Top tips on getting funding for your charity film

19 June 2024
9 minutes
Digital MediaInnovation
Standard Content

Everyday donors are seeing loads of video content from a huge range of different sources and on a variety of platforms. Many fundraisers know that producing and using video content should be a key part of their approach, but what can you do if you don’t have budget for video production?

Emma Bracegirlde
Emma Bracegirlde
Founder, The Saltways
Rosie Cribb
Rosie Cribb
Founder, Funding Assist and the Funding School

Rosie Cribb from Funding Assist and Emma Bracegirdle from The Saltways share their expert insight on why video is important and their top tips on securing the funding you need to make it happen.

Why are videos important to charities?

Rosie: “Storytelling is fundamental to creating an emotional response in people in a way that no other form of communication can. Video can create an insight and understanding of a social or environmental issue, that words simply cannot achieve, and it is now the main way in which people consume media online. Combining video with a fundraising call-to-action presents a powerful opportunity to galvanise supporters, inviting them to help solve the problems your charity is addressing, and in doing so, helping them to fulfil their own philanthropic aspirations.”  

Emma: “I agree, films can be a charity’s magic power – show people your world, the impact you have and inspire them to want to be a part of it!” 

Top Tip: Combine video with your call-to-action to galvanise your supporters.

What kind of funding could charities apply for to fund a film or animation?

Emma: “My advice would be to think outside the box. Film can be so broad – anything from using it for impact reporting, as part of a co-created project with a group you work with or an education piece that is sponsored by a corporate. It doesn’t all have to come from your comms budget!” 

Rosie: “A good place to start is your local CVC or Community Foundation, many of whom have small grants available for organisations that want to develop their sustainability. Most funders will consider funding a film where there can see the value in its production, either through empowerment, learning and development opportunities for staff and beneficiaries in helping to create a film, as part of an evaluation process, or as part of a project’s sustainability plan to attract ongoing funding support or investment. There are many thousands of Trusts and Foundations out there, and you can use free resources such as the Charity Excellence Framework and your local CVC to conduct research. 

“If you start to consider the film as a vehicle for these project areas, the funding ask is less about the stand-alone film in itself, and more about how the process and end result will contribute to the effectiveness and outcomes of the project. 

“The best advice I can give is therefore to think creatively about how a film could become an output or activity of a particular funding bid, and what case you can make for the film providing some sort of social/environmental or sustainability impact, either through its production, or in its release and distribution.” 

Emma: “I have successfully applied for money in the past to create a film to help build the sustainability of a small charity, by unlocking a new income stream via the creation of an individual giving scheme. Many funders are keen for charities to diversify and move away from grant funding and so it can make quite a powerful case in the right circumstances.” 

Top Tip: Thinking creatively about how the video might be produced and used can help you in your funding application.  

Could corporate sponsorship be used to fund video content?

Rosie: “Due to the shareability of video content, films are a great opportunity for business sponsorship, as the business will potentially gain increased customer awareness through supporting the charity. Tapping into new audiences and the kudos associated with supporting a highly respected charity can be an attractive prospect for a corporate partnership to be established, and film is a very visual and compelling way for that business to enhance their brand identity and reputation. 

“It’s also a neat package of support to approach a business with – it’s defined and can be easily measured in terms of its performance and reach. The film can also be used by the business itself to promote through their own networks and media, therefore adding another benefit to the partner who will have an engaging Corporate Social Responsibility case study to promote to their own stakeholders and customer base.  

“If you don’t already have any corporate partnerships, it’s a great idea to start mapping out potential warm business contacts through your trustees, staff, volunteers, suppliers and through your own networks. By focusing initially on relationship building, you can work towards creating a more formal request for support when it feels appropriate and natural to do so.” 

Emma: “In my fundraising career I was successful in securing sponsorship from a corporate to create a film. I would say, make sure that you have the rights to the footage so that you can create alternative edits in the future that aren’t as focused on the business who are supporting you.” 

Top Tip: Think about how a corporate sponsor might be able to use the video, to increase the reach and impact of your message.  

How can funding for a film or animation be part of a larger project application?

Rosie: “A charity film can be a by-product of another charity function, such as evaluation or developing new skills for the people you support. The creative process of film making offers many aspects of learning that could be woven into many different projects. Why not consider a more innovative approach to evaluation, by incorporating project participants to help co-create an evaluation film? This model has so many different outcomes for your charity and the people you work with - especially having a film at the end of it which can be used to raise the profile of your charity and support your fundraising activity. 

“You can also consider it as a capacity building activity for your organisation which some funders will support, especially if you can demonstrate how the film will be used to gain new support and generate new income streams for your charity. 

Emma: “Co-creation is a huge opportunity to use film as part of your projects. You can work with people connected to your organisation to shape a film that communicates a shared message. It could also be used as a way of documenting a project through their eyes – really giving your clients the power to create something authentic.” 

Top Tip: Think about who you can involve in the film-making process and which projects a film can support or be the result of.  

Find out more from Rosie and her areas of expertise at The Funding School, which has a free monthly charity meet up to gain professional and peer support, and a regular newsletter with free resources.  

If you want to get started in creating content using your phone, The Saltways run a free monthly workshop for charities teaching the skills needed. To find out more visit their website. 

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