How to create charity videos all your stakeholders will love

17th March 2016

For charities, an effective video marketing strategy helps them reach and share the emotional core of their cause. By creating stories that talk to the target audience, charity videos help to engage viewers and can make a real impact – even go viral. Whether not-for-profits want to increase awareness, raise funds or campaign for policy changes, video can reach and engage multiple stakeholders.

Here are some of the key audiences nonprofits need to target and the type of content which will engage them.

Can charities reach new audiences through video?

Charities are in a competitive environment with other nonprofits and all the content noise out there. Therefore, it can be well worth setting targets to reach new audiences by creating and seeding video content.

The nonprofit, War Child, plays with a gaming “Call of Duty” aesthetic in this video where it targets a younger demographic.

It’s a hard-hitting film, and the first person point of view in the video game conceit really puts the viewer in the action, and helps to develop an emotional connection.

Not-for-profit service users

Charities need to show how their services help the end user. Ultimately this demonstrates to all stakeholders why they are needed and importantly why you should donate and support them.

We were briefed by a children’s charity, Together for Short Lives, to create a talking head based, functional description of what they did aimed at their service users. But we worked with this charity to develop a far more emotive film that really got to the heart of what they do and explains how the charity can help families who find that their child has a life-threatening or limiting illness.

By using real-life stories to create the script, this award-winning film really talks to those who will use the service. Although the film is aimed at end-users – the parents, carers, and health workers – it also works as an awareness-raising and fund-raising film because it leads with emotion.

Employee engagement

If charities engage workplaces and businesses, they can, not only gain support, but raise money for their cause. “Work for Oxfam Day” is an employee initiative which encourages businesses to help the charity by donating an hour, half a day or day’s pay on a dedicated day. The video puts the office worker (and potential Oxfam international development) as the hero in the heart of conflict or humanitarian crisis.

Public service information

When you have a public service message, it can be particularly hard to cut through and attract attention. A recent campaign from St John’s Ambulance worked well and ultimately saved children’s lives.

Their research found that 40% of people had witnessed their child choking but only 21% knew what to do in this situation. The charity knew they needed to reach under 40s with a memorable, engaging video, and that’s just what they produced.

This video marketing campaign takes an original approach to public service advice. It comes from the animated toys which children would be likely to choke on with a humorous voice-over from well-known celebrities (David Mitchell, David Walliams, Johnny Vegas and John Hurt).

In a multichannel campaign using PR targeted to different audiences including success stories resulting from the campaign, social media and PPC, each video view cost £00.01. (Econsultancy) It shows the ROI which charities can achieve from video as part of an integrated campaign.

Charities targeting government bodies and policy-makers

Charities often need to lobby governments and influence policy-makers. A brand video could work here, but there is a case for creating a film aimed at them with suitable tone of voice and messages.

One of our clients, the IUCN, a conservation charity, needed content aimed at government officials at COP 21 in Paris last year, the global climate change conference. The charity needed to target the 25,000 government officials attending this conference from over 190 countries, and so they wanted a high quality impactful video.

Video is a powerful way to turn the often dry, complex and frightening stats about climate change into engaging visuals. Our film set up the issue of climate change and then offered solutions from the natural world with a rousing call to action.


When fund-raising, charities must make connections with potential donors. It’s not just about driving direct donations, but mobilising people to get involved. This video from Charity:Water is quite long at over 4 minutes, but it’s targeted at those who are already engaged and will help to motivate them.

The voiceover is read by the charity’s founder Scott Harrison which gives it further authenticity and emphasises that this is a nonprofit with a difference (e.g. 100% of the funds go to the end user), whilst the narrative shows clearly what they have achieved so far, and lays out their ambitions for the next campaign are. At the end of the video, this audience will be ready to get involved.

Charity donors

Charities are in a constant battle to raise money in an environment where potential viewers are bombarded with images of war and disaster via 24 hour news. This film from Save the Children is a few years old, but it stands up as an interesting example of an advert which can get under the skin of the target audience.

With donors perhaps feeling “charity fatigue”, Save the Children brings the Syrian crisis to home. It really forces the viewer to empathise with those in need, by asking (and showing) what could happen if similar events were affecting a British middle class child and family and indeed “your child and family”.

A call to take action

As well as financial donations, nonprofits need volunteers to help with campaigning. In the case of this recent Dogs Trust ad, they make a request for people to rehome their dogs. This #SpecialSomeone video is from the dog’s point of view as they look for an owner who looks like their toy. It’s uses emotion effectively – there won’t be dry eye in the house.

Whichever stakeholder you need to connect with, always ensure that your video is targeted at them, and prioritize according to your objectives. For instance, you may need to put your budget behind your star fund-raising video, but you can also create lo-fi content aimed at those already engaged and raising money for your cause.

As with all video marketing one size does not fit all. You can find out more about this in our blog on the video and the sales cycle. If you are looking for a film for your charity, get in touch for a chat.

Share this page:

Fancy working together?

If you've got a project in mind, or just want to have a chat, please get in touch.

Contact us