People usually take action on behalf of a cause only when they feel an emotional connection. That’s human nature. Unfortunately, many nonprofits are not very good at telling and sharing their own stories. Most of those using video are doing a fantastic job of making that emotional connection to prompt action. That emotional tie is most easily achieved through traditional video – telling the stories of those people’s lives that have been enhanced and helped by the nonprofit. There is also a case for animation for nonprofits as well.

The best use of animation is telling the mission story. Usually there are fundamental concepts that are difficult to visualize shooting traditional video. The mission is bigger than one person’s story it’s how the nonprofit affects the lives of many, many others.

One of the best examples is charity: water and their animated mission video “Water Changes Everything”:



You quickly understand how something as simple as water affects everything and how dire the situation is for those affected, particularly women and children. They begin with that emotionally charged message showing how difficult and awful the situation is. Then they spin to show how much a positive impact charity: water can have with the help of the viewer to make a huge difference.

Charity: water does a great job of then following up to show how the work they are doing is affecting and changing people’s lives with emotionally charged videos featuring those most affected:



Charity: water is one of the best storytellers among nonprofits and do a wonderful job using video to tell their stories and drive their mission and individual campaigns. As a parent, or a human being for that matter, you immediately are moved by the plight of Bagina and her family in Rwanda. Their hopes and dreams and how much their lives are affected by something as simple as water.

Another great use of animation for nonprofits is to launch a fundraising campaign. Usually a fundraising campaign launch is similar to a mission statement in that it is speaking to the bigger fundamentals of the campaign similar to the mission.

One great example of using animation for a campaign launch is the Heifer International’s Honduras Matching Challenge:



The bigger statistics of how difficult it is for Honduran farmers is presented and then put to the viewer to help showing them for every donation they give, it’s doubled. It’s aspirational and shows how even a little donation can have a profound effect on the farmer’s lives.

Animation has a place within the marketing and storytelling of a nonprofit and, if used well, can have a profound and emotional impact on the viewer. It’s part of that 80/20 mix that works for a great video marketing strategy, especially when the animated mission story is followed up with the emotional stories of the people affected by the nonprofit. That’s how you move a viewer to action.

Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts