Lynnea Handley

Vice President, Creative Services

About Lynnea

Capturing video has never been simpler. Everyone has a tiny camera in their pocket and can capture and preserve a fleeting moment or a quick, heartfelt message. These cell phone videos are useful for sending out spontaneous stewardship. For example, construction on a new building for your organization is rapidly progressing, so you take a quick video of the construction workers pouring cement and text it to the donor who made the lead contribution with a short note: “Here’s a brief view of today’s progress.” Consider how exciting it would be for a donor to receive that text.

If a short take like that expresses an organization’s thanks, then imagine the power that participating in a fully produced video interview would have for engaging and stewarding a donor.

Extend a gracious and thoughtful invitation

When deciding to capture a donor’s story on video, be sure to have a concrete plan in place for the video’s use prior to starting the interview process. In conveying this purpose to the donor, you are letting them know that they are important to your organization, that you value their opinion, and that they matter. Let them know their story moves you so much that you want to capture it to share with others.

Provide a white-glove experience

Go beyond merely securing a room for the interview. Think about what the composition of the shot will look like as well as how to make the donor comfortable. Is there sufficient room in the location for the interview to take place? Is the chair comfortable and of an appropriate (or adjustable) height? Be sure to have several “props” on hand to provide fill and background color. Some of your organization’s swag—such as periodicals or mugs—may be appropriate. The development professional who works most closely with the donor should be on hand to welcome and help them feel at ease.

Beyond the white-glove experience of lights, camera, action, the interviewer should ask thought-provoking questions that show they are truly listening to the donor and interested in learning about their story. The donor should leave the experience feeling a deeper connection to the organization.

Roll out the red carpet for the video preview

The donor should have the opportunity to view and approve the video segments prior to releasing them to your intended wider audience. Make this occasion special by letting them bring family or close friends to see the video(s). Invite those in your organization who worked with the donor—perhaps a clinician or academic leader—to attend as well.

Leverage the video’s usage

Invite the donor to be on hand when the video is used for its intended audience. It can be extremely gratifying for a donor to see how others are moved and impacted by their story. Seeing the video segments of their story “in action” serves to underscore how important the donor is to the organization.

When done correctly, a longer, fully produced and edited video is a powerful means for deepening a donor’s engagement with your organization.


See examples of life-changing stories, produced by our creative services team:

Oregon State University—Donor Recognition

Donor Story—The Story of Jack and Abby

Loma Linda University Health—A True Love Story

Engaged Grateful Parent Story

Put Advancement Resources’ wealth of experience to work for your organization in capturing donor-centered interviews on video. Our engaging interviewing style and distinctive storytelling can enhance the work of your current communications and donor engagement teams.

Explore Advancement Resources’ Creative Services