graphic of slateboard with words lights camera action videoJeff and I talk quite a bit about using video to let your caseload donors know that their giving to your organization is making a difference.
We came across a video that is a perfect example, from the Orange County Rescue Mission in Southern California. It tells the stories of 13 people who have been helped by the Mission. We’ve included the video at the end of this post.
Here is why I think it will be worth the 12 minutes it will take you to watch it:

  1. It poignantly personalizes the problem the organization is addressing, and it believably proves that the donor’s giving is making a difference.
  2. It creatively weaves into the solution the jobs that the people secured at partner businesses. This is brilliant. It shows not only that the program actually works, but it gives visibility to the businesses that are also donors to the organization. So it serves a dual purpose: proof of performance and business donor thanks.
  3. It will give you a template to copy, even if your organization is not in the social service sector, or isn’t faith-based like this one is. The template categories are: problem definition through a personal story that is emotional and draws you in (6 minutes) followed by a solution secured section (5 minutes), again told through a personal story that is emotional and draws you in; and finally the “thank you cap” – the part (1 minute) where the donors and volunteers are thanked for what THEY have done.=

Powerful stuff.
Now this is a more “produced” video than what you may have the capability to do. That’s fine. Use your smartphone. We have seen a number of smartphone videos that are jiggly, slightly out of focus in parts and not professionally produced – but yet they’re highly effective because they capture the problem in an emotional way, show the solution in an emotional way, and then finish it off with a heartfelt thanks.
So grab your camera or your phone and go do it.

  • If you are an educational organization, capture stories of students – start with what happens when a person doesn’t have an education.
  • If you are a museum – start with the people who come to the museum, and ask them why they come and what it would mean to them if you did not exist.
  • If you are a conservation group, start with a polluted stream, or a forest cut down.

Here’s the thing. It seems easier for a social service organization to do this because it is simply “I was out of job, and now I have one.” Or, “I was on drugs, and now I am free from them.” But every cause (arts, music, education, health) is addressing a societal problem or need that your donors care about. And that is what you have to uncover and feature, in an emotional way.=
And once you have personalized the problem or societal need, you then move to show how you are addressing it; then you thank the donor and volunteer for what they have done through their giving.