Photography Video Marketing Challenge: Charity Video

Moira West


A charity video is marketing to make a difference. As with marketing for photography, charitable marketing focuses on building a connection with viewers. In this case, you offer a problem and then suggest a solution the viewer can take part in. However, there are some special considerations related to promoting a charity that separate it from typical marketing videos.


In a charity video, you have a particular duty to your subject. Make sure the people involved want their story told. Whether it’s a local animal shelter, people displaced by a flood, or a fundraiser for a local school, part of your obligation involves obtaining consent. If you’re involved in a charitable effort, make sure you do so in a way that the charity would endorse. If you’re bringing up a problem or heading up a charitable movement by yourself, then focus on the issues and tell the story you’ve witnessed in an honest, non-exploitative way.

For example, photographer Vicki Taufer started The Aasha Fund to help families in Nepal after adopting her daughter Purnima there. Her stunning photographs depict the beauty of Nepal and the poverty that’s widespread there, but still show respect for her subjects.

Ultimately, you must ask yourself what story do you want to tell about the issue you’re addressing. Decide on your story’s focus and its tone. Are you going to emphasize the fun to be had a school carnival? The dedication of men and women in the Walk for the Cure? The desperate poverty of families in Nepal? Always remember that the goal of your video is to connect with your audience and then excite them to action. Then use your creativity to decide how best to do that.

Here are some tips for making a great Charity Video:

  • Show, don’t tell. Use your strongest photographs and videos to introduce the problem. The audience’s emotional connection comes from the visuals you choose.
  • Strike a balance in the photos you select, choosing some that show the difficulty your charity deals with and some that illustrate how the charity is helping.
  • Use voiceover, video, or text slides to explain the issue, what your charity is doing to help, and what your audience can do to help the charity.
  • Remember to obtain consent from the group you are helping. If you’re working with a charity, make sure the charity’s message matches the message of your video.
  • Link directly to your website (or that of the charity) using the Call-to-Action feature or add your URL in your YouTube/Vimeo description so people can get involved.
  • Add your logo (or the charity’s) at the start and end.

Once you’ve created your video, post to Facebook and YouTube, add it to your website, and share it through social media or with the press. Then your cause will have a chance to be heard and inspire change.

Emily Sexton of Em Grey Photography is already inspiring change with her video for The Root Collective. In fact, her video was featured in an article by The Huffington Post about the organization’s work partnering with artisans in the slums of Guatemala. Emily’s video is so effective because it focuses on the story of one person helped by the organization, making it a personal and relatable marketing tool.

Show us how you’re making a difference. Join us at the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community on Facebook and share your video.

Portrait Photographer, Sue Bryce and Animoto launched a series of challenges designed to encourage, inspire and motivate photographers to start marketing with video. Participants create a video a month and post it on social. This is an in-depth description of one of the 12 challenges.

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