How Galgos del Sol uses video to build a community

As far as marketing tools go, video is pretty versatile.

It can be used as a fundraising tool. A promotional tool. An onboarding tool. An education tool.

Oh yeah, and a recruitment tool.

(We’re just kitten about the last one.)

These are all valuable facets, to be sure. But as single strategies, they tend to be transactional, one-sided.

What video is really good at — at what it doesn’t get enough attention for — is being a relationship tool.

If you’re willing to play the long game, video can help you create a strong, genuine, and lasting relationship with your audience.

This requires a shift in the question that grounds your content strategy. It’s no longer, “How can we convince our audience to care about us?”

Instead, the question becomes, “What does our audience care about?”

“From street life to sweet life”

Woman and two galgos
Source: Galgos del Sol

Galgos del Sol uses video as a relationship tool. And they do it quite brilliantly.

The Spain-based nonprofit rescues galgos, Spanish hunting greyhounds who are often mistreated and discarded at the end of the hunting season. GDS rehabilitates and finds new homes for these dogs in Spain, Belgium, the UK, and the US.

GDS supporters, volunteers, and donors meet on Facebook to swap stories, share pictures, and get updates about the organization. At the time of this writing, that’s nearly 60,000 people from all over the world.

two galgos
Source: Galgos del Sol

Geography, clearly, is no match for a sense of community.

And one way GDS nurtures this community is by providing frequent, interactive, and engaging video on their website and social channels.

What’s your wager?

A big source of their fundraising is through auctions, held on Facebook.

People in the community make galgo-themed items—paintings, sweaters, shirts, household items—and sell them to the highest bidder. The money is donated to GDS.

One auction focused on a pregnant pup, Belen, who arrived at the shelter. To participate in the auction, participants pay three euros to guess the date and time of the birth as well as the number of puppies.

It’s a fun, interactive competition, and it likely wouldn’t be as successful without the videos of Belen’s big belly.

Other auctions have raised money for vet bills.

These videos reflect and reinforce the group’s shared sense of purpose and community. They include inside jokes, offer a behind-the-scenes look at the organization, and show that bidder participation is absolutely vital to their success.

Dissolving divisions

GDS’s most successful video-orientated auction to date was “Rock the Next Block,” wherein auction items were either designated as “Team Hank” or “Team Granny,” the two resident galgos.

A small-town garage sale this was not: A Blondie Greatest Hits CD signed by Debbie Harry went for 1,334 euros.

In the end, the auction raised more than 40,000 euros to build 60 new kennels. 

They shared updates on the construction.

Nonprofits often thank their donors with letters, email, or video. But ones that don’t enjoy the same sense of community may say something like, “Your donations are so important to us.” Or “thank you for your support.”

But GDS says, “Look what you have achieved so far.”

There’s no real separation between donor and nonprofit; anyone who participates is a part of it, and their help is making a direct impact on the lives of the galgos. That’s a real relationship.

The role of humor

Video that works almost always has a personality. Maybe it’s because we can tell the difference between the voice of a business entity and the voice of an actual human.

GDS’s videos use the voice of a real person—its founder, Tina Solera.

“At GDS, we use humour to express ourselves,” the website reads. “The work we do can be so heartbreaking and is so relentless that we found a great outlet in humour, and our videos are the best example.”

It should be noted that not all their videos are lighthearted, so if you’re browsing their YouTube channel, be prepared to be uncomfortable and even shocked.

Indeed, from their website: “We also recognize that it is important to show the raw side of animal rescue, and we create videos that show our reality and the types of situations that we face on a daily basis.”

No budget. No equipment. No problem.

We like to talk about the importance of planning ahead and having a clear strategy for your video.

We recommend using best practices for production.

And we stand by that advice. We wouldn’t have started a business otherwise.

That said, GDS proves that you can still do video—and be incredibly successful—if you’re flying by the seat of your pants.

Tina uses either her phone or a point-and-shoot camera to film and iMovie (free) to edit.

“I never really plan,” she told me. “It just comes and I run with it and start filming.”

So if you want to try video, don’t let a tiny budget stop you. Just think of opportunities to engage with your audience in a way that is authentic, original, and gives them a chance to have their voices heard.

Open Eye Creative is a small video production company with a huge vision: to use the power of story to strengthen and propel organizations that are changing the world. Read more.