The 13th annual Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) international conference was held in Pittsburg, PA on September 23, 2016.The competition included over 150 entries that showcase the best of the best donor relations videos submitted by teams across the globe. Conference attendees had an opportunity to view the top 10 videos, selected by a panel of expert judges from across the country, and then the top 3 videos were shown to over 650 attendees for a live vote to select this year’s video of the year, “The Stewie.”
BluFish was tasked with fulfilling the criteria, which included creating a strong message to encourage or acknowledge philanthropy and to make a clear connection to Albion College’s mission. The use of donor-centered language and testimonials featured heartfelt messages from student scholarship recipients expressing their appreciation and gratitude to the many donors of Albion College.
Erica Eash, Project Manager/Account Executive, said, “Using real students and relying on candid interviews can have more challenges than using paid talent and content that has been scripted. You just never know what you’re going to get until you’re knee-deep in it. It’s a little bit of a risk, but the end result can be very rewarding when done right. We were so fortunate because Albion College provided us with students who not only had powerful stories, but were open to being transparent and talking about their experiences, many of which were deeply personal.”
Ryan Traver, owner of BluFish, believes that videos are an increasingly effective means of communicating an organization’s mission and message to donors, especially for higher ed institutions like Albion College. “By working closely with Albion College and especially our videographer, Ben Reed, we were able to produce a compelling video that engages the audience while clearly depicting the powerful impact that donors can make on the lives of scholarship recipients. Ben’s masterful touch of lighting, music and production helped us achieve excellent results.”
Upon being notified that the video had claimed “The Stewie” award, Eash noted, “After completing the project, we knew that we had something great. We’re thrilled to hear that voters were moved by the stories of these students as much as we were.”
Kimberly Frick Arndts, Albion College’s associate director of donor relations and stewardship, was at the conference to accept the award and admits she was as surprised as anyone that Albion prevailed over larger schools and organizations.
“As corny as it sounds, it really was an honor just to be nominated, since we were in the running with organizations like the University of Texas, Rutgers University, the University of Michigan and Cook Children’s Hospital in Texas,” she said. “I felt like Albion was sitting at the grown-ups table.”