Self-indulgent anniversary video wastes opportunity

Stupid ads

Congratulations to Amnesty International, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. I wish them another 50.

Unfortunately, one of the ways they are celebrating their milestone is an impressive exercise in navel-gazing. It’s a short animated film that reportedly commemorates the excellent work of Amnesty over the last half century.

Sadly, it does nothing of the sort. Check it out:

Or watch it here on YouTube.

I have to admit, this video is pretty. And the music is well-fitted to it. If I’d made it, I’d be proud, as the creators no doubt are.

But as a piece meant to persuade donors to take action and join the Amnesty cause, it’s empty and pointless. Because, like so many Stupid Nonprofit Ads, it’s abstract and symbolic, which fails to tell the real story of Amnesty International over the last 50 years:


  • They freed people unjustly imprisoned or tortured for their beliefs.
  • They helped pressure thuggish regimes into joining the civilized world.
  • They helped raise the whole issue of human rights in nearly everyone’s mind.
  • They’ve empowered millions of ordinary donors to do something meaningful about human rights.

You wouldn’t know that from the video. is about cartoon people, a brick wall with animated graffiti, a red flower that’s sometimes blood or other red stuff. Some of the symbolism I get. Some of it still escapes me after repeated viewings. (The women’s kerchiefs turning into birds and flying away — what’s that about?)

It adds up to the usual self-indulgence, possibly an attempt at getting one of those pointless but highly-valued ad industry awards.

Chances are, this was done pro bono for Amnesty. (I sure hope so!) Even so, why not use all that creativity and production power to accomplish something? To actually create something persuasive that would motivate donors to give and further the cause of human rights. I can’t think of a better way for a great nonprofit to celebrate than to do its thing just a bit more than before. What a lost opportunity!

Thanks to Creative Advertisements for NGO for the tip.

More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.


Comments

36 responses to “Self-indulgent anniversary video wastes opportunity”

  1. ashley webster Avatar
    ashley webster

    I would appreciate a parallel blog series: excellent nonprofit ads.

  2. ashley webster Avatar
    ashley webster

    I would appreciate a parallel blog series: excellent nonprofit ads.

  3. Bizarre. Absolutely bizarre.
    Reminds me of my high school literature classes. The teacher kept trying to get us to see all the “symbolism” in the writing. I never could pick up on much of the deep symbolism. Besides that, by the time we were done analyzing it for several days it ruined the story for me.
    I just want to read a good story. Clear communication without cosmic symbolism.
    And this video – in my opinion – qualifies for ambiguous communication that misses the mark by a quantum margin. I’m in complete agreement with you, Jeff!

  4. Bizarre. Absolutely bizarre.
    Reminds me of my high school literature classes. The teacher kept trying to get us to see all the “symbolism” in the writing. I never could pick up on much of the deep symbolism. Besides that, by the time we were done analyzing it for several days it ruined the story for me.
    I just want to read a good story. Clear communication without cosmic symbolism.
    And this video – in my opinion – qualifies for ambiguous communication that misses the mark by a quantum margin. I’m in complete agreement with you, Jeff!

