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charity video guide

Dragonfly's Charity Video Guide.

An important read for anyone who’s considering commissioning a Charity Video.

Making a Charity video can be tricky, you need to get the tone right when you’re asking people for help, or trying to get their attention.  Video is one of the best tools a charity has to reach the public, which is why we’ve made this handy Charity Video Guide to help you find the right direction for your video.

Understand your audience

Like all video productions, charity films require you to understand your audience. When you’re looking to start fundraising, or to bring in donations, you need to be acutely aware of just how you are coming across to your viewers. People can be very stubborn and defensive when they’re being asked to part with their cash, and some promotional material for charity can feel quite alienating. This is the worst combination and must be avoided at all costs.

The hardest audience to capture is the young male – they’re notorious in the industry for being dismissive of charity and the smallest proportion of the demographic that will actually donate. Although not strictly a video campaign, the movement of ‘Movember’ is one of the best examples of how understanding your audience and your demographic can turn the odds in your favour. It taps right into the core values of a key demographic in a way that lets them feel like they can take an active part in the campaign, and also generates a whole experience around the subject matter.

Write, and re-write (and re-write) your script

It’s the backbone of the whole production. A well-honed script will sell your idea, convert the sceptics and do so in a way that is both meaningful and effective. You cannot underestimate the importance of a highly crafted script for a charity video, and before any shooting or animation takes place the script must be finalised! But before you get to this stage there are certain key elements that have to be thrashed through with the creative team and the scriptwriter…

Finding your voice

Working with your own team, or our in-house creative department, you will want to ascertain just how you want your organisation to come across. Are you a very serious charity that wants to demonstrate the black and white nature of your work? Is there scope for humour in the production? At this stage it is all about how you want to be perceived, which is something that has to be agreed upon with the creative staff before anything proceeds. Simple market research, or more specifically focus groups, can help in this area to get a full understanding of how your audience perceives you.

Define your content

Define exacting parameters for what you want to say in your video! You want to let the scriptwriter know precisely what they need to convey. This stage also involves understanding any barriers that may stand in the way of the audience. Are there any things about the charity that are often misunderstood? Are there any prejudices against the work it does? When it comes to creating a charity video these things need to be addressed in order to maximise conversion rates.

Get your facts straight

Whilst it goes without saying that you need to create an emotional connection with your audience, if you can back this up with hard hitting facts and statistics, then once you’ve grabbed your viewer’s attention, you can make sure that you keep hold of it. Nothing is more convincing when you’re trying to convince someone than hard evidence to support your claims. When you’re asking for money it’s vital to show exactly what it will be used for.

Choose your production

Animation or Live Action is a choice that you will of course make before the scripting process, but it’s worth considering the elements you require in the script and how this applies to your charity before you choose a specific medium.

Live Action.

With live action you get the opportunity to demonstrate the real human story behind the charity. You can examine the impacts of your cause and show just how donations can make a difference to those that require help. On location filming will give the audience a true understanding of where their money is going and can tangibly demonstrate the rewards of donating.

Animation.

Animations are an incredibly effective way of getting across a lot of information. They can help explain precisely what your cause is, or demonstrate your products or services to clients or investors.

With animated video productions the possibilities are limitless. You can create whole worlds, or characters which can become the focus of your charity marketing campaign. These will become the faces of your organisation and can be used repeatedly in different drives. Audiences love familiarity and, by creating memorable animated characters, you can be sure that they will instantly recognise your brand.

Stay consistent

It’s no good thinking of a campaign and just jumping straight into the video, nor is it a good idea to just run with a leafleting campaign and then consider other media later. Any video campaign for charity needs to be approached as any branded production would, with a clear goals and with a view to the future. How can we create a sense of branding that is not only reliable and memorable, but which is imitable across all media platforms? Are we going to make three of these videos, four?… These are the questions we ask, and they are the questions that you ought to be considering.

Key Things To Remember:

  • Market research is simply essential.
  • A longer video campaign means that a stronger narrative can be developed, whilst a shorter one will be constructed with a clear end in sight.
  • Animations make for better multi-media campaigns as well as technical and informative videos.
  • Live Action films are better for more emotive causes and drives for fundraising.
  • Scripting is of paramount importance before any production begins!

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