charity and online video

Today, we’re sharing ways you can incorporate charity into your videos. We’ll look at why video is the perfect vehicle for highlighting charitable causes, and how you can inspire others to make a change. We’re going to start with a story.

Darius Goes West

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 BBQs, 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.

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.

Footage

Videos for social good are a perfect opportunity to utilize some of the concepts that we’ve written about. If you go for a documentary style, you can use b roll to show footage of the cause in combination with interviews. Use interviews with staff, frontline workers, those facing these challenges, or even the spokesperson of the organization your video is benefitting.

Tone

Tone is especially important in for charity videos. Ultimately, you want to inspire viewers to donate, volunteer, or be part of a larger change. Before you begin, you have some choices to make, namely what emotions you want to provoke in your audience. Music, lighting, colors, and language all help evoke the right mood.

Call to Action

Don’t forget the call to action. Utilize our CTA feature to encourage your audience to donate, learn more, share your video, or join a mailing list. And, make sure that you include information about the organization you’re featuring at the end of your video.

Shareability

Make your video social media friendly. Use hashtags throughout your video to make it searchable, as well as social media buttons. The Darius Goes West trailer does a great job of using CTA’s and social media prompts to make donating and spreading the word easy. These prompts can be easily added during the editing process.

Tie it to a day

Finally, go to Punchbowl and sites like it to find special days that correspond with your cause. There’s a day for everything – from doughnuts to volunteering, and they make timing promotions, campaigns, launches, and special events easy.


How have you used video for do-gooding? Share your stories, experiences, and tips with us in the comments below!

Ready to share your charity video online? SproutVideo offers many options, from brandable landing pages to easy-to-use video embed codes to publish videos on your own website. Open a free trial and start sharing today!

Written by Laci Texter

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

Posted October 7, 2013

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