  5. Bill Shipsey Avatar
    Bill Shipsey

    At the risk of sounding defensive this video, (which was made free of charge as a gift to Art for Amnesty) by a talented team of international motion artists in Prague and Madrid) is not an ad and it is not a fundraising video. We have plenty of those. It was not ‘commissioned’ to have a fundraising purpose. It was not ‘commissioned’ at all. It was a gift.
    It is symbolic. But I don’t know if it is accurate to say that it is abstract*. The lynching depicted in the video was not abstract. The mothers of the disappeared were not abstract. Political executions were anything but abstract. Tianamen Square happened. But freedom lived and lives in the hearts and in the struggles of those who fight for it.
    This piece is for them. It is deliberately a piece of art that tries to tell a very short story about the struggles for freedom over the past 50 or so years. It is not about Amnesty’s history. It is designed to get one to remember and to think not to open your wallet. That may or may not happen after an engagement like this.
    Like all art it aims to transport you as only art can and to appeal to your emotions and not the material and rational self. Enjoy it for what it is. And don’t criticise it for what it is not and didn’t set out to be.
    And please remember that Amnesty has always valued the importance of symbolism. Our logo is symbolic. The candle wrapped in barbed wire – ‘better to light a candle than curse the darkness’. The Amnesty ‘creation story’ is about two unnamed Portuguese students allegedly arrested and imprisoned for toasting to freedom in a Lisbon bar.
    You may have a view and an opinion as to the quality of the art. And you are like anyone else entitled to that view. (Article 19 of the UDHR) I personally like it and think it is good art. It moves me.
    25 years ago Seamus Heaney wrote a poem for Amnesty to commemorate our 25th Anniversary. It was symbolic and somewhat abstract. It was not designed as a fund raising piece. It was not ‘commissioned’. But like this video it tells a story about an imagined ‘republic of conscience’ where things are done differently and better.
    If I had a dollar (or in my case a Euro), for every person who told me that they joined (and paid money to) Amnesty because of Seamus Heaney, (or U2 or Peter Gabriel or a host of other artists for that matter) I would have little need to fundraise.
    This is not a lost opportunity. This is a creative gift which in my opinion enriches our experience and ennobles our cause. And i for one am grateful for it and for the contribution of the artists who made it.
    *abstract = something apart from concrete existence.

  6. Bill Shipsey Avatar
    Bill Shipsey

    At the risk of sounding defensive this video, (which was made free of charge as a gift to Art for Amnesty) by a talented team of international motion artists in Prague and Madrid) is not an ad and it is not a fundraising video. We have plenty of those. It was not ‘commissioned’ to have a fundraising purpose. It was not ‘commissioned’ at all. It was a gift.
    It is symbolic. But I don’t know if it is accurate to say that it is abstract*. The lynching depicted in the video was not abstract. The mothers of the disappeared were not abstract. Political executions were anything but abstract. Tianamen Square happened. But freedom lived and lives in the hearts and in the struggles of those who fight for it.
    This piece is for them. It is deliberately a piece of art that tries to tell a very short story about the struggles for freedom over the past 50 or so years. It is not about Amnesty’s history. It is designed to get one to remember and to think not to open your wallet. That may or may not happen after an engagement like this.
    Like all art it aims to transport you as only art can and to appeal to your emotions and not the material and rational self. Enjoy it for what it is. And don’t criticise it for what it is not and didn’t set out to be.
    And please remember that Amnesty has always valued the importance of symbolism. Our logo is symbolic. The candle wrapped in barbed wire – ‘better to light a candle than curse the darkness’. The Amnesty ‘creation story’ is about two unnamed Portuguese students allegedly arrested and imprisoned for toasting to freedom in a Lisbon bar.
    You may have a view and an opinion as to the quality of the art. And you are like anyone else entitled to that view. (Article 19 of the UDHR) I personally like it and think it is good art. It moves me.
    25 years ago Seamus Heaney wrote a poem for Amnesty to commemorate our 25th Anniversary. It was symbolic and somewhat abstract. It was not designed as a fund raising piece. It was not ‘commissioned’. But like this video it tells a story about an imagined ‘republic of conscience’ where things are done differently and better.
    If I had a dollar (or in my case a Euro), for every person who told me that they joined (and paid money to) Amnesty because of Seamus Heaney, (or U2 or Peter Gabriel or a host of other artists for that matter) I would have little need to fundraise.
    This is not a lost opportunity. This is a creative gift which in my opinion enriches our experience and ennobles our cause. And i for one am grateful for it and for the contribution of the artists who made it.
    *abstract = something apart from concrete existence.

