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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Freedom Is Just the First Step

Finalist in Documentary


The objective of the video "Freedom Is Just the First Step" was to inspire one-time Innocence Project donors to be monthly donors or give again, and for others to become first-time donors and engage with the Innocence Project's policy efforts. The Innocence Project is known for using DNA to free innocent people, but its work to pass reforms to prevent future wrongful convictions is often overlooked. This project centered on Innocence Project client and exoneree Huwe Burton to showcase the organization's achievements in 2023. Huwe was exonerated in 2019 after 30 years of wrongful conviction and has dedicated his time to passing meaningful reforms in partnership with the Innocence Project. 


Strategy and Execution

The strategy was to illustrate the full breadth of the Innocence Project's impact in 2023 by focusing on one leader, Huwe Burton, who has experienced wrongful conviction and worked to pass meaningful policy reforms to prevent others from facing the same injustice. The video was crafted to be concise, with the intention of targeting new donors, motivating current supporters, and inspiring new advocates to join the organization's efforts. We also cut the video for Instagram Reels to promote donations and merchandise sales. The video was largely used to generate strong revenue results for Giving Tuesday and end-of-year fundraising. 



Huwe's video helped increase Giving Tuesday and end-of-year campaigns by 15% from the previous year, totalling in $1.6M in donations. 

It received more than 151,000 views across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, and is now used for Innocence Project speaking engagements, education, and brand awareness. 


Video for Freedom Is Just the First Step

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Innocence Project


Entry Credits