Winnakee Land Trust video production

Client: Winnakee Land Trust

Type: Storytelling, Video Production

Location: Hudson Valley, NY

Helping the forest for the trees
Winnakee Land Trust

Lockdown changed how nonprofits communicate. I’m not speaking solely about a transition to virtual, but rather the realization that to hold someone’s attention, you need to engage and entertain.

Those of us who have been to nonprofit annual fundraisers, and I’ve been to a lot of them, know that quite often, engaging and entertaining fall a distant fourth after listing each and every sponsor, thanking government officials, and reminding you there are but 40 minutes left to bid on the silent auction, during which we will continue listing our sponsors. I hope, at least, that the food is good, because if you’re like me, you’re scrolling through your phone.

That phone scrolling part? That’s important. We’ve become an impatient species with a short attention span. If you don’t capture my interest, I start scrolling. And in the world of lockdown, where annual fundraisers go virtual, scrolling is easy.

Nonprofits need to remember that people became involved with them because their mission means something. The Winnakee Land Trust, to take one of our nonprofit clients as an example, has a startlingly strong mission to repopulate landscapes in the Hudson Valley with native species while educating the public and providing access to the properties they rehabilitate. The people involved with Winnakee genuinely care about this. All we had to do was hike a bunch of gear into the woods and through the swamps to show them Winnakee at work. Make it educational. Make it fun. Make it silly sometimes just to surprise people. It was like we’d gone foraging. They ate it up. And the two virtual galas we directed and produced in 2020 and 2021 made the same margins as their live events in previous years (but cost less).

I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson to be taken from this and applied in the real world. But you’d better hurry, you have just 35 minutes left to bid.