Telling the Stories of Community Foundations Through Video

I dare you to watch the video below and not smile.

It’s ok – I’ll wait the three and a half minutes it will take you to watch it. Just click “play” and I’ll pick up this post when you’re done.

So, was I right?

Not only did you smile, but I bet this wonderful kid – known online as Kid President – also gave you something to think about.

That’s what online video can do. An effective video can provoke strong emotion. It can make you think. It can compel you to take action.

And as community foundations celebrate their 100th anniversary this year, we want to provide an incentive to help these vital organizations tell their own powerful stories through video.

Thanks to the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Council is encouraging community foundations to create 100-second videos that show how they are addressing critical local and regional issues.

We’re doing this because we believe that the centennial offers an unprecedented opportunity for community foundations to showcase their work – and to inspire action.

To help encourage community foundations to take advantage of this opportunity, we’re hosting a contest that will provide cash awards to the three organizations that produce the best videos. The first-place winner will receive a $15,000 grant. The second- and third-place winners will get grants of $7,500 and $2,500 respectively.

But this is about more than money.

This is about helping provide community foundations with the tools they need to tell their stories effectively. To that end, we’ve worked with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Poynter Institute to offer a training webinar and other resources to help community foundations learn to create high-impact videos with minimal financial and organizational cost.

If you don’t think that’s possible, consider that Kid President video for a moment. It’s an incredibly effective and thoughtful video, but it doesn’t rely on expensive gimmicks or tricks. It’s simply a kid standing in front of a chalkboard. Granted, he’s an insanely cute kid – but the video works because it is simple and creative.

I’m excited to see what community foundations from around the world are able to create through this contest.  We’ll be sharing examples on this blog between now and September 12, the contest deadline.

Here’s where you can learn more about the contest, how to submit a video, and how to access the excellent webinar on how to produce effective videos on a small budget. 

And, as Kid President says, “You can do it.”

Peter Panepento is Senior Vice President of Knowledge and Community at the Council on Foundations.

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