Fundraising With Online Video

One of the fundraising methods that I have explored before here on the ActBlue Blog is integrating online video into your fundraising appeals. This works best with a pre-existing community with whom you have a relationship, but is by no means the only way in which the medium can be used to leverage an appeal for campaign contributions.

Today, I’d like to promote the work of Hank and John Green who have quite the following on the Internet with their Brotherhood 2.0 website in which John and Hank swore off all textual communication with each other for 2007. Instead, they are making public video blogs back and forth every weekday for the entire year. You can read their FAQ to learn more but to really get a flavor of their style and their devoted community of viewers I’d suggest viewing a few shows.

Below, I’ve provided a condensed 2 minute version of one of the shows where John makes his pitch for their friend Daniel Biss who is running for the 17th State House District in Illinois. It’s quite humorous so watch it below.

Pretty cool right? Here are some things this video ask does right.


  1. Present the Problem– John introduces the segment talking about the current state of affairs in Illinois and certain problems that exist which need fixing.
  2. Present a Solution– He then goes on to talk about how supporting Daniel Biss will help solve this problem. Electing him will install someone with progressive values which would improve Illinois.
  3. Be Specific– John focuses on one candidate to support as part of this effort. By narrowing the focus, he’s able to increase the power of his ask. The more direct the solution to the problem, the more effective the fundraising effort will be. (This is not to say that multi-candidate asks are bad- some of them are highly effective- but the slate of candidates must have a specific point of commonality to encourage donors to give to an entire slate.)
  4. Make it Personal– John is asking his own readers to donate as part of a very humorous challenge. There is an existing relationship and a degree of trust built up. Potential donors are more likely to give when asked by someone they know.
  5. Make it a Narrative– Through the week, John followed up on this initial post with this spot and this one where he carried through some of the actions as a result of the number of donors.

This is a perfect case of leveraging existing personal connections to make a fundraising ask and because the medium of communication for the ask (video) is the same medium through which readers are used to being entertained, it’s that much more effective.

By the way, the brothers have raised $3,273 from 213 donors which puts John in the "find a cat, lick it, wax two limbs of your choice, while drinking a throughly blenderized happy meal from McDonald’s category" level.