No Budget Video: 3 tricks to help small charities punch above their weight with videos

phone video

When you’re a small charity with little or no budget for video, it can be hard to imagine how you could compete with bigger charities whose budgets for film production stretch into the thousands. In this guest post, Jeremy Jeffs from Magneto Films explains how small charities can use the DIY aesthetic to punch above their weight without spending a fortune.

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So you want to get into wildlife TV?


Before moving into the third sector I spent several years working in wildlife TV production, at the BBC Natural History Unit and at various independent production companies in Bristol and in Australia. I worked mainly in Development (forming and pitching ideas for new TV shows), which was great for sharpening up my writing skills and the ability to condense a big idea into a few punchy sentences. 

I left TV to work in communications because although I loved wildlife (and still do), I wanted to use my professional skills for something really worthwhile. For me, that was helping charities to tell their stories – and I can honestly say it’s the best career move I could have made. But I know there are plenty of people out there still wanting to break into the world of wildlife telly (not least because I still get emails asking for advice on this), so this is for them – my five top tips for getting a job in wildlife TV.

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Engaging with the media (Part Two: Press releases)


Having covered some of the basics of engaging with the media in a previous post, we are now going to look in more detail at how to write, format and deliver a press release.

As a communications professional, it’s your job to make life as easy as possible for the journalist covering your story. When you are placing a story about an event, report or anything else with a lot of details involved, a useful way of getting all the necessary information in one place is to issue a press release.

Press releases are standard in the media although they can seem daunting if you’ve never written one. To get you started, here are five steps to make your press releases more effective.

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Engaging with the media (Part One: The Basics)


The relationship between third sector organisations and the media is changing. Communicating with people about your organisation has never been easier – with your website, social media accounts and other ‘owned channels’ you have the tools to reach hundreds or even thousands of people at your fingertips, without ever crossing paths with a traditional journalist.

However, getting positive media coverage remains a hugely powerful way of reaching new audiences, building your reputation and strengthening your brand. Many third sector organisations don’t know where to start with getting the media interested in their stories, so they abandon PR altogether. Others try, but with badly-written, poorly-targeted efforts, getting discouraged when they don’t see results. Either way, they miss out on a hugely valuable communications tool.

To develop a PR stand in your comms strategy, you just need to plan carefully and know some of the basics. To get you started, here are five essential steps to engaging with the media.

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Creating case studies


It’s one of the most common communications mistakes made by third sector organisations. When describing what they do, they focus on either their inputs (the resources they have spent doing their work) or their outputs (the actual work they have done), rather than their impact – i.e. what has changed as a result of their work.

But showing the impact of your work is crucial – this is what funders, supporters and potential service users all want to see, and it’s what makes people remember you.

One of the best and simplest ways of showing your impact is by producing compelling case studies.

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