Rethinking Video Content For Your NGO

Marko Randelovic About Marko Randelovic

Marko Randelovic is a documentary filmmaker who works primarily with NGOs across the world to help bring exposure and support to their cause.

When you think back to these moments, there’s most likely a familiar thread – you either watched something incredibly thought-provoking or maybe you were in the field and witnessed something with your own eyes.I’d just like you to take a moment think back to a time your perception of the world was changed, a moment where all that you believed in was challenged and you felt motivated to change the world.

Either way there’s only one surefire way to recreate this feeling for an audience and although there are many well-written and descriptive articles out there which have worked as call to actions, no form of media in the contemporary world can now challenge the power of video.

Videos in the Age of Social Media

In early 2016 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that within 5 years, Facebook will be almost completely video based. This is of great significance; the medium which the majority of us consume new information from such as news, events and the birth of your friend’s child will be mostly video by 2021.

Whilst social media videos start to take precedence in the information we consume, it’s incredibly important that NGOs are prepared to fight for space in the news feed. After all, I believe that the work of NGOs is some of the most urgent and essential help that the world needs, and this should not be hampered by lack of media understanding.

As a filmmaker with past experience working for large social media companies, I’ve been lucky to have a unique glimpse at what makes people take time to stop zombie-scrolling on their feeds and engage with a post.

Creating Engaging Content

When it comes to NGO content, audiences love to engage with cinematic and reconstructive documentaries experiences which have the ability to leave a lasting imprint on their memory.

Unfortunately we all too often see videos which just consist of interviews with a few of the NGO’s staff talking about the altruistic work that they are doing overlaid with some footage from the field.

To someone with an interest in the specific area or actively involved with NGOs, it may be of interest to learn about the methods used and seem glimpses of this in the footage. But to a large proportion of your potential audience, the sight of talking heads discussing their work is not entirely fulfilling.

There’s so much more potential to be achieved albeit a little more work and I’m certainly not talking about spending thousands of dollars on a film crew straight out of Hollywood.

All it takes is directing the camera and story towards the people your NGO is working with. Make these people the main, if not the only, characters in your video. Scratch that, don’t make a video – make a FILM.

How to Make a Film

Get a director on board to make your film who has experience in storytelling – believe me that many like myself would love the opportunity to work with NGOs for prices that won’t break the bank. Let them meet and become friendly with the character or group of people you would like to focus on.

Then allow the filmmaker the space to create a well thought-out piece of cinematic content complete with conflict, drama and emotion. This will work so much better than basically reproducing the “About Us” section of your website into a video.

Emotional Appeal Videos

You can see from the evidence in marketing trends which shows how brands are increasingly using dramatic or emotional stories to get people to buy products. Most of the time the products have no real link to the stories and brands seek to exploit our emotions to generate profits (the KFC advert which tries to tackle the issue of adoption)

We shouldn’t let them be the only ones to use this technique. Consumer brands aren’t in need of funds to change the world. NGOs are crucial to shaping a fairer and better tomorrow so it’s important for them to use the stories at their disposal to generate support.

It’s understandable that in some cases it can be hard to craft such stories, especially if your area of interest doesn’t talk. (I’m not going to comment on the effectiveness of interviewing an endangered elephant – ironically this could work if made in a comedic and this will lead me onto introducing unconventional videos for NGOs.) This leads us to a second category of video.

Social Experiment Videos

Social experiment videos have always had the ability to garner large views across Facebook and YouTube. Famous experiments include testing the public’s resolve to give an actor their wallet back after pretending to drop it.

Recently the hunger for this type of video was generously exploited by animal rights group PETA UK who took to the streets undercover as a new phony milk brand.

They encouraged people walking by to sample the new milk and asked for feedback. Most reviews were positive until they were told that the milk was supposedly from a dog, rather than a cow.

The reactions of the public were priceless, many were stunned in disbelief while others got excessively angry. This made for great viewing and accumulated several million views thanks to all the other outlets and people who shared the content.

The beauty of this is that people who weren’t necessarily interested in animal rights or veganism, were not only made to think about PETA’s cause but they also helped to spread it far and wide.

Conclusions

So by just taking steps to rethink your concept of video, it’s possible for you to create a compelling film or thought-provoking unconventional video.

Create something which will help your NGO get the attention it deserves and make people experience their own life-changing moments through what you create.

References

 

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PEDL: Seeking Applications for Major Research Grant Program

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation Grant: Supporting Environmental Education and Green Space Programs in Canada

CEPI Call for Proposals: Enabling Rapid Vaccine Development for Epidemic Prone Infections

The Australian Government’s Stronger Communities Programme: Delivering Social Benefits in Communities across Australia

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CEPF Call for LOIs: Cerrado Biodiversity Hotspot Small and Large Grants Program

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Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund(BUSAC): Supporting Private Sector Business Groups in Ghana

USAID-Afghanistan Request for Applications: ADALAT Legal Advocacy Grants Program

Embassy of the Czech Republic in Lusaka, Zambia: Small Local Development Projects for 2018

Safari Club International Foundation: Call for Proposal for Large Grants Program

Visionaria Network: Seeking Applications for Empowered Entrepreneur Training Fund (EETF)

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