Chevron left
What We Think

Everything You Should Know About Video Production Costs for a Nonprofit Video

Nonprofits, conquer video budgets with this 2024 guide to avoiding hidden costs and maximizing impact.
July 10, 2024
Everything You Should Know About Video Production Costs for a Nonprofit Video

You know video is the secret sauce for amplifying your nonprofit's impact. But let's face it: The world of video production can feel like a jungle of jargon and hidden costs.

Fear not! We're here to demystify the numbers and equip you with the knowledge you need to create compelling videos without breaking the bank.
Capturing the essence of pre-production, which is critical for a successful video production project
Pre-production is essential for videos of any duration, even 15-second social media clips. This is especially true if you're expecting new audience reach or spikes in volunteer interest.

Decoding the Video Production Budget: Where Your Dollars Go

Imagine your video project as a three-act play: pre-production, production, and post-production. Each act comes with its own cast of characters and financial considerations.

Act I: Pre-Production (The Idea Factory)

This is where it begins – brainstorming (or "goodstorming" as we have coined it), scriptwriting, storyboarding, and planning every detail.

Costs here can vary wildly depending on the complexity of your project. If you've got a clear vision, a script ready to roll, and locations locked down, you might be able to keep pre-production under $3,000 for a short online video. But don't skimp here! A well-planned pre-production phase sets the stage for a smooth and successful shoot.

An BTS image of a Goodsides production showing our logo
Productions require time, people, equipment, preparation, and passion.

Act II: Production Day (Cameras Arrive)

This is where the cameras roll and the action happens. The big-ticket items here are your crew and equipment. Production companies typically charge a day rate, and for a nonprofit project with a minimal crew (director, camera operator, sound engineer), you're looking at anywhere from $5,600 to $9,000 per day.

Yes, that's a hefty chunk of change, but remember, you're investing in skilled professionals who can capture your story with cinematic flair.

A word of caution: beware of suspiciously low rates. Some companies might offer "fast food" rates at $4,500 per day, or lower, but this often comes at a cost – overworked crews, rushed schedules, and potential sacrifices in quality. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Act III: Post-Production (The Polishing Touch)

Raw footage is just the beginning. The real magic happens in the editing room, where your story is shaped, polished, and brought to life.

Editing costs are typically based on the length of your video, with rates ranging from $500 to $1,000 per finished minute. We recommend sticking with the production company for editing – they'll have a deep understanding of your project and can ensure a seamless transition from filming to final product.

Adding up these estimates, for a video of about 1-3 minutes, the grand total cost could range from roughly $9,100 to $21,000 or more, depending on the specific requirements and duration of each phase. This estimate assumes 1-2 days of filming and includes potential variability in pre-production and post-production costs based on the project's complexity and the quality of output desired.

Bidding this out may mean firms lower their prices by 5-15% to remain competitive, but keep in mind that bidding carries an administrative burden as well. A private bidding scenario, whereby your organization shortlists 3-5 reputable firms is a good middle-road solution.

Image of man using phone to look at map of lcoation
Using satellite imagery beforehand can be a cost-efficient strategy to avoid lengthy planning and location scouting line items.

The Hidden Costs: Don't Get Caught Off Guard

Here's where many nonprofits stumble – the hidden costs that can sneak up and blow your budget. Here are a few to watch out for:

  • Talent Fees: Even if your volunteers are eager beavers, it's crucial to budget for professional talent when needed. Actors, voiceover artists, and on-screen presenters deserve to be compensated for their time and expertise.
  • Location Scouting: Proper scouting involves visiting locations at different times of day to assess lighting conditions, sound quality, and potential logistical challenges. Don't overlook this crucial step!
  • The "Last-Minute Asset Safari": It happens to the best of us. As your video nears completion, someone inevitably remembers a crucial photo, video clip, or document that must be included. Plan for this by allocating a small budget for last-minute asset gathering.
  • Research and Revisions: Fact-checking, script tweaks, multiple rounds of edits – these all take time and resources. Factor them into your budget to avoid surprises down the line.
Video production outside with lighting and props (the Goodsides crew network in action)
Knowing when productions need to scale is hugely beneficial; evergreen content needs at nonprofits may only require productions this size once every two years. But we don't recommend waiting beyond this timeframe.

The Goodsides Advantage

At Goodsides, we're committed to helping nonprofits tell their stories through video. We've honed our budgeting process over years of experience, and we're always transparent about costs upfront.

We believe that high-quality video production should be accessible to all organizations, regardless of budget.

Ready to Take Action?

Armed with this knowledge, you're ready to create a video budget that works for your nonprofit. Remember, video is an investment in your mission. By budgeting wisely and partnering with experienced professionals, you can create compelling videos that inspire action, raise awareness, and drive real change.

Ready to bring your video vision to life? Let's chat today about how Goodsides can help.