Low-budget charity videos

Not everyone has a big budget or a huge team to help them make a film: 40% of charities have incomes of less than £10,000. So how do they make use of video? They get clever and they get creative, pulling in favours, using supporters and making the best use of new technology. Here’s our round up of low-budget videos or creative films made by small charities.

Thanks to everyone on Twitter who’s made suggestion and shared their films with us and an especial thanks to the Small Charities Coalition for helping compile the list. I’ve picked out three films that I think show some really original ideas but I’ve also included a list and links to all of the films that we were sent.


Probably not a low-budget production (!) but a stunningly creative film from a small charity that really pushes home their message in a shocking way.

This film from FGM charity Forward UK uses a clever combination of live action, stop frame and drawn animation to alert the world to the horrors of FGM in a startling way. The film starts in a sweetly innocent way with a happy home being stitched into a tapestry and we see a little girl grow from crib to toddler to young woman. Then abruptly, the innocent tools of needle craft – scissors, thread and needle – become the tools of mutilation. It’s not a subject that can easily be illustrated and the film cleverly – but unflinchingly – makes the comparison with snipping off an ear or nose and crudely sewing up the wound.

An imaginative and powerful film from a small charity.

Created and produced by Ruth Beni and made by Animage Films, Tandem Films & Forward Productions. There’s a making-of film to watch too..


A warm and friendly animation from this tiny charity (they have 2 staff!) that makes wonderful use of a celebrity supporter in the shape of Holly Willoughby.

Ellie’s Friends is a charity that brings a little treat to sufferer’s lives by putting them in touch with people who can donate or give discounts on fun things – like yoga or acupuncture or beauty treatments. The animation is beautifully drawn and gives a fun and bright explanation of the charity and makes compelling use of the founder’s own story to make it personal. Produced pro bono by their friends at Princess TV.


Very simple and very straightforward this film uses  Adobe Voice to combine stills with a voice over.

London based charity PIP (Pursuing Independent Paths) makes clever use of photos that workers and members have snapped and combines them with simple voice recordings to tell the story of their charity and the experience of students they’ve worked with.  The app – Adobe Voice – allows you to use your smart phone or iPad to record a voice-over and then animate it with still or video clips. Lovely!

4. 30 SECONDS OF RAINBOW TRUST: The Rainbow Trust

A cheeky extra this week because I’m a sucker for ‘second a day’ films…. and this one from children’s charity, The Rainbow Trust is sweetly simple.

Made by Jess, one of their family support workers, this film edits together 1 second clips from videos taken every day over this summer. An inside look at the work of the charity and the people it helps. A great example of a clever technique being used to good effect.


Here’s a round up of the films that charities have sent to us for review – they’re all good examples of what can be done with low budgets.

Community Network

This small charity created a short film to showcase their work, which helps build telephone communities for older people who are isolated and lonely. It’s a simple film but I like the genuine interviews featuring real people sharing how the work has helped them.

Volunteer Centre Milton Keynes

Clear purpose, shows what volunteers can do and gives a sense of progression and shows people of all types.  I like the narrative, calm  and relaxing, Nice use of scenery and nature shots

The Back-Up Trust

A simple clear film that uses the stories of several beneficiaries to explain how this spinal injury charity helps.

Roise’s Rainbow

The story behind the charity told through simple still and presented by their Patron, actress Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey! We’re always keen to make use of a charity’s celebrity patrons to ensure maximum publicity..

The Encephalitis Society

This film makes a virtue out of the fact that people don’t know what encephalitis is by taking to the streets and asking people what it is! Their honest reactions are fun and revealing. Combined with a clear presentation from their chief exec, this makes a short and clear film.

Boots and Beats

Presented by staff members, interns and volunteers this film gives a colourful view of the charities work. Simply made but interesting.

St Chads Sanctuary

Cheeky use of Mumford and Sons combined with still and graphics allows this film to give an insight into the work of St Chads.

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Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

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

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