Recently, I noticed an interesting phenomenon in my email inbox. Emails from all kinds of charities with "video messages" from their executive leaders, most often the CEO or President. Considering the relative hesitancy with which nonprofits have been wading into the online video pool, what could be leading to this? Just to name a few, the ACLU and JNF are doing it.
I think it's the same thing that suddenly has the entire nonprofit world buzzing about text messaging and has converted most everyone from cautiously optimistic, to right out proselytizers of email marketing: our president elect.
I don't say this for political reasons. You can't even miss it on the evening news-Barack Obama has been addressing the American people on a weekly basis, via YouTube. It is his own version of FDR's Fireside Chats. I have no idea how many people listen to the president's weekly radio address on a regular basis, but I would be willing to bet it's less than the number of people who tune in to YouTube video ones.
A commentator on NPR recently picked the Obama campaign's use of text messaging during the election campaign as the technology of the year. Importantly, he also noted that older people who had tried things like YouTube, email, and text messaging for the first time because of the campaign, are continuing to use these technologies because they have now seen the value these tools have in keeping in touch with their friends, families, and especially their children.
So, it would seem the presidential stamp of approval has validated the medium sufficiently for some of the leaders of the nonprofit world to get on board. I look forward to watching this trend closely in 2009.
And by the way, my next post will go more in depth about video: how nonprofits have been using it, ways it has/has not been successful, and the role user-generated video can play.