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Best Charity Videos

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A cinematic founder’s story: Friday Film Club 8th March

By | Best Charity Videos, Friday Film Club - Great Video Production

Friday Film Club

Every Friday we try and get the team together to share and watch films that we’ve found inspiring. It’s a great way to keep up to date with new techniques and ways of telling stories.

This week we’ve been watching video from Great Lakes Outreach – who work in Burundi –  and Helen & Douglas House – a children’s hospice.

Great Lakes Outreach - The Runner

WHY?

A stylish and cinematic way of telling a founder’s story and explaining exactly what a charity does.

WE LOVE

Beautiful photography –  gorgeous slo-mo and imaginative shots.

Unusual storytelling – a clever hook and staggering personal story drive the narrative.

Great sound – lots of background noise and sound effects create real atmosphere.

Helen & Douglas House - Every Little Life

WHY?

A clever new way of explaining what the charity does.

WE LOVE

Natural conversations – lovely snippets of sweet chats between staff and kids.

Using interviews in unusual ways – no staged, sit down interviews, instead they use voice over and pics to great effect.

Latest Trends in Charity Film

By | Best Charity Videos, Uncategorized

What's new in charity film?

Here are the latest trends in charity film. We’ve got some great examples to share with you from the Dogs Trust, Time to Change, Anthony Nolan and Mind.

1. Being indirect

Making direct, strong call to actions can work well but it can also have the opposite effect and turn people away. Instead you can let people know who you are and what you do in a way that’s less forceful and more thought provoking.

You can see this in action in following film we made for the Dogs Trust and a mental health campaign for Time To Change.

Dogs Trust – Lost Dog Campaign

Time to Change – #AskTwice

It’s not immediately obvious what these films are about or who they’re for but they get your attention because, well, they’re ridiculous. Why is a man in a dog costume wandering the streets of London? Why is someone trapped under a tree and why does his friend not even notice? Be silly and leave people wondering ‘but, why?!’ 

Being indirect also helps us to talk about stuff that isn’t always easy to talk about, like mental health.

2. Authenticity

Another trend making the rounds is authentic content. It sounds obvious but being authentic is really important when it comes to getting people interested in your charity. It also helps with building trust. This could be a case study film or user-generated content.

Mind – One Health

We recently made this film for Mind and the reaction to it has been great. We give you a glimpse behind the scenes and leave in the unscripted quips and outtakes. It brings humanity to a film and instantly makes the subjects more likeable and relatable.

Being authentic also means that not everything has to be scripted. Sometimes lines that you didn’t plan for can be more powerful so don’t be afraid to include these in the final edit.

Anthony Nolan – Jo Kelly

Another great way to be authentic is through user-generated content. Jo shares the story of her stem cell donation using home footage from her phone.

Don’t worry if the footage isn’t high quality, it’s about the quality of content. The video is engaging because Jo is charismatic and comfortable in front of the camera. It’s also cost effective, if you don’t have a huge budget you can produce content easily and at a low cost.

3. Be bold, be visual

When you’re scrolling through social media a video has on average 3 seconds (or the time it takes to pick up a dropped biscuit while it’s still good) to get your attention. Which means it’s got to start with a bang.

When we made this film for Anthony Nolan we wanted something fast-paced and snappy that instantly got your attention. There’s a lot of benefits to using bold on-screen text, it catches the eye and lets you pull out key messages/statistics you want to stand out.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films

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imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an Assistant Producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

Why Social Good Is On The Rise

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The rise of social good...

When it comes to your business you want to have a good lasting impression. With reviews and opinions on social media spreading like wildfire, your company’s image and ethics matter.

Social good within businesses is on the rise. More and more people are looking to make positive changes by implementing clever business techniques. This isn’t just to look good, but to make a genuine difference in the world. And it’s been found that companies who care about ethics gain loyal customers who are likely to come back time and time again.

One of the best ways to promote these company values is through film.

Here are four companies that strive for better in the world and who use film to promote their impact.

Searching for good

Ecosia is a search engine that generates money through ad revenue and donates 80% of profits to planting trees. On average, 1 tree is planted for every 46 searches on Ecosia. That’s pretty cool. And very clever.

Such a simple thing that we all do every day has been utilized to make a big difference, at no extra cost of the supporter. Not only this, but the company are completely transparent with where their money goes. People can see exactly what is being done and where, which builds trust between organisation and supporter.

To date, over 16 million trees have been planted through Ecosia. Why not give it a go!

One-for-one

You’ve probably heard of TOMS, a well-known shoe brand in the UK.

But did you know for every pair of TOMS shoes bought online or in-store, the company gives away a pair for children in developing countries? And it doesn’t stop there. They also use their profits to fund safer births, improved access to clean water and better eye health care across the world.

