From experience and through our heaving little black book of contacts, we know charity video campaigns are not easy to pull off.


With budget often being a highly contentious issue and subject matter being particularly sensitive to cover in a matter of mere seconds, there are many hoops to jump through at the planning stages of any charity video.


One of the key choices you’ll need to make at the beginning of this process is whether you opt for a live action video – that is, a full scale video shoot complete with camera crew, director and actors/beneficiaries – or whether the medium of animation can better help you communicate your message.


There are pros and cons to both, but we know considering animation can feel particularly overwhelming if you’ve never managed that kind of project before. Check out our five reasons why animation could be right for you. What will you decide?


Animation Can Work Better Than Live action For Your Next Charity Video money teacup

1. Costs


Don’t get us wrong: good animation does not come cheap, and animators should charge a healthy amount for the very hard work required for those videos. But it can often turn out to be a cheaper option. There are a few reasons why:

  • Start to run through the sheer amount of people required on a real life video shoot in your head. Between staff, cameramen (because you’re going to need more than one for a video that has any kind of depth), a director, actors, extras, venue chaperones… and those are for a relatively simple video. Can you imagine the amount of time that tots up if your shoot goes on for more than a few hours? That’s a lot of day rates and a lot of staff time. Now compare that to the day rates of a couple of animators. We can hear your bank account sighing with relief as we type… 
  • It’s rare that a venue will let you film in their space for free, whether you’re a charity or not. At the very least you’ll probably be expected to cough up a donation. Animators need no venue, other than the one they are drawing. 
  • If you’ve got a very specific vision, even the very best cameraman may not have the exact kit to cater to every client’s creative ideas. Some may purchase what’s required for the desired effect as it’ll benefit them in the future, but if your idea is so unique that there’s not much call for it, you’ll probably need to foot the bill for that particular bit of tech. This is generally avoided by using animators, as the medium is more simplistic (but effective). 
  • Everyone is going to need sustenance, or at the very least a hefty amount of snacks and bottled water to keep their energy up throughout the day, which you should really be providing (and works out easier if these are onsite, as even the best planned shoots get squeezed for timings). Hello expenses! 
  • Realising you need to re-shoot a scene is not the nicest realisation you’ll ever come to, but human error can arise and sometimes it’s required. This can add quite a few extra notes onto your bill that you hadn’t really been prepared for. Meanwhile, an animator can make an urgent edit at a fraction of the cost of a re-shoot.


2. Animation helps put the charity’s cause at the forefront


While live action videos can be truly wonderful (we should know, we’re responsible for so many that are out in the world!), unexpected elements can be distracting from the point of the film. This is something charities in particular will want to avoid, as of course the focus in any charity video must be the cause.


The last thing you want is to open the audience up for judgement (isn’t she in that TV show? He’s devilishly handsome! Was that the dog I saw on the train this morning? Why does she remind me of mum so much? Why choose THAT sweatshirt?) when what you want them to do is learn how they can help you changed the world.


Taking away much of that unfortunate but natural human judgement is a terrific way to keep the audience concentrating on your message, rather than details that give your message little headway.


3. Animation can enhance your branding


In much the same way that it can accentuate your message, animation can enhance your unique branding, offering more options to make it ‘pop’ or to create entire worlds where your logo and colour palette is king. When done well, this is a really effective way to increase brand recognition.

This also feeds through to other deliverables like social media posts, toolkits and more. By using the look and feel of your main animation, the options for your deliverables are not only linkable to your brand but are made controllable and flexible for maximum impact throughout your marketing distribution.



4. Animations avoid authenticity issues


We’ve all seen those cringey Netflix documentary reenactments played by well-meaning but often completely offbeat actors. These often miss the mark because the video is low budget, and the actors voluntary or low paid.


We do completely understand that needs must. And not all of them are terrible. But if you’re a charity dealing with a particularly sensitive cause – especially ones that negatively affect people’s lives – the finished result is in danger of being wildly unsuitable for broadcast. And that would be a shame on many levels.


Animation avoids issues that you could face with live action coming across as inauthentic.


We should note here that yes, animation can also make telling a human story hard. But this important element can be reinstated by focusing on how the tone of voice, voiceover artist and music enhances the video. Not to mention…


5. Animation can express more abstract ideas


From timeline jumps to show a result or demonstrating what life could be like after interacting with your charity, animation suspends reality. So whilst you might want your narrative and storyboard to be as convincing as possible, and relate back to human experiences you know people have had, animation allows for condensed timelines and exaggerated emotions to make greater impact. This can be achieved with a live action charity video, but it requires very good actors and high quality effects.


So, what’s the verdict? If you get the feeling animation might be the way for your next charity video campaign (or, indeed, if you’ve concluded that you need live action and are looking for a devilishly handsome agency to deliver it for you), drop us a line today. We’d love to talk about how we can help!