April 23, 2015 \ Emma Freter
Using a Volunteer to Produce Your Nonprofit Video, Pt. 2

Are you a thrill-seeker? Someone who would go bungee jumping or scale a steep rock face? If you’re like me, then you wouldn’t do any of these crazy stunts without ensuring that your decisions will have a positive (and non-life threatening) outcome. Even though this is an extreme example, the idea of assuring a good result translates into your work life as well.

As a follow-up to our video post last week, Rachel provides some basic tips on how to improve the odds of having a positive experience when working with a volunteer video team. If you need a quick refresher on the rewards and risks when working with a volunteer team, here is our video from last week.

Rachel: In our last video, we talked about some risks you might want to consider if you’re thinking about using a volunteer to create your video. In this video I would like to share some ideas about how to improve the odds of having a positive experience.

Regardless of who volunteers for you, a professional or non-professional, you should make professional demands of that person. And it should all start with a basic contract. Yeah, you’re paying that person any money, but you want to make sure they understand that you have expectations and that they take your project seriously.

In that contract you should have a few basic things. You want to be clear about what messages need to be in your video. And if you put that into writing into your contract, then nobody is confused about the video’s purpose and everyone stays on track.

The production schedule should not only include times for filming, but also the delivery of first, second and final drafts of the video for your review. Volunteers somewhat understandably feel like work should progress along their timetable. Which is great for them, but not so great for you if they’re moseying along while you have a deadline looming.

Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but let’s say something goes horrible wrong in your relationship with your volunteer midway through the project… You want to be able to take your footage, deliver it to someone else and have them salvage the project for you. The best way to do this is to have written in your contract that you have access to any footage that has been captured.

Do some good vetting of your volunteer in advance, throw in a simple contract that shows you mean business and who knows, you might just avoid getting stuck in “Risky Business.”