The Client Perspective: Non-Profit Fundraising Content

We asked a few of our clients from different organizations for their insight on what they’ve learned working with video production vendors. For the second part of this series, we chatted with Cathy Casey, former Divisional Director of Corporate Relations & Special Events at The Salvation Army California South Division (pictured right).

Cathy Casey, Former Divisional Director of Corporate Relations & Special Events, The Salvation Army California South Division

Cathy Casey, Former Divisional Director of Corporate Relations & Special Events, The Salvation Army California South Division

What was the biggest challenge you encountered the first time your organization made a video?

I had trouble explaining why we needed to hire a professional and creative company to create video content. Initially, my colleagues did not understand the value of paying someone for their work when they had made do by relying on donated content in the past.

Working with Zemma, I was able to show show that hiring a high-quality production company to create video content has a lasting impact on current and new donors. Your organization’s supporters are used to exceptional visual content and going cheap will have the opposite effect on the organization’s message.

Honoree film featuring Lakers owner, Jeanie Buss

What value was there in contracting an outside production company?

Zemma Productions took the time to learn about The Salvation Army’s social service programs through content creation. In so doing, they created a clear scope of work/contract that forced me to think and plan carefully about the messages I wanted to convey to donors.

What was the most beneficial thing you learned when working with a production company?

The Salvation Army has many facilities, initiatives, and services that make for so many great stories! As such, we had the (good) challenge of trying to capture it all on video. Given the timeline and budgets of our projects, it is not possible to cover everything in b-roll. I’ve learned that it is important to keep a stock of vibrant still images to use to convey an event we weren’t able to film.

What advice would you give other people who will be working with a production company for the first time?

Be organized and thoughtful and spend time during pre-production communicating clearly about your desired outcome. Be as clear as possible and give examples of what you like and don’t like content-wise. Read the scope of work carefully, ask questions, and respect it. Be prompt in your feedback and be respectful and flexible with the timeline. The favor will be returned.

Anything else worth mentioning?

On set, the Zemma Productions team is calm, professional, and warm. This is important because the energy that a production company creates behind-the-scenes can effect what’s happening in front of the camera. An excellent crew will put your on-camera subjects (people who are important to your organization) at ease, resulting in a shared vision and the capture of compelling content.