller/Pro bono (Thomson Reuters)
These videos focus on what law students and recent graduates can expect if they work for an organization. For example:
Not many programs create this type of video. Equal Justice Works is the leader in this area and has a library of videos that they use for recruitment. (It's also a terrific place to find ideas for innovative projects.)
Organizations have started using online videos to provide legal information. For example:
- Downtown Community Court Videos (Justice Education Society)
- Debt Collection -- Part 1: What Debt Collectors Cannot Do (Arkansas Legal Services Partnership)
- Pro Se Court at the Daley Center: Filing a Complaint (Illinois Legal Aid Online)
In the near future, I expect to see organizations post many more videos that walk people through how to resolve all or part of a legal problem.
This type of video helps people understand how an issue affects a community. For example:
- Conviction, Deportation, and Family Separation (The Society Pages)
- Mississippi Center for Justice - Payday Lending
Programs that are not funded by the Legal Services Corporation are more likely to create this type of video.
These videos honor one person or a group of people. For example:
- A Tribute to Shelley Davis, farmworker lawyer (1952-2008) (FarmworkerJustice)
Quite a few programs are posting videos of conferences sessions, award ceremonies, and other events, so that people who couldn't attend can see them later. For example:
- Alter Rules of Professional Conduct to Permit Non-Lawyers to Help Meet Unmet Legal Needs, Says Laurence Tribe (American Bar Association)
- Illinois Legal Aid Online's Jill Becker receives CBF 2009 Chicago Sun-Times Fellowship
- Sam Donaldson for Legal Aid Bureau in MD (Maryland Legal Aid Bureau)
Those are the 8 types of videos that programs are posting online. But there are a few types of videos that I didn't see and would like to.
- Remixes and Mash Ups
NTEN community members help fund scholarships for the Nonprofit Technology Conference. To motivate them, NTEN staff promise a reward if the community donates a certain amount. For the past two years, the reward has been video remixes of memes featuring NTEN staff and community members. For example: NTEN Community Rhapsody and Put a Ring On It - NTC Scholarship. The key is picking the right meme and the right situation. (Perhaps it's autotuning the NLADA Annual Training keynote? Then again, maybe not.)
Mark Horvath is using video to make people aware of homelessness. He's posting unscripted interviews with people who are homeless at InvisiblePeople.tv. Unlike client stories, these stories may or may not have happy endings. Two great examples from Mark's many videos: Darryl and Jean and her children. Could the community use this technique to remind the public, funders, law makers, and others that their neighbors, friends, families, and supporters need legal help, too?
- Responses to Current Events
Robert Egger, founder and president DC Central Kitchen, was very upset by Rush Limbaugh's characterization of nonprofits and their employees, so he used video to respond promptly and with a very strong message. (Please note that this video contains potentially offensive material.) While I'm not suggesting organizations should word their message as strongly as Robert Egger, perhaps your organization could respond creatively to currents with video.
So are organizations creating other videos? Are there other types that organizations should consider creating? Speak up using the comments below. - K