Through their one-for-one business model TOMS have already helped restore sight to over 500,000 people…

Opening doors

Love Pret? So do we. As an added bonus to their delicious food they also do a lot of good for vulnerable people across the country. 

In 1995 the Pret Foundation Trust was born, with the aim of helping reduce the amount of homelessness in the UK.

They run three different programmes to help get people off the streets: They employ homeless people as apprentices, donate unsold food to homeless shelters, and support charities and projects that help homeless people across the country

It’s remarkable the difference they’ve made. You can see how people’s lives have been changed in their short film Opening Doors.

Last but not least

Warby Parker are a company committed to giving glasses to people who don’t have access to them in the developing world.

Founded in 2010 with a similar one-for-one business model to TOMS, they started the ‘Buy a Pair Give a Pair programme’ where one pair of glasses are donated for every pair bought.

We rather enjoyed their clever campaign video for ‘Warby Barker’… 

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films

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imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an Assistant Producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

Seeing People Not Problems

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The problem with charity films

Using real people’s stories can be a really successful way to connect with hard to reach audiences. People listen to stories and relate to them, imagining themselves in similar situations. But when you tell these stories it’s important to be respectful. You’ve got to see the person behind the story and give them a voice.

Too many films focus on people as problems. They see the disability before the person, or they use people’s suffering as a tool to drive donations in a way that dehumanises them.

Over the years this has been flagged up as a problem. In fact the Comic Relief and Sport Relief charity recently announced they are no longer making films with celebrities visiting developing countries, with these types of films being criticised as ‘poverty tourism’.

With this in mind, here are some tips to create engaging films that challenge perceptions around poverty and disabilities, and help to break down harmful stereotypes.

Take away tips

1) Let people tell their own stories

No one can understand a situation as well as the person living it, so let them be the one to tell their story in their own words. You can provide a loose script for them to follow, but the less intervention there is the more genuine and honest the story will be.

Similarly, avoid using third party narration. It’s important to give the person a voice.

2) Give them the camera

It’s a technique used by photographers for years. Giving people cameras to capture their own moments can be incredibly powerful. It gives people ownership of their story and allows their personality to shine through and it humanises them. Which ultimately makes for a much more engaging film.

3) Remember they’re the subject, not the object

Objectifying people in charity films needs to stop. Not only is it degrading, the films are often predictable and can actually drive people away from watchingSo don’t be afraid to branch out and try something different.

Here are three films that show how it’s done…

Oxfam – Rice growing revolution

This film by Oxfam is a good example of people telling their own stories.

Susanna tells us about her working life and how the building work Oxfam have done has helped empower the community. Although she’s not yet self-sufficient, Susanna’s optimism and dedication to her work shines through.

WaterAid – Photography project

Letting people document their stories is a refreshing and enjoyable way to give an insight into their lives.

This film by WaterAid is a lovely example of this, and of personal moments that aren’t able to be captured by outsiders. Like this photo taken by Haja of her son Sessay (left) and his friends. I recommend having a look around the link for more of their photography.

Here is my son, Sessay (L), with his friends. I was happy to snap them. I have given birth to six children, but only three are still alive. The first one I lost was three years ago, and the second was two years ago. Four months ago I lost Senior Lahai. He was six months old and was affected by a runny stomach and a rising body temperature.

Muscular Dystrophy UK – Hear my voice

Giving people a voice is crucial. And believe it or not can be commonly overlooked in charity films.

This film follows interviews with two young people Sam and Zoe, and their experiences of living with muscular dystrophy. The documentary style is enjoyable to watch and can easily be made on a low budget. Goes to show how sometimes in film, less is more.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an Assistant Producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

Visual Storytelling

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How to tell stories in film

Storytelling isn’t the same thing as telling a story. It’s a learned skill that when done right can make the most simple films incredibly effective.

It’s all about knowing how to deliberately craft a story to engage with an audience in the way you want it to. Pair this with a clear call to action at the end and you have a film that can really make a difference, not just to your charity but to people’s lives.

Read More

The best ‘how to’ videos

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Making the most of online trends

We’ve recently noticed a rising number of How To videos in our YouTube subscription feed. Charities jumping on the trends/viral video bandwagon isn’t just beneficial for social media, it also helps your organisation be more visible in the long run.

And with YouTube now the second most popular search engine after Google, increasing your visibility is key. That’s where SEO comes in.

 

What is SEO, and why does it matter?!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about carefully and deliberately designing your content so that it ranks highly on the search engine results pages. In the long run it benefits, well, everything. The more visible you are on Google or YouTube the more people will find your content. The more they share your content, the more people you reach, the more support you get and so on.

One way to increase SEO is through video descriptions and titles.

