Charity Beneficiary Films

07.04.2016 Content Strategy
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

The best charity spokespeople are those who have benefited from the services of a charity. A charity beneficiary film is an authentic voice sharing how your charity made a difference in their life. These films can truly engage your audience and connect them to your charity.

When beneficiaries tell their own stories it allows viewers to be emotionally invested in the work your charity does by directly seeing how your work benefits others. Facts and figures are always important to share, but it is an emotional connection that will best engage and motivate your audiences. Beneficiaries stories put a face to the difference your charity makes, and can inspire hope by showing how your charity creates positive change.

1) Shine light on personal struggles

What can make beneficiaries lives even harder are feelings of isolation, and thinking they are alone. But through sharing beneficiaries’ stories you can reach other beneficiaries and help them realise that they are not alone. A beneficiary’s honest story can bring to light emotional issues that otherwise hard to address or not often spoken about. This genuine approach can broaden the reach of the video and make the emotions easier to relate to and understand. It will help others feel like they are not alone, and help their loved ones understand. In the film below, Kate through speaking of her own personal struggles with cancer, was able to address less talked about fears surrounding cancer.

Not Alone – Kate’s Story for Macmillan Cancer Support

2) Inspiring hope

Often as charities the people you support can be in the darkest of places. Through sharing real survivors stories, you can inspire hope with your beneficiaries and their loved ones. In the video below, Emma shares her lived experience with breast cancer. Her story inspires empathy and hope, not sympathy. Emma’s strength and determination in the face of her hardships give viewers hope. You want viewers to finish your video feeling inspired and hopeful, and beneficiary videos allow you to do so in an authentic and genuine way.

The Last One – Emma’s Story for Breast Cancer Now

3) Connecting with audiences

Sharing a beneficiary’s story connects beneficiaries to donors, volunteers, and supporters. It creates an emotional connection that will last. Emotions are not as easy to dismiss as facts and figures. This connection will only happen if your beneficiary’s story is honest and sincere. Each beneficiary is different, and has a unique story. So adapt the film to your beneficiary, and make their personal story the main narrative and foundation of your film. Don’t try to guide them to say certain things. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results! This is exactly what happened with the film below, it truly shows the uniqueness of George. What makes him such a good voice, is that he is true to who he is throughout the whole video. He is full of personality and sincerity which makes him a likable and authentic voice for the charity.

George’s Story for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)

4) Creating authentic engagement

Audiences respond to authenticity and sincerity, and this is what makes beneficiaries stories so effective. They become a genuine conversation between your audience and the beneficiaries that audiences can connect and relate to. It is this authentic connection that will motivate action in your audiences.  In the film below, Jean who’s also known as ‘The Bee Lady’ shares her story of engagement with a charity. Jean’s positivity and joy shines through this video, and you cannot help but be inspired by her. If Jean can do it, why can’t you?

Jean Bishop: The Bee Lady for Age UK

5) Working with your beneficiary to best tell their story

It’s not always appropriate for beneficiaries to tell their own story directly to camera. But this does not mean that their stories should not be told. There are many ways to represent a beneficiary’s story in film that protects their identity. Perhaps animation or text would be a more suitable medium for that beneficiary. Speak with them and make sure that they are comfortable with how you intend to share their story.In the film below from NSPCC, animation helps Sarah* tell her story in a thoughtful and powerful way.

*name changed to protect identities

Sarah’s Story for NSPCC

Start A Video Project With Us Today

    Let's create your video