How to use film to boost your fundraising

FundsOnline - How to use film to boost your fundraising

By Emma Bracegirdle, Founder, The Saltways

Did you know that adding films to your emails can boost click rates by a whopping 300%? And on social media, videos are six times more likely to get shared than other types of content. It’s no wonder that more and more charities are using films to connect with their supporters and spread the word about the important work that they are doing.  

By using film as part of your fundraising, you can build stronger relationships with your current supporters and attract new donors.

Here’s how to do it…

Plan, plan, plan

Before you start shooting your film, take a moment to step back and plan out what you want to say. Think about who you’re talking to, how you want them to feel, and what you want them to do after watching. Figure out your message, goals, and who your target audience is before you jump into production. Remember, you can’t cover everything your charity does in a short-3-minute film. So, focus on showing the impact you have and how you want your audience to feel.

Top tips: To connect with more donors, have a chat with your current supporters. Find out what inspires them to give. Take those insights and build your main message around them. Use the same words they do and share your film where they hang out.  

Choose a story that will make your donor’s heart sing 

Storytelling can change the world. Pick a story that brings your key messaging to life and that can connect your audience to the amazing work that you do. Share the experiences of people whose lives you have help to change.Get your storytellers involved in making your film and bring them along for the journey. Remember that your stories don’t have to just be about the people you help. Volunteers, your staff, and anyone passionate about your work can also make for compelling stories. 

TOP TIP: Before working with storytellers, make sure you are being ethical and authentic, read the Dignified Storytelling pledge. 

Build a campaign around your film 

To make the most of your film investment, put it at the core of your campaign. Add it to your website, send in a newsletter, include it in emails and let it shine on your social media channels. Pull quotes and stills from the film to include in direct mail appeals, appeal emails and social media posts. You can also make it the main event during presentations! The whole campaign should all sit nicely together, with the film at the centre.

Promoting your film

Pushing your film is key to its success. Before the launch, send it to key supporters, trustees, partners, and your team. Ask them to share it on release day to give it a boost! Use social media and other marketing channels to get people talking about your film. Teasers, trailers, and behind-the-scenes stuff can build up excitement. Use hashtags and keywords that fit a reach to wider audience. And remember, don’t just stop once you’ve launched the campaign, keep the film buzzing and share it all through your campaign.

Have a clear call to action

At the heart of your fundraising film should be a clear and compelling call to action. Give your audience an easy way to support your work – a donation link, QR code or text to donate. It should be simple, easy, and impactful.  

TOP TIP: Before launching your campaign, test your donate links on your desktop and phone to check it is all working. 

Follow up with your supporters

What is your donor journey? Once someone has donated, it is vital to keep those connections going. Make sure that they know how their support is making a difference.

TOP TIP: When you are shooting your film, ask your storytellers to record a thank you message that you can share with supporters once they have donated.  

By using the power of film in your fundraising, you can build emotional connections with your donors, showing them the impact, their support has in a very tangible way. Fundraising films act like a powerful spark, inspiring, educating and connecting with your donors. 

Develop your fundraising skills at our upcoming conference

Our annual two-day online fundraising conference returns for 2024! Join us at Fundraising Now: Good Fundraising Matters online conference on 31 January – 1 February. Learn more here.

About The Saltways

The Saltways is a creative agency with a difference. Made up of charity professionals and creatives – they create effective and ethical films and animations for the third sector. Email Emma for a chat about your next project at