  7. Carlos Lascano Avatar
    Carlos Lascano

    to Jeff Brooks:
    “The women’s kerchiefs turning into birds and flying away — what’s that about?”
    I´m sorry you didn’t get the meaning. But there is a quick and easy solution for that!: Just go and try to learn just bit about the sad story of this mothers in Latin America and then we can talk.
    Regarding the rest of your (in my opinion) bad-taste innacurate and empty comment ( I won’t use the word “stupid” as you did with the spot) I have nothing else to add after reading the sharp and powerful words of the the previous comment from Bill Shimpsey.
    Have a nice day

  8. Carlos Lascano Avatar
    Carlos Lascano

    to Jeff Brooks:
    “The women’s kerchiefs turning into birds and flying away — what’s that about?”
    I´m sorry you didn’t get the meaning. But there is a quick and easy solution for that!: Just go and try to learn just bit about the sad story of this mothers in Latin America and then we can talk.
    Regarding the rest of your (in my opinion) bad-taste innacurate and empty comment ( I won’t use the word “stupid” as you did with the spot) I have nothing else to add after reading the sharp and powerful words of the the previous comment from Bill Shimpsey.
    Have a nice day

  9. I don’t understand van Gogh’s Starry Night. Why not just take a picture of the night sky and hang that on your wall? It is the gift of art Mr. Brooks, to engage the viewer in a way the average highway billboard can’t. This video engaged me emotionally, and whether through symbolism or it’s beauty, that is a gift. Beautiful work Mr. Lascano.

  10. I don’t understand van Gogh’s Starry Night. Why not just take a picture of the night sky and hang that on your wall? It is the gift of art Mr. Brooks, to engage the viewer in a way the average highway billboard can’t. This video engaged me emotionally, and whether through symbolism or it’s beauty, that is a gift. Beautiful work Mr. Lascano.

  11. Pamela Oyarzo, Chile Avatar
    Pamela Oyarzo, Chile

    Poetry is unfortunately not an issue for all men and is not intended to be in any way. When an artist creates something, with the objective it is, deserves respect, as it deserves to be on earth.
    The video is not intended recausar funds (although probably will), is a tribute and a message.
    Anyway, try to criticize poetry is simply too presumptuous …

  12. Pamela Oyarzo, Chile Avatar
    Pamela Oyarzo, Chile

    Poetry is unfortunately not an issue for all men and is not intended to be in any way. When an artist creates something, with the objective it is, deserves respect, as it deserves to be on earth.
    The video is not intended recausar funds (although probably will), is a tribute and a message.
    Anyway, try to criticize poetry is simply too presumptuous …

  13. Xander Avatar

    Dear Jeff Brooks,
    I am sorry to say that your comment on Mr Lascano’s video is rather unjustified, shallow and unfair. How could an intelligent person like you would not understand what meaning can this video provide? And could only think of is a fundrasing (money-driven) and reruitment campaign. If you prefer a video with clear message on Amnesty International:
    a)They freed people unjustly imprisoned or tortured for their beliefs.
    b)They helped pressure thuggish regimes into joining the civilized world.
    c)They helped raise the whole issue of human rights in nearly everyone’s mind.
    d)They’ve empowered millions of ordinary donors to do something meaningful about human rights.
    Then I suggest you contribute a PowerPoint Presentation with the points above, and then post on your blog to see if people would prefer Mr Lascano’s symbolic video or the straight-forward presentation.
    The video is so moving that many people actually responded and went to find out more about Amnesty International, that including myself.
    Thus, is it ‘stupid’ or ‘losing opportunity’ to make a video that potentially attracts people to know abot Amnesty International?

  14. Xander Avatar

    Dear Jeff Brooks,
    I am sorry to say that your comment on Mr Lascano’s video is rather unjustified, shallow and unfair. How could an intelligent person like you would not understand what meaning can this video provide? And could only think of is a fundrasing (money-driven) and reruitment campaign. If you prefer a video with clear message on Amnesty International:
    a)They freed people unjustly imprisoned or tortured for their beliefs.
    b)They helped pressure thuggish regimes into joining the civilized world.
    c)They helped raise the whole issue of human rights in nearly everyone’s mind.
    d)They’ve empowered millions of ordinary donors to do something meaningful about human rights.
    Then I suggest you contribute a PowerPoint Presentation with the points above, and then post on your blog to see if people would prefer Mr Lascano’s symbolic video or the straight-forward presentation.
    The video is so moving that many people actually responded and went to find out more about Amnesty International, that including myself.
    Thus, is it ‘stupid’ or ‘losing opportunity’ to make a video that potentially attracts people to know abot Amnesty International?

