Like you, when we go into video production, we like things to go smoothly and to create the best possible products. Consequently we invest a lot of time in planning. This process may include all kinds of conversations with our clients, the storyboard process we wrote about last week, and a tool we’ve invented and made available for our clients and readers, the “Donor Story Tool.”

What you get from using the Donor Story Tool

In video production planning for donor stories, we make every possible effort to get the best story.  This means thinking intentionally about a general idea for the story, key messages that the donor can convey that will resonate with the audience, interview questions that will generate effective clips, and finding photos and b-roll that deepen a story.  While our internal notes and ideas may take a bit more of a free-form format than this form suggests, the categorization shown on our Donor Story Tool really gets the important things on the table for our clients’ consideration and feedback. A video production process that includes a tool like this helps us answer, before we go into a shoot, questions like: donorstoryplan4
  • What does the organization want this donor to talk about?
  • What do we hope will be the main point of this donor’s story?
  • What interview questions will align with the topic and messages we’d like to bring out?
  • What photographs would enhance the story, and what department, or person on the outside, would have that photograph? (We find photographs can require internal work, which is well worth it for their impact on the story.)
By engaging with our clients in this back and forth manner, we also bring out the information we could no have known–such as whether a question might sound insensitive based on an interviewee’s personal situation, or the fact that he prefers a nickname (such as “Bob”) to the name we have (such as “Robert”). The Donor Story Tool format makes our clients confident about our plan going into video production, and really enhances communication. A completed donor story tool might look like this: donorstoryplan1Specifications like “distillery labels father brought from Germany” and “John graduating from college in the 1960s” reminds us to request these kinds of materials from our interviewees; “ACS Conference showing institutional strength” gets the thinking going about who has these images at ACS. On a deeper level, clarifying the key messages—here, the power of honoring loved ones through donations, our client organization’s suitability to properly steward a gift, and the logic that a donation to our client doesn’t compete with donating to an alma mater—gives our clients confidence that we have a clear sense of the messages going into video production. Since shooting time is precious, it’s very valuable to prepare.

You can use the Donor Story Tool to think about video production

While it’s typically the role of a video production company like MiniMatters to put this kind of information together, like our downloadable Video Discussion Guide, which focuses on costs, the Donor Story Tool may be a useful tool for your early internal discussions about getting started with video production. Donor stories are a magnificent way to achieve results through video, as they invite potential donors to identify with a compelling story. Consider downloading our pdf before you go into your meeting to plan donor story videos. It may be fun to use it to start brainstorming ideas, and it can only enrich your organization’s video. If MiniMatters can help you with business video, fundraising video, association video, or other video production needs, we’d love to provide an estimate through our online form, talk with you at 301-339-0339, or communicate via email at [email protected]. We serve associations, foundations, nonprofits, and businesses primarily in Washington, DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia.