What is a participatory video proposal?

24/09/2021

Here at Make It Grow, we talk a lot about participatory video proposals, but what actually are they? 

Credit: Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash
Credit: Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash

A video proposal communicates a project idea in audio-visual format, setting out details such as the project context, vision, objectives, action plan and outcome so that potential supporters can make a decision about whether or not to sponsor or fund it.

As with written proposals, a Video Proposal should put forward a clear project idea to convince an audience of the potential of the project to generate positive outcomes for a community.

The participatory element means community groups actively co-create their own video, which consequently focusses on locally defined issues and ideas.

The Make it Grow project facilitates such participatory community video-making, aiming to promote social inclusion and collaboration in the planning and proposal-making process. We focus on smartphone video-making, making the process possible for any community group that has access to a smartphone and the internet.

The participatory process will (hopefully) result in a proposal that has everyone on board, has more chance of success, and should foster socially-just outcomes which benefit the wider community. 

How do you make one?

Planning a participatory video proposal takes several hours of group conversation and preparation. It is important to involve all the members of the project group in the process.

First, using the Guidance Material created by Make it Grow, a group can work through a variety of different ideas together before deciding on the project idea they would like to pitch in their video.

Once everyone is clear about the "why, what and how" of the proposed project, they collaborate and draft a script for their video proposal either on paper or using the voice recorder on a smartphone.

Community groups then co-create a storyboard before filming, to think through and plan what to both show and tell the audience about their community, their situation and their project idea.

Videos are best when a variety of different shot types are used. Supported by learning tools created by the Make it Grow team, community groups think through how the shot-types can be used to enhance the communication of their proposal.

Our Make it Grow workshops and help sheets for smartphone video-making support community video-makers to think about lighting, sound and basic video editing, before they get started with making a video proposal.

We have devised a simple, 6-part format for Video Proposals, described below. To keep the videos short and engaging, - each section should be no more than 20-30 seconds in length.

In sum, the final video proposal will be made up of these 6 sections and will be 2-3 minutes in total.

A great community video proposal is engaging, clear and communicative, and it should make the most of the audio-visual medium of video to give the viewers a strong sense of the community, the place, and the hopes and dreams of the video makers.

Participatory video proposals are part of a wider social and digital period of innovation, with the potential to enhancing and diversify access to start-up funding for community groups worldwide. In light of this, now is an apt time for donor agencies and Community Based organisations (CBOs) to adapt their grant giving processes and start to accept video proposals in place of their written counterparts.

Make It Grow is a knowledge-exchange project for the Institute for Sustainable Food and SIID, University of Sheffield, supported by the UKRI's Economic and Social Research Council.

Please contact us or take a look at our website for further information or enquiries.