Customer Engagement
Delivering Creativity and Effective Story Telling

The Story That Created a 44% Spike in School Funding

December 13, 2014

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“The best view is from our hearts.”

It’s Personal

Nine years ago, our closest friends received disheartening news – their baby daughter was born blind. When I hear my friend share the story of her daughters’ diagnosis and life thereafter, I am brought to tears every time: tears of sadness as I remember the challenges they’ve faced and tears of joy at how incredible their daughter is. It is the remarkable tale of one family’s journey through fear, sadness, hope and achievement sprinkled with inspiration for the magnificent future that is the destiny of one girl who happens to see life differently.

Here’s what my eight-year-old daughter recently wrote about her dearest friend Elie.

ELIE

Hope 

Elie attended Anchor Center for Blind Children, a school for children ages birth to 5, which embeds a foundation of skill sets these blind children utilize to thrive in a world built for sighted people. One of the most important elements to their work is support for family members, giving them hope, encouragement and the tools to help their children navigate life in a way that works for them.

“When my daughter, Elie, was 8 weeks old we were told that she was blind. We were devastated and scared. When we entered Anchor Center I never could have imagined a future so bright! Now at 9 years old, she lives life with strength, independence and joy, reflections of the foundation that was built at Anchor Center.”

-Kerry Musfeldt, Elie’s mom

Mindshare

Non-profit organizations like Anchor Center face the challenge of gaining mindshare amongst donors and potential donors who are being pulled in many directions for their hard earned dollars. How does a worthwhile organization stand out amongst so many great causes?

We all experienced the magic of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Wasn’t that truly awesome? All charities want to replicate it, but being a copycat may be a bust.

So what else can non-profits do to raise money for their valuable constituents? …Tug at donor heartstrings through creativity and compelling storytelling.

The Value of Video

Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, what do you think a video is worth? One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research.

Anchor Center for Blind Children created two video stories for their biggest annual charity event, Sunset in the Country. The event goal is clear: to raise money in support of this amazing school, which profoundly impacts the lives of those who enter its halls.

At the event, the lights go dark and guests become engrossed in this video that showcases Anchor Center and the hope provided to families of the school. For many guests, it’s their first peek at the school in action.  The video tells a beautiful story from pain to triumph. Many guests have tears in their eyes as they empathize with the parents, children and families featured in the video. The takeaway: Anchor Center provides hope.

This second video, completes the circle by featuring successful alumni of all ages, who are thriving based on the foundation they received at Anchor Center. They share their stories of achievements and personal empowerment, made possible through the foundation laid at Anchor Center. These children make a personal appeal to donors. The call to action: It’s time to open up your wallets (we all know why we’re here).

Impact

This years’ event raised over $370,000 – a 44% increase over last year due, in part, to the addition of the videos designed to bring guests closer to the realities that the wonderful families of Anchor Center experience each and every day.

Achievement of financial goals at this event is an absolute must in order to support the basic expenses to operate the school. At the end of the night, there is a sigh of relief that the goals of the evening were achieved. This particular event is pivotal to the financial support required.

Reflections

Generating a compelling story through video requires a significant investment of time, money and sheer dedication to the project. Everyone has a story, but if it’s not told well, the time, money and effort spent is a waste. Stories that are told creatively and in a compelling manner generate incredible results and are well worth the investment.

CREDITS (to name a few):  School: Anchor Center for Blind Children.  Sunset in the Country: Jim and Pam Crowe, Dinah Sink, Deb Harris, Dayle Cedars (ABC 7 News), Marlo Naumer, Maddie Stallman, Paula Landry.  Video: Postmodern Ben Seymour, Dave Momper, Eric Paton, Chuck Smith, Jason Sedmak, Mike Cramp.

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