Our Media Trust Volunteer experience: Telling our charity’s story through film

Alison Hitchcock Co-Founder of the charity ‘From Me to You’ had a free film made by a Media Trust Volunteer she connected with via our online Volunteer Platform. Here she shares her experience of the process.

Charity From Me to You tackles the social isolation often experienced by cancer patients by inspiring friends, relatives and strangers to connect by sending letters. It was set up by friends Alison Hitchcock and Brian Greenley after Brian was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Alison began writing him letters to cheer him up and over the next two years, as his cancer moved from stage III to IV, the letters made a huge difference to Brian and helped him in his recovery. Brian is now cancer free and both are on a mission to get others writing letters.

Alison approached Media Trust to get some help to create a short film which demonstrated the work of ‘From Me to You’ to help grow awareness of their charity and its work. Alison said: “We needed the film to be well made and the message to be clearly communicated as we knew we wanted to show it at large events to demonstrate clearly who we are and how our organisation works. We needed to ensure creativity, and quality.”

From Me to You tackles the social isolation often experienced by cancer patients by inspiring friends, relatives and strangers to connect by sending letters.

The Media Trust Volunteer Platform

With no budget for a filmmaker, Alison posted a request for a volunteer filmmaker on Media Trust’s Volunteer Platform. The platform connects charities with media and creative industry professionals, all keen to volunteer their time and skills with a charity. All of the support charities receive is pro bono: “As a small charity with limited budget, a film would have been out of the question,” said Alison.

Through the platform, we matched Alison with Freelance Videographer Anita Ganju who wanted to volunteer with the charity after her own experience of working in a cancer hospital.

Anita met for a coffee with Brian and Alison to discuss the film and things advanced pretty quickly.

The film was completed quickly within two months from conceptualisation to delivery. The three met around six times during this process.

The final film

Alison and Brian were delighted with the final film and have used it to showcase the work of the charity to supporters and funders, as well as to recruit prospective letter-writers. It was also recently screened it at the Brighton Fringe Festival.

Alison feels the film has really helped people to understand the difference their work makes: “We use the film when we talk about the impact our donated letters have on cancer patients in hospitals.” People find it hard to imagine how it must be to receive a letter from a stranger. When we play the film, they seem to get it and suddenly a room full of people are engaged and moved.”

Since meeting Anita via Media Trust’s Volunteer Platform, Alison and Brian have gone on to receive support from two more Media Trust volunteers who have audited their social media and helped them to make changes to their website. Alison said:

We had none of these skills in house. All of the volunteer support from Media Trust has been enormously beneficial to us and helped us to grow the charity and its awareness, promote campaigns and gain further reach with new audiences.

You can find out more about accessing volunteer support for your charity here. If you are a media and creative professional, you can find out more about becoming a volunteer here.

Find out more about Media Trust Volunteering

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