Videos for Charities: what makes the best charity videos so impactful?

Ben Matthews

By Ben Matthews

In Video

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What are the best videos for charities? How can charities take advantage of the power of video storytelling?

Ben Matthews, Director at creative agency empower, spoke to Virgin Money Giving about the incredible impact charity videos can make and how you don’t necessarily need a lot of budget to make one.

Ben reviewed three videos, from UNICEF, War Child and International Day of the Girl, taking us through what makes each one impactful. He also gives tips on how charities can produce engaging and impactful videos for themselves – even if they’re working on a tight budget.

Videos for Charities: Transcript

My name is Ben Matthews, I’m the director of an agency called emp“text-decoration: underline;”>ower. We run digital marketing campaigns for social good causes.

Today we’re going to be looking at three charity videos, seeing what makes them effective and learning what other charities can take from them and how to make their own videos good as well.

Related: Social Media Video – The Ultimate Guide

“16 year old girl with HIV asking for a hug” by UNICEF

We’re going to look at a video from UNICEF where we see a 16 year old girl with HIV asking for a hug and we’re going to look at why it’s particularly impactful video.

I think this proves that you don’t need lots of budget to produce an impactful video. It’s very simple, but it’s powerful.

So I think that charities that are looking into making video think about the concept, think about the message you’re trying to get across first.

The video actually is great for storytelling. You can see when she’s hugging people lots of people from different walks of life – young, old, men, women, kids – all hugging her and all not afraid to. It’s a really nice way of showing not telling.

The UNICEF video is shorter than the others, it’s just over a minute long, and that’s good for the modern online environment .

Our attention span is getting shorter and a lot of people on these days just need a simple message, communicate it well, and this video does that well in under a minute.

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“Freedom” by International Day of the Girl

Next we’re going to look at Freedom, a video from International Day of the Girl and find out what makes it particularly impactful.

I love the International Day of the Girl video. it’s obviously a bit bigger budget, but I come together really nicely.

It’s a modern movement that brings together a global movement, because there’s girls represented from all around the world.

Taking the form of a kind of music video will inherently make it more shareable, so the video has had nearly 5 million views on YouTube.

I think the difference between this one and the other ones is the much higher budget much higher production values and that probably shows in the amount of views it’s got, but they probably did put more resource behind it to promote the video as well.

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“Batman” by War Child

Lastly, we’re going to look at War Child’s “Batman” video and find out what makes it particularly impactful.

In modern video we often turn the concepts of video structure on its head, because people’s attention spans are so short, you want to get the main message across within the first few seconds.

The War Child video with Batman grabs you from the start.

Seeing Batman in a place like refugee camp immediately draws attention because it’s out of place, it’s funny, and people both adults who will be supporting War Child but also kids who might watch it as well.

Humour in videos is really important for charities, because it gets people’s attention. The danger is that you trivialise the cause, so actually a child in a refugee camp is not a laughing matter. But I think that’s the tension there.

I can imagine Batman being very hot in that suit, though the actor was great as well so I think the whole way it came together is really nice.

It’s Batman, it’s comedy, but in a serious situation, so I think they balance it well there.

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Should a charity video educate or entertain?

It’s definitely challenge in the balance between educating viewers and entertaining them. I think lots of charities looked at entertainment first because that engages people, so bringing in that education part is more difficult.

I think this girl’s movement video does that really well. It balances both so you get the entertainment and it also gets the message across.

I think the War Child one does that well as well and as you can see from UNICEF one that was much more about education.

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What puts charities off from investing in video?

I think what put small charities off from making videos is perhaps the expense.

Videos can be very expensive to create and I think the three ones we look at are high production values and probably did cost a lot to make.

But with social media video doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be shot on a smartphone.

All people care about really is getting the story behind what the charity does and as long as you’re just being authentic, as long as you’re explaining what you’re doing, again people don’t care about how polished it is.

They just want to see what the story is.

Any last tips on creating impactful charity videos?

So one important thing to think about when creating a video is the sound, because t’s okay for filming on a smartphone, the videos are generally okay.

The sound is much harder to get right, so you will need a decent microphone, you will need a quiet space if you’re doing that kind of video.

Or even if you’re not and just putting music on the top, you’re going to spend a lot of time trying to get the music right to fit the mood.

Spend more time on the planning of the video than you do on the actual recording. Most of these videos successes don’t come from the actual filming, they come from the planning, the scripting and the promotion afterwards.

So make sure you’re spending a lot of time on that as well as the production.

See the video video empower make, and get in touch to discuss your video needs.