Getting the title right

Alongside thumbnails, the title of a video is crucial in attracting viewers and increasing discoverability.

Save The Children’s Most shocking second a day video was originally titled ‘If London Were Syria’, but by following on from the ‘second a day’ trend that was sweeping the internet, Save The Children optimised their visibility for people searching for these types of films. Now it’s the first video that comes up when you search for ‘second a day video’ on YouTube and Google.

So think carefully about what you title your film. Can you link it to any current trends?

The ‘How to’ trend

How To videos are becoming increasingly popular. They’re useful and informative but can also be used to promote your charity.

Here are some of our favourites…

Cat’s Protection – Cat Care

Knowing how to look after our feline friends is taken care of by Cats Protection and their series of how-to films.

British Red Cross – First Aid

How-to videos aren’t always for fun or DIY purposes, sometimes knowing how to do something can mean saving someone’s life.

WaterAid – How to build a bench

Water Aid give an insight into life in the tiny village of Tombohuan, with hands on tutorials like making benches and building tippy taps.

Marie Curie – Fundraising Ideas

Marie Curie share how to fundraise for their charity in a fun and visual way. Videos are all about the visuals and this one is not only satisfying to watch, it sparks inspiration for being creative with any fundraising activity.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

How to Tell Personal Stories in Film

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Making the most of case study videos

At Magneto we believe using real people’s stories is one of the best ways to create impact.

Case study films are popular amongst charities and are great for sharing personal stories that may be inspiring, touching or just plain helpful.

But just following someone’s journey isn’t always enough, so here are 3 ways that you can add value to your case study videos.

Top Tips

1) Create a connection

Creating a human connection is key to engaging with an audience. You want people to instantly feel like they can relate to who is on screen. Showing people in their homes or doing something meaningful to them for example immediately creates an intimate setting for the film.

2) Leave the viewer with valuable information

If people can take useful tips away from your film then they’re far more likely to remember and revisit your film in the future.

3) Honesty

People relate to honest stories. It’s unrealistic to always expect films to be optimistic because it’s not the reality for a lot of people. Letting them share their true experiences is important and, if you want people to sit up and listen, sharing an honest experience with them is probably going to be more engaging.

So without further ado, get a pen and paper handy, because here are three films that craft clever and effective films using case studies.

Parkinson’s UK

Honesty is key

This film is nothing but a frank and honest insight into how a mum with Parkinson’s lives her everyday life.

What I love about this is that it feels more like a conversation than an interview; as a viewer you feel involved. And these types of films can be made on a very low budget. It’s not about how expensive your filming equipment is, it’s about capturing honest experiences.

This is one of a six-part series, I recommend giving the rest a watch!

The Charity for Civil Servants

Connecting with an audience

Deidre’s story is one of our own case study films we made for The Charity for Civil Servants.

Going back to the key points from before, you can see how all three play out here. We open up with Deidre and her son on a bike ride, instantly you’ve created a human connection. Deidre goes on to share her experience and talk about how the charity have helped her.

Throughout the film her openness and vulnerability is not only an honest portrayal of her experience, it’s engaging and an emotional watch for the viewer too. At the same time we learn about the charity and how it can help anyone in times of need. 

Alzheimer’s Society

Take away tips

This is a very visually focused film. When Wendy is explaining the things she does to make her home dementia-friendly we’re shown examples on screen to demonstrate this.

Visually this is more exciting, but it’s also a way for people like Wendy who have dementia, or the carers of people with dementia, to learn from her advice and use these methods themselves. Overall it’s a really nice way of taking one person’s experience, sharing that story and using it to help others at the same time.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

Charity Valentine’s Day Videos

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Love is in the air!

We thought we’d join in the fun by sharing some of our favourite romantic charity videos.

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for charities and brands like to jump on the romance bandwagon and to make emotionally engaging content that gets their message out there.

This week we get some dating advice from children, our understanding of domestic abuse is challenged, and see a woman take food-revenge on her boyfriend.

Tesco – Food Love Stories

Lovers’ Tiff

We’re a big fan of Tesco’s Food Love Stories. Creating films that tell stories with an emotional connection is what we’re all about.

In just 30 seconds we learn about a couple who’ve had a domestic because he forgot something important and she wants revenge by denying him a yummy fishcake. Although, spoilers, it does have a happy ending.

Northumberland Domestic Abuse – Control

Changing Perceptions

For Valentine’s Day Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service wanted to change how people see and understand domestic abuse.

The clever contemporary take on the issue was a huge success for them and this video blew up, almost tripling their social media following. The story is performed through a dance which conveys the subtleties of a controlling relationship. Overall, a really powerful film.

Control was shot by our favourite DOP and colleague Dan McKenzie-Cossou.

Centrepoint – Do you swipe right?

