What is the Impact Toolkit?

Toolkit Background

For several decades, film and video have been considered a powerful medium for circulating ideas, visions and discussions that frame and challenge social, political and environmental issues. They have also been a staple tool in the rights and global development sectors.

In the past decade, increased access to cameras, production equipment and new distribution platforms has created new opportunities for engagement, advocacy and social change by enabling more people to tell and share their own stories with wider audiences.

EngageMedia, together with the Video4Change Network, saw a need to gather tips, tools, approaches and resources to guide effective use of film and video for social change in this rapidly changing environment.

We also recognised that a shared set of approaches and definitions would benefit the wider field of Video for Change practitioners, helping organisations and individuals to build stronger strategies for creating impact and to better understand if and how they were being effective.

Toolkit Focus

The Video for Change Impact Toolkit helps Video for Change practitioners design for and evaluate social impact. It is not a comprehensive Video for Change how-to guide, so you won’t learn how to shoot and edit video, and it doesn’t explore using video for fundraising or crowdsourcing efforts.

But it will help you emphasise the process as much as the product of your work, and explore a wider variety of production and distribution possibilities for creating impact. It will also explore new threats and opportunities for social movements working with the Video for Change approach.

While we touch on various forms of video, we focus primarily on the use of short form video — specifically those with low budgets. These often allow video-makers with varying levels of resources and technological capacities to gain wider access for engagement and participation among communities who also have varying technological capacities.

Please visit the resource section of the Video4Change website for other valuable resources and practical manuals on topics like editing, filming and storing data.

About the Authors

EngageMedia produced this toolkit in partnership with the Video4Change Network, a consortium of organisations using video as a tool to promote social change.

The Video4Change Network convenes Video for Change practitioners, creates and distributes training materials, and documents and shares developments in the field. You’ll find tips and tactics from Network members throughout the toolkit.

The Video for Change Impact Toolkit also builds on a collaborative action research project conducted with the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University, and MIT’s Open Documentary Lab.

Toolkit Framework

The toolkit is grounded in the principle that advancing positive social change and creating impact is the result of following a pathway, or taking a journey, and does not simply arise from creating a product or working toward one end goal.

This principle is important in causing or accelerating change that is both accepted and directed by communities, and therefore sustained over the long term. It is distinct to the Video for Change approach.

Furthermore, a Video for Change initiative is a holistic approach that considers all activities and their capacity to create impact, rather than focusing on the effect of a video product alone.

It is also essential that Video for Change initiatives don’t strive for impact at any cost, and that initiatives are measured for their unintended or negative impacts. To do this, the toolkit’s Values and Methods section takes you through the ethics involved with Video for Change.

The core pillars of this toolkit include:

Toolkit Pillars

  • Defining Impact and Video for Change — explore the different types of impact and social change that Video for Change practitioners aim for
  • Values and Methods — contemplates the ethics and processes of Video for Change
  • Research and Planning — presents the first entry point to engage the community in change efforts
  • Capacity Building — explores the set of activities aimed at increasing skills, knowledge or networks of the affected community(ies)
  • Filming and Production — outlines the process of video production and the various points that allow for creating impact
  • Outreach, Distribution and Engagement — discusses how to get videos to audiences and how to engage for impact
  • Evaluation — assesses the impact the Video for Change approach creates throughout the entire process.

For two of the core pillars —  Research and Planning and Capacity Building — the process involves three methods:

Pre-Production Methods

  • Design it — explains how to build the strategic plan for these pillars of your initiative
  • Evaluate it — sets out suggested indicators that can help evaluate the impact of your video
  • Resources — a list of online resources from leading Video for Change organisations.

For Filming and Production and Outreach, Engagement and Distribution the process involves four methods:

Production and Post-Production Methods

  • Potential impacts — explains what impacts may arise from these phases of the process
  • Strategies — explains how to create this element of your initiative
  • Evaluate it — gives indicators that will help measure your impact
  • Resources — a list of extra online resources that we find useful.

Each Evaluate It section links you to the Evaluation section. We encourage you to carry out evaluation from the beginning of the initiative and throughout the process, even though the Evaluation section is at the end and is (often) the final step you will carry out in your process.

The toolkit will help you identify the final desired impact of the initiative, as well as what you want to learn along the way. Creating checkpoints to monitor your process throughout your initiative will assist you to better understand what is and isn’t working as you go along, allowing you to respond and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Who is this toolkit for?

This toolkit has been produced for three key audiences:

  • 1Established Video for Change organisations, including Video4Change Network member organisations who already use video-making as an approach to create social change
  • 2Individual video-makers looking for resources that will help them to safely and effectively use video as a change-making approach
  • 3Non-profit organisations using or considering using Video for Change in their work.

We have designed this toolkit to be useful for both individuals and organisations that are working with modest or minimal budgets for their initiatives. We have also designed the toolkit to gather and strengthen the community of Video for Change practitioners.

The toolkit is a living document, and we will continue to add information and resources from our community members as we grow. To suggest additions or to send us comments and case studies, please contact us.