  15. Linda Avatar

    You don’t ‘get’ it? When I saw this video I immediately wanted to learn more and get involved. If all fund raising were done this creatively every cause would have plenty of money.
    Stupid is one of the rudest words in the English language. I am a teacher and I don’t allow my students to call something or someone stupid; especially when that person is using their own creativity to express something they believe in.
    Carlos Loscano is brilliant artist and uses his talent to make this world a better place.

  16. Linda Avatar

    You don’t ‘get’ it? When I saw this video I immediately wanted to learn more and get involved. If all fund raising were done this creatively every cause would have plenty of money.
    Stupid is one of the rudest words in the English language. I am a teacher and I don’t allow my students to call something or someone stupid; especially when that person is using their own creativity to express something they believe in.
    Carlos Loscano is brilliant artist and uses his talent to make this world a better place.

  17. V.Serrano Avatar
    V.Serrano

    A short story to bring awareness to a HUGE humanitarian cause. Hmmm…In a slightly over 2 minute viewing, not only did I see beautiful illustrations but I got the message loud and clear. It was meant to bring awarenes and the footage did just that. Maybe not in your liking and as graphic and real as you may have liked it. However, it was done by a team of people who had a vision of what THEY wanted to give to the public. If you feel that the message was not loud and clear, I suggest you take your time and your money to donate your vision and help the cause just like these talented people did. It is ok to not appreciate a piece of art as the person next to you. That is not what I feel is offensive. What is offensive is that you fail to understand the hard work and dedication of great passion someone devoted to give back to human rights. Whether it was pretty or not does NOT matter. What matters is to respect what was donated and get involved. If one person got the message and is now a supporter of Amnesty then they did their job.

  18. V.Serrano Avatar
    V.Serrano

    A short story to bring awareness to a HUGE humanitarian cause. Hmmm…In a slightly over 2 minute viewing, not only did I see beautiful illustrations but I got the message loud and clear. It was meant to bring awarenes and the footage did just that. Maybe not in your liking and as graphic and real as you may have liked it. However, it was done by a team of people who had a vision of what THEY wanted to give to the public. If you feel that the message was not loud and clear, I suggest you take your time and your money to donate your vision and help the cause just like these talented people did. It is ok to not appreciate a piece of art as the person next to you. That is not what I feel is offensive. What is offensive is that you fail to understand the hard work and dedication of great passion someone devoted to give back to human rights. Whether it was pretty or not does NOT matter. What matters is to respect what was donated and get involved. If one person got the message and is now a supporter of Amnesty then they did their job.

  19. Claudio Avatar
    Claudio

    I think sometimes people speak just to criticize, this video is art, art is culture, this video give you emotions for a very important topic …you could like it or no, no matter symbolic, ambiguos, dream or reality, …relax yourself, look to it, let it take you, and you take it easy!
    Someone created good emotions for free for a right cause …and you that criticize, yes, you …what have you done for a better world?

  20. Claudio Avatar
    Claudio

    I think sometimes people speak just to criticize, this video is art, art is culture, this video give you emotions for a very important topic …you could like it or no, no matter symbolic, ambiguos, dream or reality, …relax yourself, look to it, let it take you, and you take it easy!
    Someone created good emotions for free for a right cause …and you that criticize, yes, you …what have you done for a better world?

  21. cecilia puglesi Avatar
    cecilia puglesi

    Mr. Brooks
    You might want to check some links before any further criticism:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnation_Revolution
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madres_de_Plaza_de_Mayo
    I´m giving you these because I assume that your lack of understanding is due to a poor education in History.
    On the matter of you not appreciating the beauty that the animation with its poetry brings, well… that cannot be fixed as easily 🙂

  22. cecilia puglesi Avatar
    cecilia puglesi

    Mr. Brooks
    You might want to check some links before any further criticism:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnation_Revolution
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madres_de_Plaza_de_Mayo
    I´m giving you these because I assume that your lack of understanding is due to a poor education in History.
    On the matter of you not appreciating the beauty that the animation with its poetry brings, well… that cannot be fixed as easily 🙂

