As a charity video production specialist, we spend a lot of time searching for reference videos. We thought we’d share some favourites from our list to inspire anyone looking to create a hit charity video campaign.
1. Hard-hitting emotional storytelling
The film at the top of our list is Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘Whatever It Takes’ video. The video was released in 2021 during the second Covid lockdown.
The award-winning video shows Macmillan staff doing ‘whatever it takes’ to support people and their families living with cancer. It’s full of grit, tenderness and humour. In short, it’s a genius piece of film-making by music video director Jonathan Alric. The soundtrack is the stunning ‘Spring 1’ remix of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Max Richter. The film has been viewed nearly 1 million times on YouTube.
2. John Lewis style viral tear-jerker
The ‘Someone Special’ campaign film from Dogs Trust was also a hit on YouTube racking up 1.2 million views.
The clever and moving story shows an adorable dog who is attached to a knitted man-shaped doll. At the end of the video, the dog’s dreams come true when the doll’s real-life human counterpart turns up to take him home. Without doubt, this video is guaranteed to bring a tear to any dog lover’s eye!
3. Powerful ‘down the lens’ interviews
So we couldn’t write a blog about charity videos without mentioning one of our own! We created this video entitled ‘We Belong’ for young people’s charity Just for Kids Law:
The film intercut powerful ‘down the lens’ interviews with six young migrants. They were the unintended victims of the government’s hostile environment policy on immigration.
Some pretty cool things have happened since the video was launched. The film participants set up their own youth-led charity, also called We Belong. In 2021, they had a major campaign win with a government policy change. And in 2022, charity CEO Chrisann Jarrett, who was also featured in the video, was awarded an MBE for her services to young people.
4. Anonymous treatment charity video
Many charities who work with vulnerable children and adults may want to protect the identity of those featured in their videos. In the video ‘Sam’s Story’, Homeless charity Crisis came up with a creative idea to tell Sam’ story. She was fleeing domestic violence and they used her artwork to illustrate her video.
Although the video doesn’t show her face, it does feature Sam’s own voice, so it still feels authentic and relatable
5. Clever YouTuber campaign
The charity Refuge chose a different treatment in their domestic abuse campaign #dontcoveritup. They created a video with make-up artist/YouTuber Lauren Luke. Lauren has over 135 million YouTube views and 500k subscribers.
In the powerful and shocking video, Lauren gives viewers tips on how to cover up bruising from domestic abuse. The video went viral with over 2.7 million views, also gaining worldwide media coverage. The campaign claimed to have got ‘18 million people talking about an issue that no one wanted to talk about’.
6. High budget drama charity video
One of the most successful charity video campaigns to date is Save The Children’s ‘Most Shocking Second a Day’ film. The video has racked up a whopping 74 million views on YouTube.
The video features a young girl experiencing the effects of a hypothetical civil war on the streets of London. The film used factual accounts of children in Syria, enabling the British public to relate to a story that was easily ignored. The video marked the third anniversary of the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. It led to a 93% increase in donations for the charity,
Our last film is an animated video. Many charities use animation in their campaigns to explain concepts and demonstrate impact.
We really like this concept from the charity Railway Children:
The film intercuts photos, video footage and stylish infographic animation explaining the charity’s vision to reach 150,000 vulnerable children in 2022.
Thanks for reading! For more video production tips check out our blog.