Charity video ideas & inspiration for your campaigns

YouTube for charities

10 years, $11.5 Million of investment, 1 billion users and 1 trillion views later, YouTube has revolutionised the way the world shares video content and has brought about a level of participation and digital democracy that many thought impossible.

This past year has seen charities engaging with exciting ways of incorporating different perspectives and voices in video-based campaigning.

In this post we use case studies from British charities to examine three new ways charities can use video to promote their cause. 

1. Use interactive video

‘Choose a different ending’  from Drop the Weapons invited the audience to do just that, filmed through a teenager’s point of view and highlighting the consequences of different decisions related to knife and gun crime. The series featured 21 films with 10 possible endings, and was supported by an integrated advertising campaign.

In its first year it was viewed over 2 million times.

Is there a similar way in which your charity could employ an interactive video to raise awareness about the issues you are campaigning or working on?

For more, see this Mashable list of 10 incredible interactive  YouTube videos, and this cracking post on how to make your own.

2. Engage Vloggers

We’ve all done it. A well-meaning YouTube quest can lead on an endless trail through the back catalogue of a Vlogger - there’s just something about the acting/real life/self-promotion/vulnerability mix that’s fascinating and compelling viewing.

Now charities have got in on the action - last year Refuge worked with beauty Vlogger Lauren Luke to share a moving message about domestic violence.

Mind went one step further, creating a Digital Ambassador role for YouTube blogger Zoella, who shares regularly about her anxiety and panic attacks.

Both of these charities are targeting people who regularly use YouTube and are likely to follow Vloggers, and in Zoella’s case Mind identified someone with a following who was already talking about the topic they worked on.

Is there anyone that your charity could think about working with to promote your message?

3. Collaborate with your beneficiaries

Engaging beneficiaries in the production of campaigning videos holds huge potential for ensuring that marginalised voices are heard, and challenges the notion of those in power being the only ones who can tell the story.

The theatre company Acting on Impulse used this idea to created a campaign based around a music video featuring homeless and formerly homeless people.

How can you work with your beneficiaries to tell their stories the way they want to tell them?

If you're curious about the future of YouTube, this piece in the Guardian points to where it might be headed. And as for charities, watch this space.

What charity YouTube campaigns have you appreciated this past year? Are there any innovative ideas that we’ve not highlighted here? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Collaboration, Vlogging & Interactivity - 3 new ways for charities to use YouTube
Date: 
26 February 2015
Mary Mitchell