Updated: Mar 18, 2019
Drones for nonprofit…not words you would expect in the same sentence, right? How could flying robots possibly be helpful in the nonprofit industry? In this post we’ll identify 4 reasons why you should be using drones for nonprofit. And since nonprofits operate on a tight budget, we’ve included some how-to tips and a buying guide for DIY’ers.
Before we discuss using drones for nonprofit, let’s define WHAT a nonprofit really is. A nonprofit is a non-business entity. This means that excess revenue is not distributed to members or leaders associated with the organization. Revenues generated by nonprofits go back into programs that serve their mission.
Nonprofits are organizations formed by a group of people who strive to pursue a common not-for-profit goal. They typically focus on helping a social cause or advocating for a particular point of view. While nonprofits have tax exemptions that result in financial assistance, most rely heavily on the generosity of donors for some or all of their funding. Nonprofit does NOT mean “no money” and the industry is more dynamic than you may think. Check out this article if you want to learn more about some of the myths surrounding the nonprofit sector.
Here are the 4 Reasons (with examples) Why You Should Be Using Drones for Nonprofit.
1. Membership Growth
Virtual tours are an excellent way of capturing people’s attention and helping them explore your nonprofit from the comforts of their computer or mobile device. These also happen to be 2 important factors for increasing membership. When people can connect with and understand your brand, they are more likely to get involved. Drones can effectively showcase the details of your building, neighborhood, and the surrounding community the nonprofit serves. A drone can glide through these areas and create memorable visuals for prospective members.
Example: Virtual tours are great for small-colleges trying to increase enrollment. Small-colleges face fierce competition when recruiting prospective students. Virtual tours with stunning drone video is how small-colleges can stand out from the noise and engage with students and parents. A schools communication campaign can use virtual tours to tell a unique story and showcase the college from a fresh new perspective.
2. Strategic Planning
Thinking of expanding your footprint? Acquiring a new building or breaking ground on new land? Drone pictures and videos help key stakeholders understand your nonprofit’s vision. Drone images help tell your story by showing what you want to build and why expansion is an important step for your nonprofit.
Example: At Heartland Drone Company we partnered with a non-profit who wanted to expand into a new building. We used the drone to capture videos and photos of the building they wanted to acquire. The building was massive and sat on several acres. This purchase was a huge decision for the future of the nonprofit and these images were crucial in their decision making process because they helped visualize how the organization would use the building to maximize their impact on the community.
3. Event Promotion
Drones excel at capturing and promoting outdoor events. Hosting a walk, tournament, or large-scale activity? Drones can quickly and efficiently record different areas of the event. They also do a great job of showing size and scale. And a funny thing with drones…whenever a group see’s one, everyone loves to wave at the camera – these are perfect clips for a promotional video!
Example: The best way to promote? Use a drone to capture your event and show people having fun. Turn that footage into 15 – 30 second videos. Then post the short videos on your nonprofit’s social media accounts and provide information how people can get involved.
In a world of limited resources, nonprofit organizations compete intensely for media attention, recognition, funding, and other resources. Drone footage can help you stand out from the pack and differentiate your brand from competing organizations. Beautiful drone images are a welcomed upgrade for newsletters, ‘thank you’ cards, emails, web pages and other communications targeted at donors, supporters, and volunteers. Since nonprofits rely heavily on the support of others, communication materials are crucial for keeping people informed and engaged.
Example: Here’s a photo spread from a small-college alumni magazine. This magazine was distributed through the mail and also published online in digital format.
Drones for Nonprofit | Best Practices
Follow FAA rules and have your UAV licenseGet insured.Fly safe.
Batteries charged, weather conditions, pre-flight checks, etc.
Have an experienced editor produce your videos and pictures.
Leverage social media to showcase your work.
Facebook has powerful analytic tools that can help you track the performance of your posts.
Check out our real estate blog post for some additional tips.
Drones for Nonprofit | Buying Guide
Editing software: Premiere Pro and Photoshop are applications in the Adobe Creative Cloud. These are the only 2 that you’ll likely need. And Adobe usually offers discounts for students and teachers if you fall into that category. Check it out here.