Lessons from 10 Years Creating Videos in the Charity Sector

Hi, my name is Richard Brown. You can call me Rich.

Over the past 10 years I have worked for Cancer Research UK, Acorns Children’s Hospice and, in between I founded a charity in memory of my sister called The Joanna Brown Trust.

I like to describe my career journey as being just my laptop and I, because despite having worked for the biggest charity in the UK (Cancer Research UK) and effectively the smallest charity in the UK (The Joanna Brown Trust), I always relied on the technology I had. 

The aim was the same, to raise awareness for the charity. Doing this via video has consistently proven to be one of the most effective ways to do that.

So over the 10 years, what did I learn about using video within the charity sector? 

The short answer: 

1) it has never been easier to share your ideas.

2) storytelling is the key to raising awareness and funds for your cause.

It has never been easier to share your ideas...

Let's for a moment consider the rise of social media over the past 10 years. It is incredible to think about how social media has become ingrained in the fabric of so many people’s everyday lives. 

Global Social Media users 2016

Global Social Media users 2016

It has never been easier to get your message out there.

It has also never been more complicated, but that is a matter for another time.

With lightening speed improvements in technology, particularly how most of us now have a high powered video camera on our smartphones, it has never been easier or more affordable to record high quality video.

Thanks to social media, you can now share your story with a click of a button.

This might sound obvious but it is worth reflecting on for a moment to truly consider the tools we have available to us and what that might mean for the causes we are passionate about.

  • How often are you using video to share your story online?
  • Have you started doing Facebook or Instagram LIVE videos?
  • Are you consistently building relationships with your supporters using video?

If you answered NO, then what do you think is stopping you?

The tools are free, all you need are ideas about what to film and share.

Storytelling is the key to raising awareness and funds for your cause.

No one knows your cause and it's impact better than you, all you need to do is utilise storytelling principles to make it engaging.

Why is storytelling so important?

Stories are like bridges, they transport your audience to a new place, a new way of thinking, a new way of feeling.

Your role as the storyteller is to build the bridge and decide where it leads. 

Jason Da Silva on the magic of storytelling.

Although the methods for telling stories to raise awareness and funds continue to change as technology develops, the principles are still the same. You still need to give your audience a reason to care, show the need, how you are helping and how they can too. 

Ultimately, you are trying to educate people about your cause, what problem it solves and evoke an emotional reaction so that they feel inspired to support your charity as a result.

I would say it is even more essential for smaller charities to make full use of technology and social media, as it is unlikely they have the marketing budget of a charity like Cancer Research UK who can run full scale nationwide campaigns. Technology and social media have certainly levelled the playing field, which is a good thing.

I hope you have found this blog insightful and it has given you the motivation to further embrace video and social media to share your charity’s story online.

It is often the simple things done well that make all the difference.

Regardless of the size of your charity, you can utilise the incredible resources available to you to help raise the awareness and funds you need for your cause.

If you feel this blog has inspired you, why not share with others?



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