  23. i feel this video serves all the purpose of labeling the organisation . infact after seeing this video i i actually wanted to know more about amnesty . i don’t feel every fund raising videos should be made by showing sad and hurting images and videos . this was quite neat and nice . it will serve the purpose and was so creatively done

  24. i feel this video serves all the purpose of labeling the organisation . infact after seeing this video i i actually wanted to know more about amnesty . i don’t feel every fund raising videos should be made by showing sad and hurting images and videos . this was quite neat and nice . it will serve the purpose and was so creatively done

  25. m.williams Avatar
    m.williams

    When I saw this short for the first time I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I questioned why they showed such graphic and scary situations and if the public would back away from supporting something like this. There was a lot of facts to be shown and interpretations to be had. I honestly didn’t know what to think. I agree, the spot was well done. I walked away from it for awhile.
    A few hours later I realized that my day and mood had been changed because of it. I was upset. I realized the use of animation was to take the viewer out of reality, but the situations appropriately and accurately placed us back in. I had recognized every literal translation of history, and now I was looking up everything else that could have been involved. With the use of mixed media and reading the behind-the-scenes documentation, I went back and saw more than I had before. Then I went to the website. Then I re-posted the video. Then it was re-posted and re-posted etc. etc. I watched people who weren’t donators at first now joining.
    Though not immediately, this video worked for me. This video is working for a lot of people. If not towards bigger donators, than for a lot of smaller ones. The point is to interest people. I’m glad they took an alternative approach by using such creative minds–THESE people I want to get behind. THESE people create quality, meaningful work. Now that I know they themselves donated their time and money towards creating this, I support it even more. Works of quality made by selfless, talented people is what’s driving me to participate because I want to do that, too.
    I appreciate your opinion, though would like to note that from my perspective you lost any credibility and trust I give towards those trying to send a message. What I mean is, when you write an opinion about anything you have the opportunity to voice your side while still allowing the audience to participate in an open discussion, question meanings, and humble yourself in knowing that your opinion is your opinion, not a published fact as so many online journalists do.
    Although I am but one person whom you do not know who stumbled onto your post, more than likely I won’t be browsing around the site to find out more–whether or not this site is meant for someone like me doesn’t matter, because, unlike the video posted above, I feel as though I cannot participate or have my own opinion be taken with reasonable consideration, as you are, it seems (though correct me if I’m wrong, I have not looked you up or found what you personally are trying to do).
    I wish you would have taken more time and thought while writing this. You still could have said everything you did, but if you approached it in a manner that was as equally understanding you may have had more people learn something (again, opinions aren’t facts) while respecting your opinion back. It doesn’t matter what you or I or they think. No matter what it is you’re trying to say, it is always about the way you do it. Overall, you’re trying to send a message: “How to do fundraising right.” You’ve mentioned everything *you thought* they did wrong; how could they have done it “right”?

  26. m.williams Avatar
    m.williams

    When I saw this short for the first time I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I questioned why they showed such graphic and scary situations and if the public would back away from supporting something like this. There was a lot of facts to be shown and interpretations to be had. I honestly didn’t know what to think. I agree, the spot was well done. I walked away from it for awhile.
    A few hours later I realized that my day and mood had been changed because of it. I was upset. I realized the use of animation was to take the viewer out of reality, but the situations appropriately and accurately placed us back in. I had recognized every literal translation of history, and now I was looking up everything else that could have been involved. With the use of mixed media and reading the behind-the-scenes documentation, I went back and saw more than I had before. Then I went to the website. Then I re-posted the video. Then it was re-posted and re-posted etc. etc. I watched people who weren’t donators at first now joining.
    Though not immediately, this video worked for me. This video is working for a lot of people. If not towards bigger donators, than for a lot of smaller ones. The point is to interest people. I’m glad they took an alternative approach by using such creative minds–THESE people I want to get behind. THESE people create quality, meaningful work. Now that I know they themselves donated their time and money towards creating this, I support it even more. Works of quality made by selfless, talented people is what’s driving me to participate because I want to do that, too.
    I appreciate your opinion, though would like to note that from my perspective you lost any credibility and trust I give towards those trying to send a message. What I mean is, when you write an opinion about anything you have the opportunity to voice your side while still allowing the audience to participate in an open discussion, question meanings, and humble yourself in knowing that your opinion is your opinion, not a published fact as so many online journalists do.
    Although I am but one person whom you do not know who stumbled onto your post, more than likely I won’t be browsing around the site to find out more–whether or not this site is meant for someone like me doesn’t matter, because, unlike the video posted above, I feel as though I cannot participate or have my own opinion be taken with reasonable consideration, as you are, it seems (though correct me if I’m wrong, I have not looked you up or found what you personally are trying to do).
    I wish you would have taken more time and thought while writing this. You still could have said everything you did, but if you approached it in a manner that was as equally understanding you may have had more people learn something (again, opinions aren’t facts) while respecting your opinion back. It doesn’t matter what you or I or they think. No matter what it is you’re trying to say, it is always about the way you do it. Overall, you’re trying to send a message: “How to do fundraising right.” You’ve mentioned everything *you thought* they did wrong; how could they have done it “right”?

