While it’s tempting to write off any “latest and greatest” app as a fad, Meerkat and Periscope actually present intriguing opportunities for nonprofits.
There have been other live video streaming apps in the past, but none that have grabbed the immediate attention of tech consumers quite like these two. In a matter of seconds, you can connect your Twitter account and start a live stream. Both platforms are easy to use, even for the less tech savvy among us.
Which Should You Use?
It's a tough call. Meerkat was first on the scene, but it has some limitations that Periscope doesn't. You see, Periscope is owned by Twitter, so it allows users to easily find and follow people they know on Twitter. Therefore, it's much easier to engage your existing audience.
Outside of that, they function in much the same way.
Tips for Success
The last thing you want to do is use a new platform poorly. Keep these tips in mind:
- Utilize hashtags relevant to the topic. This will allow people to find your stream via Twitter when looking up that topic.
- Be ready to broadcast before you hit start. Don't waste your viewers time getting your camera set up.
- Utilize a tripod for steady shots
- Title your broadcast accurately, so people know whether they want to tune in.
But what exactly would a nonprofit use live streaming video for?
Here are a few ideas that come to mind:
Broadcast Service Events
Imagine if Habitat for Humanity could live stream the moment a new homeowner receives the keys to their brand new home live to all their followers? What a powerful testament to their mission!
Sure, they’ve put together powerful videos in the past, but the live aspect brings a certain higher level of intrigue. Now, supporters all over the world can take part in that special moment. The ease of use makes it possible to stream these events almost every single time they happen, making the huge impact of the organization felt.
A Virtual Gala
If your organization relies on a large gala to bring in donation dollars, you could expand the footprint of that event by live streaming it via Meerkat/Periscope. Followers could watch your fundraising thermometer fill up live from their homes, no matter where they live. With a mobile-friendly donation page, they could even help you reach your goal!
A live streaming webinar could be just the thing to engage mid-level donors who you can’t necessarily invest large amounts of time nurturing, but need more than simple email blasts. Use Meerkat/Periscope to live stream a facility tour, educate on need, and make a donation presentation to a larger group, increasing your efficiency in your asks.
Put the Storytelling Power Directly in the Hands of Your Beneficiaries
100 Cameras has a strong mission and a powerful way of communicating that mission: putting cameras in the hands of those they serve, so that the general public can see the world through their eyes.
Meerkat/Periscope gives nonprofits the ability to take that even further with live streaming. Beneficiaries can show supporters a live look in at their lives (if they so choose). The obstacles, the joys, the challenges, and the triumphs.
Broadcast Important News and Political Events
Twitter made the protests in Ferguson tangible for many people because they could instantly read and see what was happening. Meerkat allows the world to easily broadcast and watch live streams of important events like this.
Is your organization concerned with human rights? Broadcast from the next protest in your area. Is your organization fighting for political rights? Broadcast from the floor of your local government, showing a speech to your supporters as it happens.
It’s All About the Stories
Live video is simply a tool, and in the end, tools are only as valuable as the uses we find for them. The nonprofit world thrives on stories, and Meerkat and Periscope are the next in a long line of storytelling tools.
If you’ve already figured out your story and have been telling it successfully, you should have no trouble utilizing either of these as a platform for communicating with supporters. If you haven’t figured out your organization’s story, you’re unlikely to find success using it.