Could you be a collaborative film maker?

filmmakingA guest blog by Jeremy Jeffs….

Imagine if you could get supporters all over the country to work together and make a video to promote your next campaign or event. Well, that’s the promise of a clutch of new smartphone apps that bring the power of collaborative film making within easy reach of charities.

Collaborative video is going to be one of the big innovations in video for fundraising and films made this way not only show the tremendous support that you’ve got but they also encourage people to spread the word by sharing films they’ve been part of.

But up until now, managing this process has been tricky to say the least: organising the filming, collection and editing of clips from dozens of people can be a bit of a nightmare.

Happily there are a couple of new apps that make this process a breeze and some go-ahead charities are already harnessing the power of collaborative film making.


Seenit is a smartphone app that lets you create video with your supporters or followers. It’s the most expensive of the services available but is easily the most powerful.

Using the app, you can apply your brand and logo, write a shot list for the ‘crew’ (ie your followers) and also send them feedback and encouragement with notifications. The videos are uploaded directly to your own ‘studio’ where you can watch them and then edit the footage into videos.

The British Heart Foundation used this tech for their Wear It. Beat It Campaign. Wonderful.


Jumpcam is a similar service to SeenIt – a bit cheaper but less flexible. A free app for Android and iOS. If you’re used to Instagram then this will be a doddle to pick up.

You simply start a video and then invite people to add their own clips. The app automatically edits the clips together into a single film that you can then add music, filters or special effects to.


Facebook RIFF 

This new app available for Android and iOS allows people to record a short video – just like a Vine – and then share it via Facebook. They can invite others to contribute and suggest what the next shot should be. Other users can add to film with their own short clip, building a longer video.

riff grabFacebook say the idea is that a short video can become an “inventive project between circles of friends that you can share to Facebook, or anywhere on the internet, at any time”. This has great potential for fundraising that’s based around an event or a challenge.

Jeremy Jeffs is an award-winning film maker and founding partner of Magneto Films, a video production company that specialises in working with charities,  not-for-profits and the public sector. He blogs on the latest charity videos at www.magnetofilms.co.uk 

The charity team building day – reality or urban myth?

34d3df5789706bf11905104c6c101ce0Over the last few weeks I have heard a story several times that makes my heart sink. Before I start a rant on the topic, I want to check whether it is indeed a truth, something that happens frequently, or a one-off that has become an urban fundraising myth.

The story goes like this; on a dark and stormy night a local business gets in touch with their local charity because they want to help them; they want to make a difference in their community. They don’t have a budget for charitable donations, but they would like to help by volunteering their time. They have an idea of how they could do this. They suggest that they could paint a building or do some gardening and that would also give them the opportunity to work together as a team. They ask the charity if this would be possible.

The charity welcomes this enquiry and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this local company. They are delighted that the company thought to ask them.

However, there is a slight problem that there isn’t any painting that really needs doing, or any gardens that need attention. Rather than turn down an opportunity, or investigate whether there is something else that could be mutually beneficial, the charity creates painting and gardening opportunities, because there is an outside chance that this will lead to more support from the company in the future.

The highly skilled accountants, project managers, communications and marketing experts turn up on their allocated volunteering day to paint a shed that, unbeknown to them, doesn’t need painting and plant some shrubs and trees that don’t need planting.

Let’s assume that they had a good day, they built some rapport in their team, got to know each other better, felt good because they did something for the community and slapped each other on the back for their good work in the pub on the way home.

We hope they did have a good day, because the standard of painting work was so appalling, that the charity had to employ professional decorators to clear up the mess and a trained gardener to revive the shrubs and trees.

It’s not a surprising result, given that the teams skills are not painting and decorating, they are in strategic communications, accountancy and managing complex projects. Skills that the charity might have been able to deploy to greater effect if only they had been bold enough to ask.

Does this happen or is it an urban myth? Please comment below, or drop me a line.

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