Most organisations know how a quick video upload to a site like YouTube can reap benefits: huge web traffic in a short time for next to nothing. But let’s face it, some charity videos do not live up to their message. So let’s look at how a little investment and a little innovation have led to some of the most engaging charity videos on the net.

Because we’re all connected


This video is from the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), an international non-governmental organisation working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment.

What’s it about?

The video reminds us that we’re all connected. From the Panda to the people, if we keep one happy we’re all happy.

Posted: 25 February 2009 Views: 44,351 Rating: *****


Why it works

This campaign video breaks with the tradition of heartbreaking footage, funereal background music and solemn narration by injecting some fun, humour and creativity.

The animation is bubbly and fun but still retains the impact of the campaign’s message. A high production value animation with a glossy, colourful look is a welcome contrast to the news-like videos produced by many charities. Check out the WWF YouTube channel to see more of their hard-hitting animations.

World Water Day


charity: water‘s latest promo video features the well-drilling work they fund in the forgotten Central African Republic.

Showing why clean water is essential and how living with dirty water affects people’s lives, it also shows the work charity:water do helping provide that basic of human rights.

Directed by Simon Willows, “Time Bomb” track donated by Beck.

Posted: 05 March 2009 Views: 389,872 Rating: *****

Why it works

Trying to get a vast amount of facts into a video can turn ugly. You click play, expecting a good piece of moving image not a power point presentation.

Fortunately, some jazzy titles and an upbeat soundtrack can give life to your video. Add some covering shots to give reality to the statistics and hey presto your still watching.

There is also a narrative in the film. You get why waters important (introduced by the humorous 1950’s video), the effects on people’s lives, what you can do and what Christian Aid does with your help.

House of Cards


Shelter, the Homeless and Housing charity, collaborated with Leo Burnett to provide this piece.

What’s it about?

Designed to raise awareness of the state of the UK housing situation and what the viewer can do to help.

Posted: 11 February 2009 Views: 29,273 Rating: *****

Why it works

The video shows how a good simple idea can bring around one of the best charity videos in the past ten years.

A visual metaphor for your message can speak louder than words (Hence there’s no narration). Using a house of cards to represent the fragility of people’s homes and how easily the foundations can be rocked has dramatic impact. The one minute video induces emotion and more importantly stays within your conscience long after watching.

Choose a Different Ending

Who is trying to stop the knife and gun crime within the UK.

What’s it about?

Choose a Different Ending is an interactive film that allows you to decide what happens next. You can interact with it, choose what to do and decide how it ends. In Choose A Different Ending you decide whether to live or die.

Posted: 03 July 2009 Views: 521,761 Rating: *****

Why it works

There is no better way in trying to get a message across than putting the viewer in the characters or victims shoes (which literally happens at one point). Using a point of view shot brings whoever’s watching directly into the story, looking through the person’s eyes.

This video brings a twist. The interactive choices bring you into the mindset of the person. The choices you make effect the story and lives of the antagonist and the people around him. Now that’s emotionally engaging.

Oxfam Haiti emergency appeal


Oxfam Great Britain is in around 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.

What’s it about?

Asking for money to help with the relief efforts in Haiti after the earthquake struck.

Posted: 13 January 2010 Views: 662,343 Rating: ****

Why it works

You may be wondering why this video was chosen. It’s one shot of one talking about Haiti. There are many other well produced videos to help with restoring Haiti.

There is one point that gives this video punching power. The immediacy of its posting after the earthquake struck. This is where the internet plays a new vital role. You can report on campaigns or news as it happens even with the phone in your pocket.

Ride the wave of people’s generosity when the subject matter is most visible to them.

The Lazarus Effect

Red is a charity focused on preventing and treating AIDS.

What’s it about?

Showing how they have helped real people in a short amount of time.

Posted: 25 November 2009 Views: 164,833 Rating: *****

Why it works

The video works due to the fact it shows outcomes of the charities work. This reassures the viewer that any help or funds they donate to the charity will go to genuine use.

Manchester Pride Does Lily Allen


The Lesbian and Gay Foundation is a health and community charity promoting equality and education about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

What’s it about?

to promote Manchester’s Pride event and the pride of the communities involved.

Posted: 30 August 2009 Views: 85,464 Rating: *****

Why it works

The piece works as it shows people getting involved and having a great time doing it. This will attract people to the idea of volunteering.

Singing along to a catchy song that represents the people makes it funny as well as entertaining. Also people looking for the song on Youtube will also have a good chance of seeing your video.

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