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Video Equipment Tips for Nonprofits on a Budget

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Video can go a long way to help nonprofits raise both awareness and funds. These videos tend to be funny, informal, and attention-grabbing. In doing, so, they relate to your audience, tell a compelling story, and increase social shares.

Creating one of these videos for your nonprofit isn’t as expensive or difficult as you might imagine—you won’t have to hire an outside team to create videos. Instead, purchasing some basic, inexpensive video equipment will allow you to continue creating videos for your nonprofit, from one idea to the next.

Below are a few necessary types of equipment along with some specific models and brands recommended for the kind of videos you’ll shoot.

Video EquipmentCamera

Pocket cameras or smartphones can easily be used as your primary recording device, along with some basic items for stabilization and audio. But note: if you use your smartphone, make sure any accessories you use are compatible with your specific smartphone brand. But if you’d like a dedicated camcorder, these are each great options:

Kodak Zi10 PlayTouch: The Kodak Zi10 doesn’t record the best-looking footage in the world, but it’s inexpensive and, perhaps most importantly, it has an external microphone jack—which will enable you to get great audio using a lapel or shotgun mic.

Zoom Q2HD: If you don’t plan on using an external microphone, you should check out the Zoom Q2HD. Video quality should be acceptable for more users and the built-in microphone is really superb.


When you need a basic tripod to hold a camera, either of these will work just fine—you just have to expect basic options with acceptable panning/tilting capabilities. Most of these are portable, too.

Manfrotto 60.6” Tripod: If you don’t plan on a whole lot of panning/tilting and just need something to place your camera on, this is for you. It collapses down to a great travel size as well.

Davis and Sanford Provista 7518 with FM18 Head: The two-handle design allows for easy panni­­­­­­­­­­ng and tilting, and it’s great for any movement you plan to do during the shoot.

Joby GripTight Mount: When using a smartphone, you’ll need an adapter that enables it to be tripod-mountable, such as this Joby GripTight Mount.


You have a few options when it comes to audio. You can use a clip-on lapel microphone, on-camera shotgun microphone, a handheld microphone, boom pole set-up—just as long as you get good sound.

Audio-Technica ATR3350: If you’ll be shooting plenty of interview-style videos, you’ll definitely want a lapel microphone.

Rode VideoMic & Micro Boom Pole Kit: This boom pole is a good substitute for a shotgun microphone. Rode has a nice kit that works well for situations when you can’t use a lapel microphone.

Rode Smartlav Microphone for Smartphones: Many microphones do NOT work out of the box with smartphones. Designed specifically for smartphones, this mic will work well with them when you get the app.


For one-person interviews and simple shoots, these are great options for extra lighting.

Impact Tungsten Two-Floodlight Kit: If you’re not shooting video for more than 30-60 minutes at a time, this will be great. This kit comes with everything you need to get started lighting great shots.

Bescor LED-95DK2: If you only need some subtle lighting, this LED option works very well, as it doesn’t get hot like tungsten. Also, LEDs are generally smaller and more portable than tungsten.

A brief video that communicates your story, celebrates your event, or makes the case for donors to give can increase awareness of your nonprofit and lead to shares and likes on social media. By increasing shares, you both establish your mission statement while, potentially, raising funds, depending on how viral the video might go. This is a worthwhile step many nonprofits are taking because they’re confident it works. Lucky for you, it’s not going to eat your budget.

Didn’t find what you were looking for on this list? Check out Santa’s Cheatsheet for Video Production Equipment.

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