Skip to content
non-profit video

How Non-Profits Raise Awareness With Animated Explainer Video

The holiday season is a time for giving. For many non-profits or other cause-oriented organizations, the first step in garnering support is getting their message out to the masses. But not all causes are easy to understand. Topics can be sensitive, or rooted in complex issues that may not always be top-of-mind for mainstream audiences.

Explainer video is used by non-profit organizations to help educate the public in an easy-to-understand way. Animation allows for greater accessibility, with the ability to connect with universal audiences in an authentic and relatable medium. 

How are non-profits using explainer video today? Let’s take a closer look:

  • Educating Your Audience: Explainer videos are perfect for telling your organization’s story to the masses. Use explainer video to highlight the issues most important to your cause, and prompt them to learn more about your organization (or donate) through a strong call-to-action. 
  • Fundraiser Or Event Promotion: Video is a great way to spread the word about ongoing fundraisers or events. These videos can be simple, like an ad on YouTube, on social media, or on your website or fundraising page (like Kickstarter) to help spread awareness and generate support. 
  • Sharing Success Stories: Video testimonials, or a “behind-the-scenes” look at the work your organization performs helps share your story, heighten the importance of your mission, and humanize the experience. These videos can feature testimonials from people your organization has helped, volunteers, or from evangelists who support your cause. 
  • PSAs And Educational Videos: PSAs or “public service announcements” are broadcast videos that allow non-profits or other cause-oriented organizations to help inform and educate the public on issues of importance. Though they’re subject to different distribution and production rules than other types of explainer mediums, PSAs can play an important role when spreading awareness. You can learn more about PSA video here.
  • Thanking Donors: Your donors play a big role in helping further your cause, so why not thank them? A personalized thank you video, sent directly to individual donors, can foster a sense of community. It also lets your supporters know exactly how their contribution will be helping your organization.

Examples Of How Non-Profits Use Animated Explainer Video Today

Here are some of our favorite examples of how non-profits and other organizations are using animated explainer videos to help educate, inspire, and raise awareness today:

Advocate Through Education

charity:water: “Learn About The Water Crisis” 

Charity:water is a non-profit dedicated to bringing clean water to civilians in developing nations. In this animated explainer video, charity:water advocates through education. A world without clean water can be difficult to imagine if you’ve never experienced it. The roughly two-minute video brings the audience into the story, giving them a first-hand look at the world water crisis, and a simple call-to-action asking to get involved. Charity:water’s CTA also aims to bring confidence to skeptical donors by emphasizing that 100 percent of donations go towards the cause.

Keep It Simple With Sound

World Food Programme: “World Hunger – A Billion For A Billion”

This short video from World Food Programme, a division of the United Nations, packs a serious punch using just one simple sound effect — a ticking clock. This one-minute video outlines the core mission of the World Food Programme, and how people can get involved. The sheer simplicity of this video shows you don’t need a lot of production to create an explainer video that gets your point across effectively.

Let The Audience Be The Hero 

Santa Monica Fair Housing

When the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office set out to make an animated video explaining tenant rights under Fair Housing Regulations, they turned to the most unlikely source for inspiration—kids. The video, featuring the winning entry from seventh grader, Peter Riedle, lays out exactly what tenants can expect from landlords and properties under California Fair Housing Regulations, regardless of any disabilities or special circumstances.

Though not quite a non-profit, this video aims to raise awareness. To do this, the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office turned to IdeaRocket for help. You can read more about our work on this project here.

Drive The Narrative With Influencers

Drug Policy Alliance: “The War On Drugs Is An Epic Fail”

This 2016 collaboration between rapper Jay Z (Shawn Carter), artist Molly Crabapple, and the Drug Policy Alliance, is a beautiful take on traditional whiteboard animation. Rich, sweeping illustrations, paired with cutouts and stop-motion help Carter trace the history of the War on Drugs in the United States. The video itself doesn’t have a clear call-to-action, but in a Sept. 2016 op-ed for the New York Times, Ashe Bandele, senior director of the Drug Policy Alliance, introduced the video as a way to bring awareness to California voters in support of Prop 64, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The bill was put into effect in January 2018. The campaign is a powerful example of strong influencer partnerships, supported by artistry.

Harness The Power Of Whiteboard Animation

Oxfam America: International Arms Trade Treaty: “Take a Good Look”

This video from Oxfam America takes a more traditional, RSA-style approach to whiteboard animation, detailing the history of the global arms trade crisis, and advocating for the support of an International Arms Trade Treaty.

Make It Easy To Learn More With Resources And CTAs

St. John Ambulance: “The Chokables Alert”

St. John Ambulance, an organization that provides first-aid training, got creative with this delightfully informative advertisement. The 40-second video uses animated toys to teach parents about choking hazards and how to care for a child in danger. St. John also includes a link in the upper right-hand corner of the video for those who are looking for more information. If you click on the link, you’re taken to a series of other, more in-depth videos outlining safety procedures. The video is a good example of “hooking” a viewer, and introducing them to a concept, while providing a clear way to find more information they may need.

How Non-Profit Video Can Help Raise Awareness

Animated explainer videos bring your cause to life with a blend of imagery and narrative that can be both educational and imaginative. Explainer videos can distill complex issues and give audiences a chance to connect with a cause. Your video doesn’t have to be too long, or overly produced to make a difference, either. All you need is a mission, and a story to tell.

Click here to learn how IdeaRocket can help bring your next big idea to life.

Receive our
free book
when you sign
up for our