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Free Video Tool for your Non-profit

How to use Animoto to create free, professional looking videos for your non-profit organization.

I recently read a great article about how making a video about your non-profit is a great way to promote your cause and ask for donations.  A well made video can say a lot about your organization.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a 3 minute video worth?  If you assume a standard frame rate of 24 images per second, you are looking at 4,320,000 words, or roughly about eight copies of War and Piece.  Given the high value of creating a video to publicize your cause, it’s not wonder that hiring a professional videographer can cost quite a bit.  If you are a small organization and don’t have the resources to hire someone to make your video for you, you could use iMovie or Animoto to create a decent looking video for you.

Make a video by yourself

iMovie logo


Chances are, you probably already own a computer.  If you happened to buy an Apple computer, it came with iMovie
pre-installed.  I’ve used iMovie quite a bit for family movies and the results can look pretty impressive.  The user interface is relatively intuitive, and you can make a decent looking movie in a small amount of time.

The problem comes when you try use some of the more advanced features.  iMovie contains a lot of features that let you fine tune your work.  However, for the type A inclined, these features will cost you an inordinate amount of time as you try to perfectly match up your background music track with the action in the movie.

iMovie also only contains a limited amount of themes to apply to your movie.  Most of these revolve around the family home video genre, so if your cause doesn’t quite mesh with the typical family road trip, you may be out of luck and have to use a generic black background.

As nice as iMovie can be, Animoto can help you create a higher quality video in less time.

Animoto to the rescue

animoto logo

Animoto for a cause

I think Animoto is a relatively unknown web application, but as we’ve used it to document the goings on in the Myriad Ragnar team and the Huntsman Hometown Heroes program in general, it has proven itself to be a very handy piece of technology.  We’re able to create a professional video of each week’s training run as well as create individual videos for each of the fundraising teams in a rapid fashion.

What makes Animoto different?

The biggest advantage of Animoto is that it uses an advanced algorithm to do all of the video editing for you.  All of the transitions, backgrounds, audio fade, text placement etc. are handled automatically.  This allows you, the time and cash strapped small outfit, to spend more time on doing what matters, capturing great content about your cause.  You get to focus your time and energy on taking great video and pictures about the things you care about.  All the technicalities of video production are handled for you.

The interface is easy to understand and it only takes a few minutes to get acquainted with the basics.  The program comes pre-loaded with lots of themes and even has a pretty large selection of stock photos and video that you can use in your video.  I created a pretty basic video in about 5 minutes.


How much does a service like this cost?  You can get a basic account that lets you make 30 second videos for free, but the best part is that if you are a non-profit you can get an upgraded account for FREE!  The upgrade gives you a wider selection of themes and lets you make videos longer than 30 seconds.  It also lets you download the videos onto your computer so you can make DVDs.  To get the free upgrade, visit Animoto for a Cause.


The biggest downside about Animoto is that each video clip is limited to 10 seconds.  This means that if you have a clip that is 30 seconds long, you’ll have to break it up into three separate 10 second chunks.  For many applications this works well, because it keeps the momentum going so people pay attention.  If, however, you are trying to include a long speech from one of your supporters, it doesn’t work so well.

Sample Videos

You can see a number of videos about our team that use Animoto spread throughout our website.  The best one can be found on our About the Myriad Ragnar team page.  For the full collection of Huntsman Hometown Heroes videos, you can visit the Huntsman Hometown Heroes YouTube channel.


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