Why Not Use Both, Short and Long-Form Video Content?

4 min read
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Are you only focused on short-form content? You may miss opportunities to share your organization's impact and values through long-form video content.

Maybe this isn't you, but I bet you've said we need more reels. Reels are fantastic, especially for the sub-group of your audience that wants short-form content. But what about the group that craves longer content?

Some believe shorter clips capture attention in our fast-paced digital world. Others prefer longer content for a deeper connection. Short and long-form content have roles in nonprofit communications. These two types of content serve different goals or purposes.

Despite the false belief, it's possible to create short and long-form video content without doing much extra work? But, it's essential to understand the differences between short-form and long-form video content.

Short-Form Video Content

Short-form videos are typically 60 seconds or less and are perfect for quickly grabbing your audience's attention. Basically, they're great for social media ads, promotional videos, and other situations where you must get your message across quickly.


  1. Increased Engagement. According to a study by Wistia, short videos (30 seconds or less) have higher engagement rates. An average retention rate of 85% for videos that are 30 seconds long, compared to 50% retention for videos that are 2 minutes long. (Source: Wistia)
  2. Mobile-Friendly: Short-form videos are well-suited for mobile viewing. They cater to shorter attention spans and are consumed fast on the go. Research by Facebook shows that 94% of Facebook's video views occur on mobile devices. (Source: Facebook)
  3. Social Media Reach. Short videos perform exceptionally well on social media platforms. According to HubSpot, videos under 30 seconds receive 45% more views and 1,200% more social media shares than longer videos. (Source: HubSpot)
  4. Quick Information Delivery. Short videos convey concise messages highlighting key points or calls to action. They can be used to promote events, campaigns, or urgent appeals concisely and impactfully.

Long-Form Video Content

Long-form videos are typically longer than 5 minutes. They are ideal for providing in-depth knowledge or telling a story. They allow you to go into detail and provide valuable insights.

Conversely, the shorter content doesn't allow for this depth. Long-form videos are great for webinars, impact stories/testimonials, and when you need to educate your audience in detail.


  1. In-Depth Storytelling. Long-form videos allow nonprofits to delve into complex narratives, share in-depth stories, and evoke emotions on a deeper level. They allow for more comprehensive storytelling and create a much audience connection. (Source: Animoto)
  2. Educational Content. Long-form videos are suitable for educational purposes, such as providing detailed information about a cause, showcasing program impact, or explaining complex issues. They enable nonprofits to present their expertise and engage viewers with in-depth knowledge. (Source: TechSmith)
  3. Brand Building. Longer videos allow nonprofits to showcase their brand identity, values, and mission more comprehensively. They allow for building trust and establishing a stronger emotional connection with the audience. (Source: Forbes)
  4. Fundraising and Donor Engagement. Research by Classy shows that long-form videos (over 4 minutes) have higher conversion rates for fundraising campaigns than shorter videos. They enable nonprofits to convey a compelling case for support, tell impactful stories, and inspire viewers to take action. (Source: Classy)

Examples of Nonprofits Using Both Short-form and Long-form Video Content

These nonprofits use short and long videos to tell powerful stories, raise awareness, engage donors, and inspire action. Additionally, each organization customizes its video strategy based on its mission, target audience, and storytelling goals.

Charity: Water

  • Long-Form Video. "The Spring" (24 minutes) - This documentary-style video follows the journey of Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water, as he explores the global water crisis.
  • Short-Form Video. Social media snippets highlighting individual stories, impact, and fundraising campaigns.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

  • Long-Form Video. "Our Planet" (8 episodes, each around 50 minutes) - This Netflix documentary series co-produced by WWF showcases the world's most precious ecosystems and highlights conservation efforts.
  • Short-Form Video. Social media videos featuring wildlife facts, conservation tips, and calls to action.

Feeding America

  • Long-Form Video. "Hunger in America" (10 minutes) - This video sheds light on the issue of hunger in the United States, featuring interviews with individuals struggling with food insecurity.
  • Short-Form Video. Bite-sized videos sharing quick facts, volunteer opportunities, and success stories of families lifted out of hunger.


Overall, consider your goals and the needs of your audience before picking a content type. Short-form videos are the way to go if you want to grab their attention fast. A long-form video is the best option if you must provide depth. As a result, the type of video content you choose will align with your entire strategy and help you achieve your goals.

Choosing between short-form and long-form video content is unnecessary. Both have their place in nonprofit communications to achieve different goals.

So let's end the debate and create video content that resonates with our audience. No matter if it's short, long, or somewhere between.

Need help storytelling for your nonprofit. We can can guide you to tailor your message and creating short or long-form videos. Contact us to learn how.

We're a Minnesota-based storytelling agency serving the Midwestern United States.

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