PANS PAN­DAS UK: Helen and Jes­si­ca’ fundrais­ing event film

Exhibited by
Emma Bracegirdle
June 14, 2023
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Event attendees
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

In this case study, charity PANS PANDAS UK takes you on a journey from securing their charity partnership, to creating a storytelling film, and then using it to fundraise successfully at an awards event.  

If you’re a small to medium-sized organisation looking to boost your events fundraising through film, look no further. Read on and you’ll certainly find inspiration in their fundraising film-making process – and their target smashing results too! 

Creator / originator

PANS PANDAS UK and Emma Bracegirdle. 

Emma is founder of The Saltways, a film and animation agency, but also works one day a week as a freelance fundraiser for PANS PANDAS UK. There are only four staff members at the charity, and they are all part-time, so Emma worked alongside the charity’s founder to pull this fundraising film together.


PANS PANDAS UK is the only UK charity supporting children and families living with the neuropsychiatric conditions PANS (Paediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) and PANDAS (Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections).

We provide information and community support to children and families – while also raising awareness of symptoms and treatment options. The charity offers training so that families and children living with these conditions can receive the support they desperately need. 

Summary / objectives

In 2022, PANS PANDAS UK was selected as the nominated charity for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce – a position we would hold for two years.  

Therefore, in both 2022 and 2023 we were invited to attend an awards event held by the Chambers of Commerce, where the other guests were both local businesses and potential donors.

But in the second year of the partnership (2023) we wanted to do even more to help the event attendees understand the children and families who rely on our services – while also still fundraising for the funds we need to support them.

Of course, the best people to explain about PANS and PANDAS, were our beneficiaries themselves. So, we decided to produce a fundraising film that could be played at the event, bringing to life the messages about what PANS and PANDAS is and how it affects families. Through storytelling, we knew we could clearly articulate life with PANS and PANDAS, the struggle to get a diagnosis, and what support from our charity means to each person we help. 

Special characteristics

The first step in creating our fundraising film was to identify a family to tell their story. We spoke to a few people and decided that Helen and her daughter Jessica would be a great fit. 

Helen came across as very passionate and eager to share her experience caring for someone with the condition. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jessica originally wasn’t too sure if she wanted to be featured in the film – but once we were there shooting footage with Helen, Jessica changed her mind and helped tell her story too.

On the day of filming, we visited Helen and Jessica at home. We had one producer and one videographer, both of whom have lots of experience in the sector. They were fully briefed, and Helen knew exactly who would be coming on the day. We also gave her the opportunity to chat with the team before the shoot. 

We filmed with Helen and Jessica for around three hours. It was important to get more footage than what might be needed, so that we could make sure that Helen was completely comfortable and had the opportunity to tell her full story without feeling rushed in any way. We also ensured we had lots of natural b-roll (footage that isn’t the main action) in a  documentary style – which meant asking Helen and Jessica to simply be themselves, as they would in their normal everyday life.

You can view the short, two and half minute fundraising film here:

As you can see from the film, we worked hard to steer clear of medical language or jargon while telling Helen and Jessica’s story. We knew most of the audience would be completely unaware of what it’s like to live with PANS or PANDAS. So, we focused on explaining the impact that these conditions have on the children and families we help – in a way that was really relatable to the viewer. 

Helen and Jessica’s first-hand account of their experience showed that a child truly can change overnight, developing symptoms that lead to a minefield of questions, concerns and, eventually, a life-changing diagnosis.

Other relevant information

Now that our film was fully edited and ready to go, we set a fundraising goal for the event. We wanted to raise more than we did at our first event with the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce in 2022 – which was £8,523 (including Gift Aid).

So, we set ourselves a goal of £10,000 for the 2023 event. 

On the day, our film was shown during the President’s speech – just before the awards were announced on a big screen. The timing meant we had a very captive audience! 

Helen also attended the event and kindly walked around with our charity founder after the film was shown. They chatted to guests and were able to encourage people to buy raffle tickets and donate via a QR (quick response) code or contactless machine.

Materials on each table also had the QR code, a quote from the film and a picture of Helen and Jessica as well. We also had a picture of them and a QR code on cash donation envelopes that had a space on the back to collect Gift Aid information. We were able to track donations on the night from cash given, contactless machines, the raffle and then by looking at the data of donations given online during that time period.

We also invited our PANS PANDAS UK ambassador, actress Jo Joyner, to the event. 


At the awards, were thrilled to see around 1,200 people in attendance. Our film helped us raise £15,816 at the event (including Gift Aid) – almost double what we raised the previous year. Plus, we generated a further £1,000 from an email appeal that also featured the video, and the film also opened up a discussion with a potential major donor. 

The film cost just £1,800 to produce, meaning it was a worthwhile and profitable way to engage donors at the awards. 

Influence / impact

The use of this film didn’t end when the event was over. We have been able to feature this film elsewhere on our social media (leading to even more donations) and it has now been viewed over 10,000 times – meaning it has also been a great awareness raising tool for PANS PANDAS UK.


We followed up donations from the event with a personalised thank you email. Once again, Helen was happy to help, and she went the extra mile for us, commenting on social media posts thanking people for their donations too. 

After the event, Helen told us that so many attendees were approaching her to talk – actually coming to find her in the hall – because they were so moved by the film. This showed the impact of what she and Jessica had shared. Their story had touched so many people in the room!

Final notes

PANS PANDAS are thrilled with our results, as using this fundraising film has certainly boosted income – more than doubling the funds raised from our previous event. But we are always looking for how we could improve in the future. 

Next time, we hope to follow up with donors, giving an update on the person/family featured in the storytelling film. This will help us to bring the donor along for the journey and let them know even more about the impact they have had through their kind gift.

Also, with the benefit of hindsight we know it would have been great to have Helen introduce the film at the awards event, and potentially do an informal question and answer session with the audience. We also could have done more at capturing the details of some of the people Helen, and the PANS PANDAS UK team spoke to at the event, so we could contact them at a later date.

IMAGES: © PANS PANDAS UK, The Saltways, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Jas Sansi Photography.

PANS PANDAS UK is a small charity supporting children and families living with the neuropsychiatric conditions PANS and PANDAS.
Jessica (left) and Helen (right) have been supported by PANS PANDAS UK and were pleased to share their story for a recent fundraising film.
Via this film, Helen and Jessica helped event attendees understand what it’s like to be diagnosed, and live with, PANS and PANDAS.
The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) Awards is a black-tie event with up to 1,200 attendees each year. ©: GBCC
Helen (left) attended the event alongside PANS PANDAS UK co-founder, Vicky Burford (middle) and Deb Leary (right) from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. © Jas Sansi Photography
Vicky Burford (right) and Deb Leary (middle) were also joined at the awards event by actress and PANS PANDAS UK ambassador, Jo Joyner (left). © Jas Sansi Photography