Gather round, friends. This week’s SproutVideo blog topic is a little different. Today we want to devote some time to talk about ways you can incorporate social good into your videos, why video is the perfect vehicle, and how you can inspire others to make a change. We’re going to start with a story.

In 2005, a group of 12 guys, almost all under the age of 20, set out from Athens, Georgia on a cross country road trip. Like most road trips, the group identified stops to hit along the way: the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, an ocean toe-touch, and even a ride in a hot air balloon. Unlike most road trips, this journey had a mission: to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The trip wasn’t just a road trip; it was also a celebration of 15-year-old Darius Weems, a member of the crew who was and is living with the disease. And of course, the journey was documented.

We should mention that the crew was not a group of professionally trained filmmakers. This was a group of friends with a good idea. To fund the trip they sold film credits. Logan Smalley, who spearheaded the trip, edited the film. They sold DVD’s to raise donation funds, held barbeques, sold downloads, and used CTA’s to prompt donations from their online trailer. To date, the proceeds from the project have totaled over 2 million dollars.

Darius Goes West’ demonstrates how powerful video can be. Video shatters the mantra of ‘ignorance is bliss’. If we can’t see an event, e.g. how an illness changes someone’s ability to perform even the simplest task or our impact on planet earth, the issue is easy to dismiss. Video bears witness, which is why this medium is a compelling choice for raising awareness, funding campaigns, and inspiring people to make changes.

What can you do?

This type of project clearly takes a bit of time, which you might not have. Luckily, there are a lot of different ways you can make a difference online. First, you can take cues from the DGW crew and devote an entire video to a cause. Your video doesn’t have to be long. The Rainforest Alliance, Back on my Feet, and End7 have produced short, effective videos that have gotten a lot of positive attention.

You can embrace the concept behind this video out of Thailand made by the telecommunications company True. While the video doesn’t explicitly call for donations or social change, the theme of the video is the big impact a single altruistic gesture can have. But, you can go one step further. Pick a cause true to your heart and encourage donations at the end of your video. Or, set aside a portion of your profits for donations. Even better, do both.

Finally, you can donate your time, resources, and skills to help a charity make their own videos. Nonprofits are usually strapped for resources, including time. While donating time is not considered a tax write-off, costs that are incurred for resources you might use while shooting or editing might be.

We’ll be back on Wednesday with the specifics of how to create social good videos, but for now, please share your experiences with and your questions about them here, on Facebook, and on Twitter @sproutvideo!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted October 7, 2013

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