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  • Writer's pictureChris Strub

Live-streaming for Nonprofits: Why Your Streams Need a Bit of Pizazz

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

Last month, I took the stage at Social Media Marketing World, the world's premier social media marketing event, out in San Diego. The thousands of attendees at this event come from around the globe, but for the most part, share one major common bond: a genuine passion for leveraging social media.

As much as I love SMMW -- and I've already bought my ticket for 2020 -- my truest passion comes in helping share these gifts with nonprofits. I'm writing this blog post on an airplane to St. Louis, Mo., where tomorrow, I'll be helping support the cause of 800+ participating nonprofits in a 24-hour online giving day known as #GiveSTLDay.

I presented in March at Social Media Marketing World to an audience that's quite different from the hundreds of nonprofits I've worked with over the years.

My work with giving days -- St. Louis, as well as San Antonio's #BigGive2019 (case study) and two years running of Louisville, Ky.'s #GiveForGoodLou (case study) -- has allowed me to connect with over 1,000 nonprofits of all sizes. And while some of these organizations staff some extraordinarily talented social media thought leaders (hello, Melody Murphy of the Metro United Way), almost all of these organizations really need the simplest possible solutions to achieve their digital marketing goals.

Every time I'm blessed to take the stage in front of nonprofits, I think cautiously about the audience. I've spoken enough now to see what words and ideas tend to push the envelope a bit too far. And although most nonprofits would have a great time in San Diego for Social Media Marketing World, many of the ideas offered on stage might be a bit too advanced for their liking.

The key, in an increasingly flooded News Feed space, is to be able to create something that *looks and feels* advanced, while quietly minimizing the effort on the back end. Again, very, very few nonprofits have either the time, the resources or the know-how to edit video -- and based on the reactions you get when you meet with nonprofits, it's pretty clear that's not an avenue they're looking to head down.

The one bridge I've tried to help the nonprofits I've worked with cross is with live-streaming. Back in the summer of 2015, I traversed the country, using my iPhone -- and just my iPhone -- to become the first person to live-stream in all 50 U.S. states.

It was fun, and quite the accomplishment -- but the video quality was quite poor.

Thankfully, and as expected, the apps that we use, the devices we yield, and the strength of data connectivity have all improved over the last four years. Accordingly, it's been important that creators improve their processes as well.

But there's the careful distinction again: it's important that we make *better* video, but it's also critical -- particularly for nonprofits! -- that the time invested in these productions stays minimal.

So we reach the critical question:

How can nonprofits make *better* video without investing more *time*?

I've found the answer:

Switcher Studio.

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Switcher Studio is an iOS-based app that can run on your iPhone or iPad. There is a compatible app for a MacBook, called Switcher Cast, but you ultimately need to create your broadcast through either a phone or tablet. (At least as of now, May 2019 -- check back in, I'd say, six months.)

Like a fine musical instrument, Switcher Studio will work for just about anybody -- but the potential to make something *great* is there from the beginning.

Specifically, Switcher Studio allows a creator to incorporate a number of things that you currently cannot do natively to Facebook:

-- Include multiple camera angles (up to 10), including Mac screens

-- Combine up to four cameras at once into different style shots

-- Play B-Roll videos and show photos from your camera roll

-- Natively build in lower thirds and other graphic overlays -- and build those items right in the app

None of these things are critical to a quality Facebook Live broadcast these days -- but I'm reaching the point where I'd say at least one of them is.

Once you cross the mental hurdle of realizing you'll need to use an app other than Facebook -- and yes, Switcher Studio is a paid app -- you'll quickly realize how much more you can do than just pressing the broadcast button and talking.

Incorporating just a sprinkle of magic into your broadcasts makes an *enormous* difference in the watchability of the video. Even just adding a lower third with your name shows the viewers that you've put in some additional prep work before starting your live-stream. Having a video or two of B-Roll ready to go prompts your viewer to continue giving you their attention. And if you can switch camera angles on your Facebook Live broadcast, you're immediately setting that content apart from the vast, vast majority of other live videos your audience is accustomed to.

Most importantly, it's *easy.* By using Switcher Studio, there's no need to go back and revisit your live content once it's posted. By adding in lower thirds, logos, images, etc. -- you're essentially doing all of that editing in real-time.

Rest assured, as you get accustomed to the app, you'll find increasing comfort in the editing process. And without a doubt, your audience will notice and appreciate the extra effort.

DISCLOSURE UPDATE, JULY 2021: This post was not sponsored by Switcher Studio when it was written in 2019, but as of March 2021 I am officially partnering with Switcher Studio to help nonprofits maximize their giving day efforts. If you use my affiliate link to get started with Switcher Studio, it is helpful to me. Thanks in advance.

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Chris Strub is the first person to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states, author of '50 States, 100 Days: The Book,' and the 'Giving Day Guy,' partnering with giving days nationwide to use live-streaming and other social media platforms to share stories. Check out Chris's live-streaming kit at and get his courses at

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