  27. Katie Aggelakou Avatar
    Katie Aggelakou

    This is a piece of work, a work of art and for all that I and many others know it serves its purpose right. It is a work of art and it makes me get off my couch and actually Do something about it.
    What troubles me is this:
    If this is a video, created for a good cause and for our benefit is artistically perfect, why on earth are you attacking it, or let me rephrase.. What is Your crime?
    Remember that syringe in the video filled with money? I must reassure you that this part of the video represents you perfectly!
    Have a good day and remember.. Never harm a person of a good will!

  28. Katie Aggelakou Avatar
    Katie Aggelakou

    This is a piece of work, a work of art and for all that I and many others know it serves its purpose right. It is a work of art and it makes me get off my couch and actually Do something about it.
    What troubles me is this:
    If this is a video, created for a good cause and for our benefit is artistically perfect, why on earth are you attacking it, or let me rephrase.. What is Your crime?
    Remember that syringe in the video filled with money? I must reassure you that this part of the video represents you perfectly!
    Have a good day and remember.. Never harm a person of a good will!

  29. I agree with your points on the AI video, but I can see why they did it this way.
    Some charities deal with such horrific work that if they showed typical, middle-class Americans how bad conditions really are, they would cause their potential donors to turn away in shock. I have followed the work of some photographers who have had to stage photos for children’s organizations in developing countries. They have to clean up the children to take their pictures or people won’t look at the photo. They can’t choose children who are “too” starved or “too” sick.
    Luis Alberto Urrea also discusses this same concept in his book By the Lake of Sleeping Children, which is about a poverty-stricken village in Mexico.
    Photojournalist Jon Hughes, head of the Journalism Program at the University of Cincinnati, has a stunning photograph that he took in connection with Amnesty International. I saw it at an exhibit to which I took two of my sons. When he saw me enter the exhibit with my sons, he met me at the door and said I might want to steer them away from that photo because of its brutal horror. His photo showed the body of a person who had been hanged and burned, simultaneously.
    So, to your point, the creatives evidently decided to carry the “theme” of blood through the color red and protected us from real torture of actual people by showing cartoony people and virtual violence. And I feel like a real wuss that we have to be protected from just seeing what real people are experiencing.
    Yeah, the birds are over the top.

  30. I agree with your points on the AI video, but I can see why they did it this way.
    Some charities deal with such horrific work that if they showed typical, middle-class Americans how bad conditions really are, they would cause their potential donors to turn away in shock. I have followed the work of some photographers who have had to stage photos for children’s organizations in developing countries. They have to clean up the children to take their pictures or people won’t look at the photo. They can’t choose children who are “too” starved or “too” sick.
    Luis Alberto Urrea also discusses this same concept in his book By the Lake of Sleeping Children, which is about a poverty-stricken village in Mexico.
    Photojournalist Jon Hughes, head of the Journalism Program at the University of Cincinnati, has a stunning photograph that he took in connection with Amnesty International. I saw it at an exhibit to which I took two of my sons. When he saw me enter the exhibit with my sons, he met me at the door and said I might want to steer them away from that photo because of its brutal horror. His photo showed the body of a person who had been hanged and burned, simultaneously.
    So, to your point, the creatives evidently decided to carry the “theme” of blood through the color red and protected us from real torture of actual people by showing cartoony people and virtual violence. And I feel like a real wuss that we have to be protected from just seeing what real people are experiencing.
    Yeah, the birds are over the top.

