Periscope lets nonprofits broadcast events and fundraisers in real time.

How nonprofit ministries can use Periscope

Periscope was one of the biggest mobile trends of 2015. The application allows people to broadcast live video from their smartphones, and viewers are able to watch through mobile or desktop devices. According to the digital marketing agency Omnicore, Periscope has 10 million users, 1.85 million of which are active daily. Apple's App Store called the service a "Best App of 2015", and Adweek wrote several how brands – including Mountain Dew, Spotify and Red Bull – have already begun integrating it into their marketing strategies. Nonprofits can do the same, using Periscope to engage viewers, generate discussion and promote excitement among those unable to attend fundraisers and relief efforts in person.

How Periscope benefits nonprofits
Periscope lets users broadcast video in real time, similar to news coverage of a red carpet event. The first 200 people who tune into a broadcast are able to comment, while the rest can express their interest by tapping their screens once. While the video only sits on Periscope's servers for 24 hours, content providers are able to save the live stream to their mobile device for later use. Nonprofit organizations can use a successful stream as content for their website or in promotional videos.

Watching events in real time gets viewers more engaged in your ministry.Watching events in real time gets viewers more engaged in your ministry.

Once a broadcast is complete, streamers are shown various statistics – including the video's length, how many viewers it accrued, how long those viewers stayed and the number who "liked" the stream – that is, tapped their phones. This information is great for nonprofits to evaluate the success of their events and can be compared to in-person analytics. Whole Whale, a digital agency for nonprofits, suggested ministries check Google Analytics to see if Periscope drove traffic to specific pages of their websites or led more people to submit online donations, sign up for a newsletter or engage in another sort of call to action.

Best practices for using Periscope
Be as prepared as possible before broadcasting. Downtime leads to viewers losing interest, and they may get impatient and abandon your stream. Have all equipment ready and key points laid out somewhere easy to reach. An event management software can keep organizations on track by scheduling broadcasts, detailing and assigning steps for preparation and notifying interested viewers through email about upcoming broadcasts.

Whole Whale suggested using a tripod for image stability during informational sessions. Tripods for smartphones are generally inexpensive and a lot more reliable than propping the phone against a stack of books. Broadcasting from the field may require a more portable option.

"Live broadcasting makes viewers feel like they're a part of the experience."

The title of a broadcast is one of the most important elements to consider. Titles should be concise and informative – include your organization's name – or an acronym – so outsiders know what they're viewing. Those who don't follow your ministry on the app can still watch your videos, so a proper title will give them the basics should they want to look for more information.

Finally, don't ignore viewers. The point of Periscope is to provide a more engaging experience than users would otherwise have. Respond to questions and comments timely and clearly, and try to speak to as many viewers as possible.

What nonprofits can do with Periscope
There are various creative ways nonprofits can use Periscope to further the cause of their organizations. Leaders can show their ministry in action, whether at home or in a foreign country. For instance, if a preacher is teaching at a newly-erected school, viewers can sit in on the lesson and add helpful insight. While watching in real time shows all of the effort that goes into a successful volunteer program, users also get to see good that comes of one. Live broadcasting makes viewers feel like they're a part of the experience; even though they are watching from afar, they feel closer to the action than they would watching an edited video at a later date.

Ministries can also use Periscope to broadcast information sessions prior to fundraisers or events, using live Q&As to engage donors and volunteers This is extremely beneficial for those who have full schedules, long commutes or are otherwise unable to attend in-person meetings. It's also more efficient for ministries and uses less resources. Nonprofits no longer have to entice attendees with promises of snacks when participation is a smartphone away.

While the same information in a broadcast can be conveyed through a newsletter, Periscope adds a personal touch. Live streaming allows for casual conversation, laughter, intense discussion and idea generation, all of which would be lost through lengthy email chains. That's what makes the app so effective – it draws users in immediately, stirring interaction and spreading awareness. Periscope's reach makes it an effective tool for nonprofits and participants alike.