Vine for Charities

Vine for Charities

A new mobile service called Vine has caught the world by storm and become wildly popular in a very short space of time. Charities in particular have been signing up in their droves to so we decided to investigate why and whether it’s worth your charity or not-for-profit using Vine as part of your marketing strategy.

What is Vine?

Vine is a free app available on iPhone (it’s not currently available for Android although they are working on this) that allows you to loop six second videos either continuously or frame by frame which are then stitched together.

Dom Hofmann, General Manager of Vine describes the service as being about abbreviation: “Posts on Vine are the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.”

Not convinced? Well this is where it gets smart. Twitter, who recently bought out Vine, allows you to embed Vines (a Vine video) into your tweets. Vine doesn’t have a play button so content is automatically streamed when scrolling through your Twitter feed. Bingo! Your audience are engaging with your videos without even having to consciously decide to. Now that’s clever.

How does vine work?

How does Vine work?

Vine has been specifically designed with simplicity in mind, therefore allowing users to concentrate on their content. To create a Vine:

  • Press the record button.

Vine record button

  • Your camera will become activated. Touching the screen will start recording and you’ll see a green bar at the top of your screen indicating the six second time frame.

Video recording mode in vine

  • To stop recording simply stop touching the screen. This allows you to prepare for your next frame. If you aren’t filming a continuous six second stream then you can continue this start/stop process until you have reached the end of the six seconds.
  • Once you have finished filming, your Vine will be previewed to you. If you are happy with it you then have the option to add a caption, hashtags, a location and share to Twitter and Facebook.

Tag vine video and post to other social media channels

How are Vine and Twitter linked?

Videos created through Vine are only accessible via the app. This means that in order to share your Vines on your blog or website, you have to share them to Twitter. Doing this creates a link and allows you to embed the Vine into a web page.

A vine video in a twitter feed

Vine embed code

Vines have a powerful effect when shared on Twitter because the platform is so well-established and already has an engaged audience. Equally, because Vines are video content they help to create better engagement. This means the two platforms work really effectively together and effectively create ‘enhanced tweets’.

What’s the point of Vine?

Vine exploded virtually overnight and soon both individuals and brands alike were busy filming and uploading to Vine but what’s the point? And more importantly is it worth your time and resource? Video is an incredibly successful form of content for engaging users as we already know, but often the creation of this content is time consuming. The main selling point of Vine however, is how quick and easy it is to create video content. Its appeal is the raw, DIY feel that allows you to creatively tell a story or share a small moment from your world that your audience wouldn’t usually see. This insight into reality allows you to showcase the true personality of your organisation. Most importantly, Vine’s key feature of automatic streaming means your audience is inadvertently digesting your content allowing you to quickly get across key messages.

How can charities use Vine effectively?

Tell a story

Six seconds might be short but if you have a clear message, creating a Vine can be a good way of communicating that to your audience. The Welsh cancer charity Tenovus demonstrated this well. They communicated the great work their four year old mobile cancer unit had achieved by simply using a map, a toy truck and a pen and paper!

Have one point and make it clear

To effectively utilise the time available in a Vine it’s crucial you have a very clear message. The Vines that have been successful or gone viral are the ones that make it very clear what point they are making. Stick to one idea and make sure it’s easy to understand. Diabetes UK did a fantastic job of this by using magnetic letters to help raise awareness of their 4Ts campaign– the four symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.

Humanise your organisation

Your audience have a personal affiliation with charities and seeing the people who do all the hard work can only add to that. You could easily use Vine to introduce your team members, show the person who is busy replying to all those Facebook messages or who came up with your latest campaign. Diabetes UK, who was one of the first charities to utilise Vine, did this really well by not only showing their team but engaging with their audience by thanking specific users for their donation.


Charities are always looking for new and innovative ways to fundraise online and get their supporters to donate. BBC Children in Need created a really simple Vine showing how easy it is to make a donation online.

You can also create a simple call to action to inform your audience what you’d like them to do. Tenovus did this by informing their supporters they needed clothing donations and asking them to donate.

Engage with your audience

Because Vines are so easy to do, why not encourage your audience to create their own Vines inspired by yours? Asthma UK blogged about their involvement with Vine and encouraged their supporters to create a Vine video detailing whatthey’d do if a cure for Asthma was found. This fitted nicely into their wider marketing strategy for their #AsthmaCure campaign.

Asthma uk vine embedded on their home page

Create content that is genuine, compelling and engaging

Like any content you produce for your charity, the focus should be on quality not quantity. Vine will only be successful if the messages you put across are genuine and you aren’t just creating Vines because it’s the new ‘on trend’ thing to do. Ensue your Vines have a point or a clear call-to-action like this one from the Dogs Trust:

Keep it simple

Successful Vines are the ones that are simple. Ask yourself what the purpose of creating the video is and what you want your audience to do with it. Is it to communicate a message? Are you asking them to donate? Make it clear what you want them to do. Marie Curie released a Vine on Valentine’s Day showing a heart being made out of daffodils. This was a great idea as it was topical but they also made it clear that the purpose of the video was to remind supporters to donate.

Embrace DIY

The whole point of Vine is that it looks rough around the edges. Sure, there are some amazing Vines created by animators and designers but don’t feel you have to compete with them. Embrace the DIY aspect of the tool and spend the majority of your time focusing on the message you want to get across rather than making those six seconds as slick as a TV ad.

Should your charity use Vine?

Vine is undoubtedly a quirky and exciting tool but ask yourself, does quirky represent what your brand is about? Rather than thinking “Argh another tool I have to use” start thinking about the different social media platforms as a range of tools you can pick and choose from. You don’t have to use them all; you can simply choose which ones are the right fit for your organisation. With Vine, ask yourself whether it will allow you to get across your key messages; will you be able to create good quality content; will it fit in with the rest of your marketing strategy; and, most importantly, do you have the time and resource to put into creating Vines? If the answer is yes – then start getting creative!

Has your charity started using Vine? Leave your links below – we’d love to see what you’ve created. What do you think about Vine? Will you be giving it a go? Do you think it’s just a fad? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comment box below.

Got a project you’d like to talk to us about? Then get in touch! Whether you are after a new website or need help with content management, we can help you figure out what it is you need and how best to build it.