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Budgeting for Impact

Social impact campaigns can help drive audiences to narrative films (as well as documentaries, TV series and other content) by launching advocacy initiatives and calls to action based on the social issues they address. By building impact campaign costs into your budget at an early stage, you’re making a commitment to responsible outreach and engagement.

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"It’s critically important in any social impact campaign to define those initiatives, metrics and goals in partnership with the people doing the work on the ground, on the policy side, and in agencies and governments who have the power to effect change."
Bonnie Abaunza
Founder of the Abaunza Group, Social Impact Producer
Graphic saying 'The Impact Toolkit,' 'Field Guide,' 'From Art to Impact

The documentary filmmaking community has long been a leader in the field of Impact Campaigns – developing strategic communication plans to accompany a film’s release, driving awareness to the core issues of the film’s subject matter and giving audiences a call-to-action to participate in advocacy and activism. Many resources developed by documentary filmmakers can be directly applied to the work of narrative filmmakers and producers committed to inclusion and social change – we recommend The Impact Field Guide and Toolkit, which is a free and accessible online resource.

Download the Guide

As opposed to looking at Impact Campaigns as a last-minute addition, we encourage building Impact costs into your budget at an early stage to ensure you can meet your goals for creating impact.

The Impact Field Guide and Toolkit suggests creating line items for the following categories:

Campaign personnel: from strategy development and campaign oversight, including the filmmakers’ involvement, to impact assessment and reporting

Administrative expenses: from travel and shipping costs to legal and accounting support

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A full movie theater

Ancillary content: from building a website and discussion materials to creating video modules or subtitled versions of the film

Event costs: from honoraria for their participation to catering, promotion and other materials for specific events or gatherings

Covering screening licenses for certain partners including community-led initiatives and groups that will be central to the film’s impact

Our partners at the Sundance Institute, through their Sundance Co//ab Platform, host content and information to support independent creators. By registering as a platform user, you can view past webinars including “Creating Social Impact Through Storytelling.”

Join award-winning filmmakers Jeff Orlowski (CHASING CORAL, CHASING ICE) and Larissa Rhodes (CHASING CORAL) for a vibrant discussion around their newest film, THE SOCIAL DILEMMA and the impact campaign that is being rolled out to help fuel fundamental change in society. As filmmakers who aim to address social issues, Jeff and Larissa will review what impact campaigns are, how they can amplify your film’s message, when they are necessary, and how to build an impact campaign around your film.

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