With homelessness maddeningly on the rise, it’s easy for young homeless people to find themselves in vulnerable situations just so they can have a bed for the night. A horrible reality which this film from Centrepoint shows brilliantly.

Omaze – Valentine’s Date

Kids Know Best

Finally, for something a little less heavy.. Idris Elba gets dating advice, from kids.

Last year Idris teamed up with Omaze to promote a competition for their organisation. He sings, he dances, he raps. You’re welcome.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

Behind The Scenes Video

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How charities use bloopers to boost campaigns

David Attenborough does it. So does Star Wars.  Even Paddington Bear. They’ve all made behind the scenes videos. And if it works for them, then charities should definitely be getting in on the action.

      –  They’re easy to do – you can even shoot them on a smart phone

      –  They’re great for social media to drive attention to the main film

      –  And they allow you to put a face to your brand in an informal way

People are nosy… make the most of it

Taking people behind the scenes isn’t just fun, it’s actually beneficial to your business. It humanises your company and helps build trust with your audienceHonesty goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to serve up stumbles and mistakes!

Refresh your campaign

You can also use behind the scenes videos as a way to refresh and bring more attention to a recent campaign. Why not use it as an opportunity to explain the reasons and motivations behind the film? You can give more context in a relaxed and informal way, and perhaps reach supporters who might otherwise not have been engaged.

Stone’s Throw Media – Dogs Trust

Perks of the job

If you make films regularly, behind the scenes videos are a great way to boost your business and show potential clients what it’s like to work with you. Stones Throw Media do this brilliantly, including for a recent collaboration with Dogs Trust.

It features dogs. And puppies. Enough said.

They also recently made a film for Compton Hospice, challenging people’s assumptions of hospices and their patients.

Scope – BTS & Bloopers

Embrace the awkward

Scope share some great bloopers and anecdotes for their #EndTheAwkward campaign, produced by George & Dragon.

They give context and explain motivations behind the campaign, alongside people’s honest experiences, working nicely to further raise awareness for the charity.

Alzheimer’s Society – The process

Looking at context

Alzheimer’s Society teamed up with Thirty Two to make their first ever TV ad, and wanted to share the production process.

They clearly outline their intentions for making the ad, what they wanted to achieve and why, and at the same time give a glimpse into the exciting world of video production.

Macmillan – Game Changers

Giving back

Behind the scenes videos are also great for following fundraising events.

You can show people doing fun and silly things, thank your supporters and show how their donations have helped.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an Assistant Producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

Charity video with bite

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Charity video with bite - using satire to provoke action

Satire isn’t just great entertainment. It can actually have a real-life impact on viewers and change the way they act. In fact a recent study reveals that after watching a satirical take on an issue, people are more likely to feel their actions can make a difference.

Satire makes people laugh, but also challenges the way people think. It isn’t about spoon-feeding people the content they consume, but instead getting them to question what is being said and think beyond what they know.

Satire for Charities

By using satirical films charities can challenge harmful stereotypes and get people talking.

These are some of the best satirical films we’ve seen – there’s challenging work from Australia, merciless skewing of stereotypes from Norway and a film that tackles assumptions about poverty in Africa.

If you have a video you’d like to share why not tweet us or send an email!

HONEST GOVERNMENT – THE PLEBYSHITE: The Juice

The truth about the ‘truth’

We’re all familiar with satire’s close relationship to politics. And it’s been found that satirical content can actually engage people who otherwise avoid politics. With the current world being the way it is, it’s no surprise we could all do with a bit of comic relief.

And an increasingly popular way of sharing the ‘honest truth’ about political events is through satirical videos, something that The Juice Media does brilliantly.

They bring attention to the ridiculousness of political and worldwide events, not only by making people laugh but by being blunt about what is going on and how people are being taken advantage of. Not everyone agrees with their left wing politics, but it gets people talking.

THE RADI-AID APP (Change A Life With Just One Swipe!) : SAIH Norway

Flipping stereotypes on their head

SAIH Norway turn the tables in this brilliant film about poverty stereotypes. Not only are videos like this good at making people think, but they attract attention.

People share these videos because they love humour. Even if people don’t understand what they’re about (sarcasm is not always understood for variety of reasons) it often sparks conversation and debate in the comments section or on social media. And sometimes the first steps in making change is to get people talking.

 

 I MUST NOT MAKE ASSUSMPTIONS: Live Below The Line

Fact or fiction?

This film for the Live Below The Line campaign also forces people to challenge the perceptions they have of Africa. 

Using satire to highlight common ignorant views it delivers the strong message that making assumptions is a) harmful and b) something we should all make more of an effort to stop doing.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

 About the author

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower is an assistant producer at Magneto, and she’s responsible for lots of our blogs and she also makes films.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with cases tudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!