July 19, 2010

Fund-Raising Videos That Work: Personal Stories From Afar

For Julie Whyte, the most effective way to motivate potential donors is to put them in touch with the people who will benefit from their philanthropy.

But connecting donors with a cause isn't always easy—especially when the cause is an all-girls school in Kenya.

Video, however, can bridge the gap.

Ms. Whyte, development director at the Carr Educational Foundation, in San Rafael, Calif., recently worked with Out of the Blue Films, a nonprofit documentary maker, to create a video to raise money for Daraja Academy, a school it supports in Kenya.

The Girls of Daraja, shown above, was screened as part of a recent fund-raising event in San Francisco—an event that raised more than $50,000. Nobody had to pay to come to the screening, but many people were so moved by seeing the video they made a gift after they saw the film.

"What we have learned is that having the girls and the teachers speak—as opposed to paper marketing, dry speeches, or long auctions—really connects people to the emotion of what happens when you make a gift," Ms. Whyte says. "These girls are able to touch people's hearts very directly."

The video has also been used in meetings with people who have the potential to give large sums and has been included in grant proposals sent to foundations. It will also be shown at the "Lights. Camera. Help." film festival in Austin, Tex., later this month.

Has your organization used a video campaign to raise money and attention? If so, send me an e-mail with the embed code and some information about the results. We'll post the most interesting submissions in Prospecting.