5 Key Points to Make Video Work for Charities

Summary: The following was written with charities in mind, but as the opening gambit below implies, these considerations are almost seamlessly transferable to regular businesses too: so read on!


1. Run A Charity Like A Business!
A charity runs best when it’s run like a business. By that I don’t mean profit, profit, profit: but in one sense I do! An effective charity is one that consistently raises funds using whatever resources it has at its disposal. Well conceived video content creation can be an easy tool to help worthy causes consistently achieve these ends.

2. Feeling It
As a charitable organisation you want to have people sympathetic to your story: you need them to ascribe sufficient value to “your cause” to deem it “worthy”. Videos work for charities so well because usually they have a classic narrative structure just waiting to be exploited and articulated in a compelling video story. Nothing captures hearts, minds and mood like video content. It stirs up resonant sympathies both quickly and effectively.

3. The Big Guns: Keep It Real
Sympathy is good but empathy is way  better! Use real people whereever you can in the content you create. Human relationships, such as family and friends are things that the majority of people can relate to. When real people tell their story it’s compelling and comes with zero disconnect. This is vital!

4. Story
The basic story structure for charity films is usually as follows: There is a problem with the World, a particular situation or circumstance, the charity seeks to remedy that problem and this is how they go about doing it. Once the charity has posited itself as a viable solution for the clearly presented problem they can then deliver a simple call to action.

The call to action does not have to be as blunt as a “just pledge £2 a month” plea, but could be something as subtle, in an off-site video, as “to see how you can help us visit www.etc”.

5. Demonstrate the Difference
Hopefully charities are catalysts for change. It’s essential then that the difference made by the charity’s activity is clearly discernible in the video content created.

Below are few examples of content created by 90SecondStory™ for Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation that demonstrate well these principles considered:

In this first example the narrative follows a typical ‘day in the life’ scenario and goes on a journey with the central character as he does his blood and tissue delivery work for the charity.

Joe is the central character in this 90SecondStory™ and his narration drives the content. He makes clear the discernible difference the Foundation has made to him as an individual.

In this video it was really important that the young boxers engage directly with the camera at times and smile, so that notwithstanding their tough demeanor they appear warm and approachable to viewers. I hasten to add that they were all great in the flesh, but sometimes you need to make doubly sure that the appropriate messages are communicated in the cut!