'Four useful tips on making a successful video for your charity' blog

Charities have amazing stories to tell. A study of the top 400 charities and non-profit organisations in the United States revealed that 97% were using some type of video to help inspire their audience. Charities use video in a number of ways – to raise awareness, to inform, to fundraise and to attract supporters. One of the key benefits of using video is the ability to connect emotionally with your audience by telling an honest and compelling story. So, how do you make a successful charity campaign video? Of course, every video has its own distinct objectives, but here are some pointers to help make your charity video an engaging and effective tool.

The aim of the video and the key messages:
You need to be clear why you’re making the video, what impression you want to make and what do you want your audience to get out of it. How do you want the viewer to feel and act? What makes your story distinct? What is your call to action? Remember, attention spans are short. So, pare down the number of key messages in your video to maximize audience engagement.

Who the charity video is aimed at:
It is imperative to know who your target audience is and to tailor the style and tone of your video to that audience. For example, the use of language in an informational video for a hospice would be different if the audience were healthcare professionals referring patients to the hospice compared to an audience of in-patients and their carers.

Connecting emotionally with the viewer:
Although voice-over has its place, the best way to connect with the viewer is through personal, authentic stories. Sensitively handled interviews with people who have real stories to tell (supported by relevant and creative illustrative shots) will help with audience engagement and allow a charity to convey its key messages. These interviews (which are often with beneficiaries) can be backed up with additional information imparted by experts and/or representatives from the charity. For campaign videos raising awareness and funds, strike a balance between despair and hope (where relevant) and leave the audience feeling they really can make a difference.

Video content will sit on your website, on Vimeo and YouTube, as a link in an email and across social media platforms. Videos are instantly shareable and this shareability can play a big part in making your charity video successful. If a viewer has connected on a personal level to a video, they are more likely to share it with family and friends through social media – thereby getting your message out to a much wider audience. In terms of raising awareness, branding and fundraising, social media is a powerful tool.