From canvas to conservation: how artists and storytelling can bring carbon projects to life

  • Anam Tariq
  • Erin Murphy
  • Sania Ashraf
December 21, 2023

Social media has immense power to engage people, raise awareness, and drive meaningful action. In our quest to educate about carbon projects – climate projects globally that capture carbon while protecting habitats and nature –  we aimed to combine the power of art and storytelling to bring these projects to life.  

The Catch Carbon Storytelling Pilots

Through the Catch Carbon Storytelling Pilots, we collaborated with two exceptional artists and content creators, Nicola Russell and Scott Sava. Their remarkable talent and captivating storytelling have garnered a devoted following composed of individuals genuinely engaged in their art and personal journeys. This deep connection makes them a messenger their audience trusts and responds to, especially to update their beliefs about protecting nature.

Together, we embarked on a creative journey to produce works of art showcasing featured carbon projects’ unique benefits. Accompanied by “making of” videos, these artworks served as persuasive calls to action, urging viewers to donate and receive a copy of the artwork as an incentive. This blog post highlights the lessons we learned from these successful pilots. We uncovered the potential of harnessing the trusted platforms of artist social media influencers, combined with the art of storytelling, as a potent tool for driving impactful change.

Nicola’s Collection



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A post shared by Rare (@rare_org)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rare (@rare_org)


Scott’s Collection and Project



Leveraging Artists’ Influence

One of the key strengths of our pilots was the artists’ substantial online reach. At the time of the pilot, Nicola Russell had garnered a following of 886K on TikTok and 250K on YouTube (her audiences have since grown). At the same time, Scott Sava has an extensive reach of 1.6M subscribers on YouTube, 845K followers on TikTok, and 136K on Instagram. By leveraging their influence, we successfully reached a broader audience beyond singular Rare’s capacity, allowing us to expand our impact and raise awareness about donating to protect habitats and nature.

Lessons Learned and Insights

Throughout the pilots, we closely monitored engagement levels and measured conversion rates to assess the effectiveness of our initiatives. Here are the valuable lessons we learned:

Focus on Educational and Emotional Storytelling

Incorporating educational information about the carbon projects in the video scripts proved impactful. Explaining concepts such as peatlands and their significance in carbon storage resonated positively with the audience. Furthermore, emotional appeals and meaningful quotes evoked a strong response from viewers, creating a deeper connection to the cause and generating positive engagement.

Consider Audience Demographics

Content creators with older audiences tend to significantly influence donations more, as they typically have greater financial capacity. While Nicola had higher video views, despite awareness reactions, her younger audience needed more means to donate. On the other hand, Scott’s relatively older audience, who were already used to buying art products on his website, exhibited more significant support through donations.

Clear Call-to-Action (CTA) Leads to More Donations

A clear and explicit call to action significantly increased donation rates. In comparison, when Scott employed language such as “support Rare” without explicitly referencing donations, the number of contributions was noticeably lower. However, in the other video, he specifically mentioned “donations on Rare’s website,” which resulted in more donations. Consequently, a direct call to action urging individuals to donate proved significantly more effective in motivating action.

Highlight Rewards for Donations

Clearly stating the rewards offered for donations, such as a print of the artwork or a coloring page, led to higher engagement and donation rates. When the reward was not explicitly mentioned, we received fewer donations compared to videos where Scott communicated the reward: “The forest nymph painting and the ink line art for those of you who like to color are available as a gift to you to download with any donation,” and by Nicolla: “only donors of $5 receive a digital copy of this painting”.

Offer Donation  Amount Options

Providing specific donation amount options, in addition to an open donation amount, resulted in higher donation amounts. During Nicola’s campaign, the donation page was pre-loaded with a $5 donation option. However, we observed higher donation amounts when Scott’s campaign offered specific donation options of $5 and $15, along with an open amount option (with a default of $25).


The Catch Carbon Storytelling Pilots demonstrated the power of leveraging artists and storytelling to raise awareness and drive donations for protecting habitats and nature. By incorporating the lessons we learned, such as clear CTAs, highlighting rewards, offering flexible donation amounts, and creating educational and emotional narratives, we aim to design future video campaigns to inspire people to use their dollars and influence to support crucial global carbon projects.