Being an E-Club, our Rotary Club exists mostly on the web.  While this represents many challenges, it is also a great opportunity – to reach a broader audience anytime and anywhere.

One of the ways a particular Rotary cause can be promoted is through the multitude of video sharing services like Youtube and Vimeo, which stores and hosts videos and makes them searchable, while social networking services like Facebook & Twitter, as well as various messaging services like SnapChat can be used to get the word out.

Videos about the Rotary causes we’re passionate about –  whether it’s eliminating polio, or otherwise improving healthcare access to the underserved, or peace building or water & sanitation –  need to communicate the urgency of needed efforts effectively & concisely.

Unless your local club is fortunate enough to have a video editing professional among its membership, the occasion may arise when these videos need to be filmed and edited ourselves.

First, here is a short video on how to make an effective promotional video for charity.

I think you can ignore the part about needing to include camels in your video. 🙂

Now, some important tips on making a video about your club or cause from the web and on the video:

  • Don’t look at the video you have and string them together afterwards.  Have the video you want to make in mind, then shoot video or take photos to fill that story.  Think first, shoot later.
  • Keep it simple and short – whittle whittle and whittle until video is about 2 minutes – any longer and people will tune out.
  • Keep it interesting – the video above explains tips on how to do this – creating visual interest, music, etc
  • Focus on the cause, not our organization – if the video is about alleviating water shortages and sanitation, and the video is meant to be seen by non-Rotarians, keep Rotary logos and signage unobstrusive.
  • Most videos are viewed on phones.  Links on the video for information and donations should be mobile-optimized.

Next, some things you’ll need:

  1. a video camera or a photo camera – if your club is doing a service trip abroad, or sponsoring one, be sure to take a camera for photos for videos, or ask others to take them!  Photography is a common enough hobby, and a lot of people have great cameras laying around – to film their child athlete’s games, or capture the cute thing the baby does the moment he/she does it, etc.  Even point-and-shoot cameras these days take great photos!  Chances are, your club has a member with a DSLR or a HD Video camera.
  2. a computer – video editing is one of the most demanding tasks a computer can be asked to do.  It requires a lot of disk space and processor power, but it can be done on any modern computer.
  3. a video editing software:  a quick google search reveals the below to be the best available softwares.  I’ll list them in no particular order, with the compatible platforms and prices.
    1. iMovie (for Mac and iOS) $14.99
    2. Adobe Premier (for Windows, Mac and Cloud) $19.99/mo subscription
    3. Adobe Premier Elements (for Windows, Mac and Cloud) $79.95
    4. Windows Movie Maker (for Windows) FREE as part of Windows Essentials
    5. Sony Movie Studio Pro (for Windows) $429
    6. Sony Movie Studio Platinum (for Windows) $59.99
    7. Final Cut Pro (for Mac) $299.99
    8. Blender (for Windows, Mac and Linux) OPEN SOURCE/FREE

Lastly, miscellaneous things to keep in mind:

Some of the software options seem excessive for non-profit purposes – I would recommend trying older versions of these softwares, or the cheapest options like iMovie for Mac and Windows Movie Maker for Windows first. Blender is a free option available on all platforms, but it is very very complex and has a steep learning curve.

Powerful software or equipment are not necessary to create powerful videos for your causes.  Fancy effects, amazing cinematography are not required.  Just a simple, coherent, concise and visually interesting story.

Lastly, Rotary International provides guidelines regarding visual materials that might give you some ideas about color schemes and placement of logos.  You can download it by clicking the link below:


Lastly, here’s a good example of a promotional video for a clean water non-profit organization called charity: water




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