Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Story Telling Through Video

As many of you know, I love technology; but did you know I collect fundraising and stewardship videos all the time?? Well I do, now that the secret is out of the dark, I thought I would share two videos I recently received and tell you why the storytelling in each example is so effective and powerful.
The first video came to me through ESPN and also through my friend John Taylor at NC State. It is from Bowling Green State University and is absolutely cutting edge and brilliant. It takes risks, and does some very good storytelling using tactics that can be applied anywhere in any medium. Here is the link to the story and video. Now, let's examine a few of its best features:

1. It involves students- the rapper? He's one, the producers too... Brilliant!

2. It involves the donors directly- the older gentlemen in the jerseys? Yep, that's them, and I bet if you asked them they had the time of their lives!! Who needs a bronze bust when you have YouTube?? How fun! I bet there are other donors out there who would love to have this happen to them so they can tell their grandkids to "find me on YouTube".

3. The lyrics are on target and tell the story while having fun with an exciting new piece of campus! You might say, "That will never fly at my organization." Really? Have you tried taking a risk lately?? I bet not

4. Its catchy and educates all generations on philanthropy- brilliant!! - Do I sound like a Guinness commercial yet?

The next video comes to me locally from our friends building the new Chabad space serving NYU. Click here to see the brilliant storytelling.
This video tells a powerful story in a completely different manifestation than the BGSU video.

1. What it does, most brilliantly, is call the viewer to action- I want to go hop the subway downtown and sign the Bowery myself!!

2. It also involves students, those who will benefit from the gift. This is a powerful tactic that draws you even closer to the story.

3. I think far too often we all focus on the end version, the artistic rendering, or what could be, and we often forget that supporters want to be involved and see the project during its "ugly" construction phase, to see the reality in action. This video shows us the space as it undergoes transformation in real time! I often recommend to my clients that if they are building to do a time lapse video or slide show or even live web cams(if you REALLY trust your construction company folks) because the donors see the progress and can watch their gift literally come to life.

4. Finally, both videos tell their stories in a unique and refreshing manner. It makes you think, react, laugh, enjoy the time and want to share them. That is effective and brilliant!!

So what do you think of these two samples from my collection?? I always look forward to your comments. If you have a video you want to share and proudly add to my coffers, email me the link:

Don’t forget to catch me on the upcoming November 15th ADRP webinar on Acknowledgments click here for more information!



  1. I received the link from an AVP last week. While I agree with the concept, I'm not sure "rapping" would make it with all audiences/constituencies! I've recently armed myself with a Flip Cam and am getting great short, informal, impromptu student videos/messages, with great responses from the donors we send to.

  2. Lynne - thanks for sharing this! While we can't all live up to their rapping skills (or production values), the BGSU video was one of the most original acknowledgement pieces I've ever seen. I love the humor...but I also love the genuine respect that pours out toward the donors.