Voiceover Narration for Non-profit Organizations
I’d like to dispel a poor bit of “advice” that keeps surfacing in the VO world: to shy away from voiceover for non-profit organizations. This guidance is, in part, because the remuneration is often low or lower than corporate work or commercial voice over work. But there are several reasons narrating for nonprofits can be beneficial. By avoiding non-profit organizations, you may be missing out on voice-over narration that can be extremely rewarding, occasionally financially, but more often the reward is measured in other ways. Before you write them off your marketing plans, check out other benefits this work offers.
Why You Want To Narrate For Nonprofit Organizations
It is generally true that nonprofit organizations try to keep their video communication budgets as low as possible to be able to put the money they accrue to further their agenda. In the union world a public service announcement, for example, might pay out half the rate of a regular commercial or narration. However, not all of the work pays low rates. You can always bid for this kind of work at your regular rate. If you are exactly what they are looking for or they’ve been given a healthy budget and need to disburse funds accordingly, your rate may not be compromised. There may also be benefits in providing pro-bono narration work that can be reported as a donation on your taxes, talk to your accountant and see if you can get a charitable tax receipt in lieu of payment for work done.
For better or worse, there will be fewer people competing for this work because the price offered is generally lower. This means you may have a better chance of booking the work since the talent pool vying for it is smaller. And because less competition, also means more opportunity to build a relationship with these organizations with your marketing. Working with nonprofits can open opportunities for referral business as well. The universe of non-profit organizations is smaller than the general corporate population and often as part of their mandates, they spend time building relationships with other non-profits and corporations. Being a trusted resource in this arena can be a very good way to build your client list.
An important asset to any business, but especially in non-profit work is relationship building. And developing partnerships in a B2B2NPO (business to business to non-profit organization) may yield big benefits. For example, you may be doing a favour for an agency when you narrate for a non-profit. Chances are the agency is also doing a part or all of the work pro bono. If they ask you to participate, you have an opportunity to be seen as part of their team and benefit from that association.
You also get the benefit of being associated with the nonprofit itself. A few of the more recognized charitable organizations I have done voiceover narration work for include the American Red Cross, Easter Seals, United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, B’nai Brith, Americares, the Nature Conservancy, Patient Access Network Foundation, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rotary International, Smithsonian Institution.
“Give me beauty in the inward soul; may the outward and the inward man be at one.” Socrates may not have been specifically referencing non-profit narration, but there is a definite value to aligning what you care about with what you do. He also said, “Let him who would move the world, first move himself” and finding non-profit organizations that align with your values to narrate for can give your voice over work an extra dollop of purpose. You may not be able to afford giving a donation, but this may be a way you can contribute. Being a part of something larger than your own business and doing good in the world is a benefit that shouldn’t be undervalued. At the beginning of the covid 19 pandemic, a lot of people became very stressed very quickly. A narrator on multiple mediation apps, I created and narrated a couple free guided meditations for friends, family members and people in my business community to help ease the anxiety. Although not aligned with a non-profit, this offering brought me an extra sense of giving back
There’s a great deal of satisfaction that can be gained from helping out your fellow man (or animals, or the environment, or fighting social injustice, etc..) While you’re spending time building out your voice over career, you may not have time to volunteer at the food bank, but you could offer to voice their Thanksgiving or Xmas spots as a donation. You can also align your VO business brand with a particular charity or branch of work where non-profits exist (i.e. healthcare or cancer or working with kids). This will not only benefit you in doing-good vibes, but also boost your brand recognition with other for profit corporations in the same space.