Free tool of the week: Animoto for a Cause

cause CaptureThis is the second in a series of explorations of free, online audio-visual tools that have potential nonprofit applications.

Animoto—a service that automatically programs music you select and your images and text into a video slideshow—has been around a while. Again, it offers a free level (30-second limit) and a paid premium level of service. But last week, Animoto for a Cause was launched, giving nonprofits the chance to sign up free for the premium level, which includes:

  • Unlimited full-length video creation
  • A tool that allows you to add text to your video
  • Free access to their library of 300+ songs, all licensed for promotional purposes
  • A call to action feature that links your video to a website (great path for getting viewers into a relationship with your organization)
  • Unlimited DVD-quality downloads (much better resolution that the standard Animoto videos) which can be burned, re-sold, or played during events
  • The ability to post your videos to popular social networks

Here’s Animoto’s own description of the program:

Animoto for a Cause ( gives non-profit organizations and community activists free and unlimited access to the full range of Animoto’s services, both standard and premium. Animoto is the web application that lets anyone quickly and easily create dynamic, professional-quality videos from their own photos and music.  Now organizations can use the service to promote their cause online in a multitude of ways, from posting and sharing videos on websites, YouTube and social networks, to downloading them to DVD for distribution at events.  Applications are now being accepted from qualified organizations, groups, individuals, non-profits, and activists.

And here’s a sample about Darfur from Animoto that gives you a sense of what the finished product is like. (Sorry, doesn’t accept Animoto embeds, so these examples are links instead. Just click on the photos.)

darfur Capture

Obviously, you need good free music, strategically crafted copy, and photos that tell a story. I’m thinking this example isn’t the best the medium can yield. But it holds communications promise—especially for younger audiences. Animoto suggests that it’s a good way to highlight special events, but I think it could be interesting to use this tool for advocacy, fund-raising, or community-building messages.

Because I wanted first-hand experience with Animoto, I created a free 30-second portfolio of my past work just for fun. The process is very simple, and here’s the result. (I used free music from CCmixter, which is also very simple.)

animoto Capture

If any of you nonprofits have used Animoto or have other ideas about uses for this tool—add a comment or a link to share your example!



2 Responses to “Free tool of the week: Animoto for a Cause”

  1. rjleaman Says:

    Gayle, thanks for the great tip on using CCMixer to find free Creative Commons-licensed music to go with!

  2. 3 cool, creative, FREE communications tools for nonprofits « IMPACTMAX Says:

    […] year I blogged about the promise of Animoto, Glogster, and Yodio as free ways to add more zip to your photos. I’ll add one […]

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