Your Introduction to Annual Fund Videos

Vol. 13 No. 1

development eletter Vol13 No1 videoicon

It’s another school year at your private-independent school, which means it’s time to introduce a new set of families to your annual fund campaign—to start educating them on how important their gifts are to the school at large. Many schools have adopted short, easily digestible videos as their primary explanatory platform. Posted on the school’s social media accounts and shown during parent gatherings, these videos can quickly explain both the existence and importance of community participation in the annual fund.

Not feeling especially tech-savvy or inspired for your own video? Let’s look through five annual fund videos produced by private schools of all shapes and sizes to get ideas for your school’s annual fund introduction.

Baylor School

The Baylor School was featured in our last Development e-Letter article about videos because we loved their easy-to-replicate production philosophy and their fun-loving participants. For this month, we’ll highlight them again for their entertaining-but-simple explanation of their “Annual FUN”(d) and its impact on the entire school community.

St. Stephen's Episcopal School

St. Stephen’s “Annual Giving” video illustrates—quite literally!—the advantages of investing in a professional video maker for your annual fund video. The school’s video uses engaging visuals featuring “hand-drawn” animations coupled with student pictures to explain why such an amazing school would ask for more funds from its community. It also describes in broad terms what the money goes toward (technology, off-campus learning, arts, athletics, financial aid, etc.) and the campaign’s overall goal.

Holland Hall

Holland Hall’s “Don’t Give” plays on reverse psychology, telling viewers not to give to the annual fund for a variety of reasons—all of which are common excuses for people to avoid donating to the annual fund. The whole video is sufficiently tongue-in-cheek to make the joke obvious without becoming hurtful, a very necessary balance to strike.

To us, the best thing about this video isn’t the soundtrack (there is none) or the fancy fades (there were none). No, it was the interaction between the video and the viewer as the school’s filmed teachers, students, and families urge potential donors to “just click” the link in the description box.

Here’s a classic marketing rule all advertisers follow: “Don’t make your audience think.” Keep your call to action clear, simple, and immediately actionable. Making donating as easy as a click on the same page—rather than forcing viewers to find the donation page on their own—is a smart way to capitalize on the momentum your video creates!

Montessori School of Evergreen

Montessori School of Evergreen’s annual fund campaign video from 2010 asks parents, teachers, and students common questions about the annual fund. Later, participants answer their own questions by listing the actual necessities provided by the fund (“…pays 100% of the development costs for our teachers”) rather than the hypothetical add-ons donors may initial believe (“probably class trips to fun places”).

Villa Maria Elementary

“The Villa Maria Difference” is fully demonstrated in this annual fund campaign video, featuring clips from Principal Damon Finazzo, parents, and faculty describing the school’s mission and success fulfilling that mission. Ultimately, that’s what the annual fund supports—your school’s mission and the students it impacts every day. This video lays out the end result of the annual fund campaign to justify the “ask,” rather than asking for a donation right away.


Additional ISM resources:
Private School News Vol. 9 No. 12 What 2011 Means for Marketing Your School
Monthly Update for Admission Officers Vol. 8 No. 3 How to Make Your School Newsletter Interactive

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 37 No. 4 Look Beyond Your Traditional Marketing Allies

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