7 Tips for Crowdfunding Success

July 17th, 2014 by Andy

Having made films for two crowdfunding campaigns that raised a total of £28k I thought I’d offer you some tips on how to make use of this potential goldmine. I did one for The Hackney Pirates to renovate their building (£14k raised online and £6.5k offline) and one was for The Holborn to create a print edition of their online magazine (£8k raised).



My seven tips are:

1. Tangible outcome – like creating a product or building a school
2. Group mentality – create a feeling of doing something together
3. Personal connection – people often care more about the person who’s fundraising than the cause
4. Recognition – making people feel good about giving
5. Keep up the momentum – most people give at the beginning and end.
6. Allow enough lead time
7. Make a video that communicates your passion


1. Tangible Outcome
You need a really well defined thing to be fundraising for. One of the most successful fundraising initiatives of all time is sponsoring a child through school, because it’s universally recognised as important and it’s very clear what your money is being used for (at least in theory!). In these examples the Hackney Pirates were homeless and wanted to create a beautiful space for them do all their activities in, with a pirate ship theme. We showed the unrenovated building in the film and had the children saying how they imagined the finished ship would look.

The Holborn wanted to create a beautiful print magazine that could become a collectors item and reflect the fact that they write about people who create beautiful products such as clothing, jewellery and so on. We showed mock-ups of the new magazine in the film and created a second film of two of the artisans they’ve written about.

Be as clear, specific and visual as you can about what the money is being used for.

2. Group mentality
Often when you give to charity it’s something you do in private. The idea of crowdfunding though is that you feel that you’re part of a group who are all banding together to make something wonderful happen. The team effort is something you should have as a theme throughout your campaign.

3. Personal connection
The Hackney Pirates help 9-11 year olds with their literacy. Overtime they’ve made connections with organisations who’ve given them grants, teachers, parents and volunteers. The Holborn Magazine had its readership to drawn as well as all the artisans and small business that they’d written about, who had a vested interest in the campaign succeeding.

Make list of pretty much everyone you’ve ever been in contact with and work out what you will ask of them for and how.

4 .Recognition
The prizes are really important. People like to feel good about giving – and so they should! The Hackney Pirates put donors names on their website and gave them a free drink in their cafe, gave away postcards, badges, guidebooks to Hackney and the top prize was a candlelit dinner on a boat with ‘top movers and shakers’ in education.

The Holborn offered to print your name in the first edition, give you a tote bag, a Holborn pub guide and the chance to request for them to publish an article on an artisan of your choosing.

It’s important to plan the rewards carefully to think about which type of people will go for what thing.

5. Keep up the momentum
Generally people give at the start and the end of the campaign, so here are some things from the two campaigns did to keep up momentum:
● A big launch event and a mini event halfway through
● A media plan to get supportive blogs, fashion companies and radio stations to publicise your campaign
● Roughly 30 emails a day to potential supporters, the more personalised the better
● A social media strategy
● Asking people to be champions for further fundraising once they’ve given themselves

6. Allow enough lead time
The process of planning, scripting, shooting and editing the film alone usually takes a minimum of a month.

The Holborn started contacting media and supporters about two weeks before the campaign, and put in about half a day’s work on each other the thirty days of the campaign.

The Hackney Pirates spent a month planning, with an intern working on it for about three weeks in the middle (two weeks planning and one week kick-off) and it took about another month to finish off the campaign and send out the rewards. Even more lead time would have helped, they said.

It’s also worth noting that with Kickstarter, which the Holborn used, if you don’t make the target you lose all the money. Hackney Pirates didn’t hit their target but Indiegogo allows you to keep whatever you raise.

7. Make a video that communicates your passion
It doesn’t have to be fancy. The key thing is to tell your story, communicate your passion and make people feel emotionally engaged with your cause. People don’t give money based on information, the give based on emotion. It also helps a lot to demonstrate the impact your work if it’s a service or show the product.

With the Hackney Pirates we told a story about a group of children wanting to help adults to have more adventures in their new ship. We also had some powerful testimonials from the kids about how the charity had boosted their literacy.

In The Holborn film we showed what the magazine would look like, had the editor explain why he was passionate about creating a physical magazine and made a second video about two of the artisans that they’d written articles about.

I hope that’s helpful. If you want to discuss creating a crowdfunding video then email me at andy@hixmedia.co.uk or call me on 07825 953 484.

Faking your commute

June 26th, 2014 by Andy

Working from home can seem like a retreat but there’s something unsavoury about it being mid-morning and still being in your pyjamas. So to feel like you’ve properly started your work day, who about faking a commute?!

This was part of a series we made with Worksnug , that help people find the nearest and best places to work.

Coffee Shop Etiquette for Mobile Workers

June 26th, 2014 by Andy

Working from cafes is becoming increasingly common, but there are a few pitfalls to avoid if you don’t want to rub the staff up the wrong way. We made this video with Worksnug , that help people find the nearest and best places to work.

Volunteer Recruitment

June 23rd, 2014 by Andy

This video is designed to recruit more volunteers to teach children maths in their lunch break. We aimed to make it look fun, show how much the kids benefit from it and how much the volunteers enjoy it.

Commonwealth Changemakers

April 3rd, 2013 by Andy

“Can the media criticise the government?!” asked the Maldivian.

“Well… no…” replied the Pakistani, reluctantly.

“Well you don’t have freedom of speech then!” he told her, laughing.

We were in a training centre, two hours drive from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and sixty young people from five South Asian Commonwealth countries (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives) were discussing the progress of human rights and democracy in their own countries.

Previously I didn’t know what relevance the Commonwealth had anymore, other than the Commonweath Games. But on 11 March 2013, the head of the Commonwealth, The Queen signed the Charter of the Commonwealth, which commits all fifty-four members to sixteen values covering human rights, democracy and sustainable development. This training was about making that document more than just a piece of paper.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office had provided funding for these ‘Commonwealth Changemakers’ to learn about the Charter’s values and how to set up projects in their home countries that would promote them. My role was to create a video of the impact of the project in order to help win more funding and to create a video that explains the Charter.

I interviewed Dan who had set up a beach cleaning project in Maldives, Kajal who had set up the first school in rural area of Pakistan and Ayesha who was helping educated the children of sex workers in Delhi. They were setting up these projects off their own back with no funding and no institutional support. I was impressed by their energy, enthusiasm and in many cases their courage in running such projects in areas with suffocating political and social oppression.

7 Tips for Making a Successful Video

February 15th, 2013 by Andy

Having recently completed one hundred videos for over forty different charities and social enterprises, I want to share the lessons I’ve learned in how to make a successful video and how to avoid some common pitfalls.

1. Write down the purpose of the video

This sounds obvious, but a lot of the time people decide they want a video without being 100% clear what they want to achieve with it. Do you want to explain what you do? Teach people something? Gain more twitter followers? Elicit a donation or make a sale? I was once asked to record every session of a three day event and put it on a DVD. I can’t imagine many of the people who were there wanted to relive the entire experience.

2. Show your personality

A video is a great opportunity to express your organisation’s personality. I’m sure Penna is a fantastic company, but I started falling asleep after about 30 seconds of the video on their frontpage. I couldn’t tell you anything that made them unique or any specific problem they might be able to help someone solve. In contrast, the Dollar Shave Club video made me want to buy their razors because it’s charismatic and funny, whilst telling me the benefits of their product. No wonder it’s had over 9 million hits.

3. Plan how you’ll reach your target audience

Don’t just post the video and hope people will see it. Think about where you’ll put the video on your website. Will you send it to your mailing list? Is there an event or presentation you can show it at? How can you use social media to reach specific people or organisations? One of the most watched videos I’ve made was a hand puppet summary of a UN climate conference. We spent several days emailing it, tweeting it and posting it to everyone who was connected with the event. Somehow it ended up being posted on the BBC website by their environment correspondent.

4. Be clear about what you want

Have you seen any videos that are similar to the one you’ve got in mind? It could be that you like different elements of several videos: you like the music of this video, the picture and sound quality of that video, the humour in this one. It’s not until you’re clear what kind of video you want that you can get a realistic quote.

5. Choosing who to hire and how much to pay

There are a huge number of video production companies in London. Go with a recommendation. Look at people’s porfolios. Ask them to submit a proposal with a price indication.

6. Ask what equipment they’re going to be using

If it’s an event with a panel of speakers, how will they record sound for each person? If the filming is in a noisy room, how will they make sure the quality is good enough? Ask them to show you an example of the picture and sound quality they expect to achieve.

7. Put in writing what’s expected from both sides

This is probably the biggest and hardest lesson I’ve learned. It doesn’t mean you need a jargon-filled legal contract, you just need to be as clear as possible what you’re asking for and they need to be as clear as possible what they’re providing. Agree on the number of filming days, the number of sets of changes you can request before the final version, the deadline, the picture and sound quality that you want, the objective of the video and the style of the video. This avoids a project taking longer or costing more than expected. It also minimises the risk of you being disappointed with the final outcome.

I’ll be going into more detail about these tips and providing both good and bad real examples at a free workshop on 20 February at The Hub Westminster and at The Hub Kings Cross on 12 March.

Free Workshop: How To Make A Successful Video For Your Organisation

February 13th, 2013 by Andy

Director of HixMedia Andy Hix is running a free workshop next week about how to make successful videos. He has made over 100 films with 40 different organisations. This workshop will give you the inside track on what makes a successful video and how to avoid common pitfalls.

It will cover deciding where and how to use video, choosing who to hire or whether to make the film internally, how much films should cost, what makes people want to watch and what makes people switch off.

The event is free but spaces are limited.

HixMedia’s Hundred

January 15th, 2013 by Andy

The first video I ever made was a love story about recycling. The campus bottle banks were tucked away behind a fence and most people didn’t seem to know they existed. When you’re used to recycling at home, seeing everything going into the same bin just doesn’t feel right, and I came up with the idea of creating Love Recycling that would show everyone where to go.

Something about it must have struck a chord with people because it’s now had over 15,000 views. The excitement of seeing how many people my message had reached and the fun we had making it spurred me on to make more videos. I made Gangster Recycling, The Sweaty Penguin and The Angry Penguin.

My video skills helped me get a job for an energy saving campaign called Student Switch Off. I made a series starring the Eco Power Ranger, which was my boss dressed in a green lycra suit he’d bought at SpandexMan.com. I couldn’t believe how willing he was to dress up and prance around in front of the camera. I guess he was just very committed to the cause.

A few months after I started I was asked by one of my bosses friends how much I would charge to make his organisation a video. I ended up doing five or six projects for them on the side of my Student Switch Off job. I really enjoyed the work and it paid well, so I decided to do film making full-time and handed in my notice. Thankfully, my boss was very supportive.

The first six months were quite tough, and I began to question if my new venture was going to work. I realised that I just needed to get out there and meet more people. A friend recommended The Hub Islington, a shared work space for social enterprises. It felt like a bit of a risk signing up and paying the membership, but it more than paid for itself as I quickly found several new clients. Not only that but it’s a really fun, sociable place to work and is full of people doing interesting projects. I also started putting on video training courses at The Hub, teaching people how to film and edit.

Within a year of working there I found I didn’t have to look for clients anymore, people kept contacting me. I bought a better quality camera and sound equipment and started to provide more input at the start of projects. I began to discuss with clients why they wanted a video rather than just turning up and filming. I found it helped them feel a lot clearer about how a video was going to help with their overall objectives and I enjoyed the strategic thinking.

I’ve now done a hundred projects as HixMedia in the two and half years that I’ve been running the company. I’m going to be sharing some of the insights I’ve learned about how organisations can best use video at a free event at The Hub Westminster on 20th February. If you’d like to come then you can book a place through eventbrite. Space is limited!

Universities Getting Greener

December 15th, 2012 by Andy

Green Impact is an environmental accreditation scheme championed by the NUS, empowering staff and students to work together to green their students’ unions, institutions and wider communities.

Getting Your Dream Sustainability Job

November 15th, 2012 by Andy

Shannon Houde helps people get the sustainability career of their dreams. HixMedia created a video about what she does, including testimonials from people she’s worked with.