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      Using video as a communication tool in the third sector is a brilliant way to reach large audiences and engage them with creative content. Read more to find out why videos perform so well for charities and not for profit organisations. 

      What makes a successful charity video?

      Charity videos are some of the best examples of content that engages viewers through emotional triggers. Water Aid, WWF and the NSPCC are just some of the big names that use these emotional triggers to capture their viewers attention.

      Charity videos and charity appeals work well because they have a long term impact on the viewer. What does this matter? Well, if a viewer processes a video through the long term memory – they will be more likely to be able to recall the video at a later date. This is fantastic for the charity, because the viewer is brand aware. This can increase likelihood of donations or engagement with the charity. 

      Charities will often use poignant images as the backdrop for their appeal message. What do we as the viewer do when we watch such videos? We have an emotional reaction. And what happens when we have a heightened emotional state? We process information differently! 

      Processing information

      When the brain processes information it is either sent to the long or short term memory stores. Heightened emotional responses send specific signals to the brain – and usually strong emotional reactions are sent to the long term memory (LTM) stores.

      We’re better at recalling memory from long term memory stores.  That’s why charity videos can be so effective, because our emotional reactions to those videos are sent to the LTM. Clever hey!

      Creating a successful charity video campaign

      Here are some of the ingredients that we consider vital to creating an effective charity video.

      Compassion UK Jane’s Story:

      Case studies are an effective way to showcase your work. That’s what we did for Compassion. The story follows Jane who with the support of Compassion, was able to escape the slum where he was born and grew up. Compassion helped him attend school and university which so many slum children don’t have the opportunity to do.  Now, Jane is an ambassador for Compassion in Asia, helping other children just like him.

      This proved an effective way to show Compassion’s audience how their work helps, and why they need your continued support.


      Tearfund are a Christian charity who aim to tackle extreme poverty through sustainable practices. Why was this video made? To educate the viewer on the risk to young girls in Laos and Thailand, and how Tearfund are helping local communities protect young girls and support businesses.

      We used a mixed media approach, blending 2D animation with live action shots to allow an abstract story to be told, whilst also rooting the animation in real life.  This video demonstrates Tearfund’s work in action showing the viewers the real impact that they can make. Here we’re presented with the story of ‘Man’, a 12 year old girl, and you the viewer see how at risk she is, and how the road to Thailand presents a dangerous lure where abuse awaits her and thousands like her, but this is not the path that Man takes as Tearfund are stepping in to help her and many vulnerable families like hers.



      We created a video for animal welfare charity SPANA in aid of their 90th anniversary. Leila is a donkey who like hundreds of others across the world, faces daily abuse.  During the film we are presented with hard hitting and real images of abused animas. The donkeys are unhealthy, injured and uncared for.

      We react so emotionally because it resonates with our human instinct to want to help.

      This highlights the much needed and wonderful work they’ve done over the past 90 years in helping working animals lead a more humane life. As a British dwelling earth resident, it is easy to overlook, or be ignorant to the number of working animals there are in the 21st century.

      To Conclude

      There are various ways that video can convey emotion in viewers and often this is down to careful scripting, producing, directing, and of course post production editing.

      It’s clear to see, from just a small selection of examples, that effective charity videos have these key ingredients:

      • Case studies
      • Storytelling
      • Raw/documentary footage
      • Strong call to action


      If you’d like to see more of our work for the third sector, then click here.