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Using Video for Effective Fundraising

Ieva Padagaite is a co-founder and director of Blake House Filmmakers Cooperative and is involved in various social and environmental campaigns.

    Using Video for Effective Fundraising

    By working with people and organisations who make a real difference, I have had a chance to measure successful use of video in crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve been alert to how films foster empathy when working with vulnerable adults, children, and making videos for fundraisers, Corporate Social Responsibility and marketing projects.

    A third of all online activity is spent watching video and according to Cisco VNIforecast - 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019 will be via video.

    It’s a critical time for the third sector to embrace this powerful medium to amplify causes, increase impact, widen reach and stay visible.


    Get into the habit of recording your work on camera

    We are bombarded with all sorts of content every day, but videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster then text.To avoid demanding cognitive strain, we are drawn to information that is easy to process and more importantly, we are more likely to get emotionally attached to a story we see in a video than a story we read in an article.

    I recently worked with children's entertainment charity, The Flying Seagull Project, which was fundraising to provide mental relief for refugee children facing trauma on the borders of the EU. The charity came to me with some footage filmed on simple pocket cameras and mobile phones and a three week fundraising deadline. We shot a simply structured message to the camera in our office about the project, the problem, the solution and a call to action. Two days later, the video was released. By the second week, the charity surpassed its fundraising targets, gaining huge momentum and following for the campaign.

    Reflecting on this experience, it seems obvious that any group using fundraising in their organisation should start recording their work wherever the impact is visible, if it is appropriate to do so (noting ethical considerations). The content could come in handy not only when working on a fundraising video to back up your words and provide evidence for your work, but also enhancing your staff and volunteer engagement and morale.


    Have a fundraising strategy and a team in place to effectively engage your audience

    So, video content is great, but it doesn’t work by itself. You need fundraising and marketing strategies in place to work out how to get the video in front of your target audience, plan their journey in supporting you as well as ways to get them to fundraise for you by sharing your campaign. Think about having a team to write engaging copy to support the video and an easy-to-follow call to action; keeping the conversation active with your supporters during and after the campaign is a key part of any campaign. I attended one of Localgiving’s workshops on fundraising strategy and highly recommend it to anybody wanting to learn more.



    The filming process doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive: plan ahead and gradually embed it into your work culture. It’s all about getting into the habit and finding a way to do it that suits your cause, capacity and budget. One way to do it is by finding a local filmmaker or video company that works on the same wavelength as you. Have a lookout for social enterprises, cooperatives and media charities using film to make a difference or start experimenting and utilising the wealth of knowledge stored online. Either way, you can’t afford to be camera shy!  



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