Two Killer Methods To Tell a Social Impact Story

Hila Mehr
Hila Mehr


The social impact story you tell in your CauseVox crowdfunding video is critical–both for success in raising the most funds, but also in the message you are sending about your cause.

An unfortunate trend in social impact storytelling is something known as “poverty porn.” You know it when you see it–the sad music, dehumanizing photos, simplification of issues, and an infomercial-style plea to “make a difference.” And you’ve seen it in campaigns like KONY 2012.

The problem with social impact storytelling, especially when it comes to photos and videos, is that even if your cause will really make a positive change, the way you tell your story impacts the perception of your organization, and it could portray the people you’re working with as victims or your work as ill-fitting for the cause.

Luckily, below are two great examples of videos and tactics to tell your social impact story in a way that keeps human dignity and the integrity of your work and cause intact.

The Funny Social Impact Story

When it comes to social impact messaging, this 2012 ad from the Rainforest Alliance is as effective, funny, clever, and powerful as it gets. What makes it so great?

  • Entertain: It’s entertaining and it uses the power of storytelling to explain so much of what is wrong with social impact messaging and work.

  • Call to action: They provide a strong and easy to follow call to action at the end of the video so that you remember what to do next, and are motivated to do so.

  • Relatable: Did you notice how relatable it is? They use “you” throughout to make this possible.

This video required a much bigger production than you likely have the time or budget for, but you can still use it as inspiration.

The Informational Social Impact Story

EarthRights International raised over $20,000 on the CauseVox platform. As an organization defending human rights and environmental rights using the law and “power of the people,” they have a complex mission to explain in a short video. But they achieved their success using some of the following tactics.

  • Language: The film uses clear language and flashes keywords across the screen instead of using just a narrator.

  • Variety: They use a mix of interviews, images, and visual explanations to get their message across.

  • Framing: They find a way to explain both the issue they are trying to solve and how they go about solving it while providing context for any images or videos that could otherwise be viewed in a more dehumanizing light.

You can read more about their success and lessons-learned using CauseVox in this case study.

For more information on changing social impact messaging to frame your social impact story in the right light, check out the great work of Regarding Humanity. If you’re looking for a good laugh, there have been a number of clever video campaigns mimicking or combatting poverty porn.

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