May 13, 2013; Wired

Infographics have emerged as one of the latest fads to hit the Internet in recent years. Thought Café combines the popularity of these graphics with video, using animated infographics to help nonprofit organizations raise awareness. Thought Café helps nonprofits create educational videos that will inspire thoughtful conversations on Vimeo and YouTube.

The organization has helped many nonprofits draw attention to their causes through intricately designed, infographic-driven videos. For example, here is a video Thought Café designed for Looking@Democracy on approval voting:

Thought Café has dedicated all their projects to serving nonprofits, even when funds have been low. They also turned away a for-profit that “could have covered payroll for a year because it clashed with their ideology.”

The organization’s impact has already shown success; the organization’s project Reinvest in Poverty Related and Neglected Diseases was presented at the 2012 EU General Assembly and contributed to their decision to save funding for a program that was going to be cut. Co-founder Suzanna Brusikiewicz says, “Our mission is to rejuvenate the sociopolitical café culture of the early nineteenth century within today’s online world.”

Thought Café has also launched an online education project with VlogBrothers. (YouTube celebrities John and Hank Green, who send video blogs to one another on their channel, where they have over a million subscribers.) John and Hank provide a perfect mix of pop culture, comedy and geekiness to effectively engage youth while also teaching them. The new YouTube channel is called Crash Course!, and provides a series of educational videos on world history, biology, literature, and ecology, all taught by the Greens. Crash Course! could serve as another free online education resource for students in high school, college and beyond.

Here’s an example of a Crash Course lesson:

Videos that incorporate infographic designs are increasingly becoming more popular. Brusikiewicz stated, “It’s not just about a pretty visual that’s beautifully animated and blows you away; it’s about a great message or story, a great narrative voice, and overall style.”—Aine Creedon