Don’t Underestimate the Power of Video Animation to Tell Your Social Change Story

Last month, a client asked us what we thought of producing an animated video to share her nonprofit’s mission in a fun and engaging way.

We think her idea is a great one and here’s why:

While animation might bring to mind cheesy cartoons like Superman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s also a legitimate, respected marketing force for everyone from nonprofits to big brands.

Watch these three examples of social change organizations using animation in a powerful and effective way, and you’ll be as convinced as we are that animation might be a real contender in your organization’s video marketing strategy!

  1. The Women’s Aid Organization: The Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) is a nonprofit based in Malaysia that works to create a society free of violence against women. In 2013, WAO released a video that uses animation to describe its founding, its growth and the services that it provides to women and girls in need.
  2. Girl Effect: The Girl Effect is a movement that advocates for the unique potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves, their families, their communities, their countries and the world. The Simple Case for Investing in Girls is an excellent animation that engages viewers to get involved in the cause.
  3. Alliance for Education: The Alliance for Education strives to ensure every child in Seattle Public Schools is prepared for success in college, career and life. This animated video demonstrates what the organization is doing and why we should care.

These three examples of animation cover all the bases for thoughtful video production:

The videos are visually appealing and engaging.  

  • The text and visuals work together to emphasize the main points without overwhelming the viewer.
  • The graphics are simple and depict clear demonstrations of the messages.
  • There are three or four strong colors used throughout the entire video, preventing viewers from being distracted.

Each video emphasizes clarity in message and a call to action.

  • The important messages—such as mission, and why and how target audiences should help—are simplified in images and re-iterated with text.
  • The flow in each example follows a cause-and-effect method that clarifies the what, who, and why do I care messages that keep viewers engaged in the organizations’ story.

The videos are digestible—they’re the right length for online viewers.

  • Each example falls between two to three minutes of actual messaging and includes 30 seconds or less with information on how to get involved or contact the organization.
  • This two to three-minute length encompasses all necessary information to entice viewers to learn more without losing their attention.

What organizations have you seen use animation effectively?

Cecilia Bianco

Former Account Executive Cecilia Bianco supported Reclaiming Futures, Playworks, and the Strengthening Families portfolio for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Fond of social media and communications for social good, Cecilia is also a wine lover, occasional barre athlete, more-than-occasional Nordstrom patron and Olivia Pope fanatic.
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2 Comments “Don’t Underestimate the Power of Video Animation to Tell Your Social Change Story”

  1. Thanks for the post Cecilia. Would you mind if I quoted you in a guide I’m putting together for nonprofit marketers? It covers the questions involved in planning for an animated Video and I’d love to include the line you have about not writing them off simply because they’re animated. I can send you a copy of it before it’s released so you’re ok with the attribution.

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