  31. Bill Shipsey Avatar
    Bill Shipsey

    For those who may not have ‘got’ the video first time around here is a short ‘making of’ video produced by the Director and Producer http://vimeo.com/25228588

  32. Bill Shipsey Avatar
    Bill Shipsey

    For those who may not have ‘got’ the video first time around here is a short ‘making of’ video produced by the Director and Producer http://vimeo.com/25228588

  33. Amazone Avatar

    Personally, I think this video is great for the purpose it was made.
    I have been working in an NGO for years, and as for fundraising purposes, I do not think that showing the brutal reality works. Actually, people are overwhelmed with this kind of images (at least in Europe), you can see them everyday on the news. And what is really unfortunate, is that *people get used to them* and start growing an indifference to them, forgetting that the people depicted feel, laugh, love, joke, have love stories, friends and families… This video is full of poetry, even though it depicts many hard stories that are happening all over the world. That is why videos like this one, that try to connect with the viewer in a different way, encourage empathy feelings (thank you music and video artists for that), and by thus, are very effective in my opinion.
    Also, and most importantly, after watching this video I do not get the message of giving money right away to Amnesty, I get a far better message: I want to be a part of the NGO (and I think that was the purpose of the video by the way, by saying “join us”). And this is far better, don’t you think? This implies that if I had the means, I would donate to Amnesty not because they fight injustice in the world, but because I want to be a part of the change. I think “join us” is a far better message than “Now accepting donations at…” (and as a donor I would love my logo to be on videos like this one, not on videos with people dying… that is a fact for many donors). I think this video is perfect because it matches its aim, which is to encourage people to support Amnesty being a part of it (as an Internet user, as a donor, etc). At the same time, I understand that many other NGO prefer to work with real images… but this always depend on the campaign they are working on. As an NGO, I would not celebrate my 50 years with brutal images… I think it could be insulting for the realities depicted and could give the wrong message.

  34. Amazone Avatar

    Personally, I think this video is great for the purpose it was made.
    I have been working in an NGO for years, and as for fundraising purposes, I do not think that showing the brutal reality works. Actually, people are overwhelmed with this kind of images (at least in Europe), you can see them everyday on the news. And what is really unfortunate, is that *people get used to them* and start growing an indifference to them, forgetting that the people depicted feel, laugh, love, joke, have love stories, friends and families… This video is full of poetry, even though it depicts many hard stories that are happening all over the world. That is why videos like this one, that try to connect with the viewer in a different way, encourage empathy feelings (thank you music and video artists for that), and by thus, are very effective in my opinion.
    Also, and most importantly, after watching this video I do not get the message of giving money right away to Amnesty, I get a far better message: I want to be a part of the NGO (and I think that was the purpose of the video by the way, by saying “join us”). And this is far better, don’t you think? This implies that if I had the means, I would donate to Amnesty not because they fight injustice in the world, but because I want to be a part of the change. I think “join us” is a far better message than “Now accepting donations at…” (and as a donor I would love my logo to be on videos like this one, not on videos with people dying… that is a fact for many donors). I think this video is perfect because it matches its aim, which is to encourage people to support Amnesty being a part of it (as an Internet user, as a donor, etc). At the same time, I understand that many other NGO prefer to work with real images… but this always depend on the campaign they are working on. As an NGO, I would not celebrate my 50 years with brutal images… I think it could be insulting for the realities depicted and could give the wrong message.

  35. Amazone Avatar

    What I mean:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvIdwOEzreM
    “But is anybody listening?”

  36. Amazone Avatar

    What I mean:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvIdwOEzreM
    “But is anybody listening?”

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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