The Smiley Charity Film Awards give nonprofits the opportunity to gain new supporters, get more eyes on their films, and spread awareness to a wider audience.
Entering a film is a no-brainer. But we thought we’d let last year’s winners tell you themselves what they got out of the process (aside from that glorious gala evening).
“Film can be one of the best, most powerful ways to show evidence of impact; and being able to demonstrate that evidence is more important now than ever,” said Susanna Jones, CEO of Swindon Carers. Their film, Baggage, won Gold in the £500k-5m category in 2022.
“Not only are films great for raising profile and brand awareness but also are hugely beneficial for funding applications too. They are also a fantastic way for users of services to have their voices clearly heard.”
One of the great things about the Awards is that all charities, big or small, have a fair playing field. Smaller charities with fewer funds aren’t pitted against huge charities with a big budget, and everyone gets a chance to shine and speak out about the importance of their cause.
“That was by far my favourite thing about the Smiley awards,” said Helen Jones, Creative Director at Shelter. “It gives everyone a chance no matter what their budget.”
Shelter won Gold in the £50-100 million Turnover Award for their film ‘Fight For Home’. “It was an honour for us to win, but the real stars were the smaller charities who made fantastic films on a shoestring, without the luxury of an in-house creative team or big advertising agency,” she added.
Gaining exposure for not only their films, but also their causes, is an important draw for charities. “[Entering the awards] helped us find a wider audience for our film – helping more people understand that we’re about helping young people gain skills for life,” said Chris James, Head of Brand and Ambassadors at Scouts.
“It also gave us a great excuse to share it on social media.”
Sophie Muir, a Trustee at the Timothy Syndrome Alliance, said the awards “created a whole new audience for us to connect with, one with whom we could share our story”.
The Alliance won Gold in the £0-100k turnover category for their film ‘Rare Strikes Back’. “I'd definitely encourage other charities to enter,” added Sophie. “When you have put your heart and soul into making a film that contains a message that can stir emotions and create conversations even for just one person then you have achieved a goal.”
Awareness in its simplest form – through pushing out your film, and having voters engage – really does make it worth it, adds Susanna, of Swindon Carers.