Producing Nonprofit Video: Q&A with WithinReach, Part 2

Yesterday Anna Zimmerman of WithinReach shared why they think videos have a greater impact than other communications channels. If you missed it, you really need to click over to see these videos. Today we look at addressing privacy concerns and video production costs.

Q&A with Anna Zimmerman of WithinReach

Q: How did you address privacy concerns?

A: Confidentiality and parent consent were very important for the Cute Baby Video project, especially since we were connecting with these families virtually and never meeting in person. As part of the ‘Washington Cute Baby Campaign’ we created a web page that called for submissions of photos or videos of babies milestone moments from parents around the State. This page included the official rules, which allowed us to use submitted photos and videos for the video and other promotional purposes without further permission beyond the submission. We worked with a pro bono attorney to develop official rules that were easy for parents to understand in addition to being legally sound. We also opted to use counties instead of cities for any of the babies from smaller cities, to prevent any potential ability to connect people within their city of residence.

For the testimonial video, the mother and father signed our agency consent/release form that gives a broad range of permission for using the video.  The consent/release form was developed with a pro bono attorney that is connected to one of our board members. We made sure the family understood the purpose of the video and that we may want to use it in other ways.  As we have released the video to larger audiences like posting on our YouTube page we let the family know and made sure they felt ok about that (even though legally they signed the consent form).  It’s important to make sure the client understands the goal of the video and wants to participate in achieving that goal.  For example, this family really wanted to share their story so that other families can find the help they need.  I also think they see it as a way of giving back for the help they received.

How much time and money did it take to produce each video?

The Cute Baby Video was developed through a grant with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). We worked with DOH and a local video production company to develop the concept and create the video. It took two months to run the Washington Cute Baby Campaign, and to collect the photos and videos from parents. Once we had selected the babies we wanted to appear in the video the production was quick, however the review process took longer. Our goal was to choose babies that highlighted racial diversity and the geographic variety in the State, while making an engaging and entertaining video. It was working with our partners to achieve this goal that was the most time consuming part of the process. All said, the video planning, testing, production and editing took about 6 months. We learned a ton about making a video through this process- and were able to apply that learning to subsequent projects that have been quicker and just as successful!

We were lucky to be recipients of a grant that allowed us the budget to produce multiple videos for our agency.  We interviewed several video producers in our area and the cost ranged from $7,000 – $19,000.  We choose a firm that was on the higher end of the range because our grant budget allowed for that.

In comparison, the testimonial video was produced in a much shorter time frame and much smaller budget.  We choose an independent filmmaker that we had interviewed during our initial selection process for the Cute Baby Video and their cost was significantly less.  We worked directly with the filmmaker and client and did not have to negotiate multiple partnerships and government/contract guidelines.  It is also helpful to choose a firm or filmmaker that specializes in working with non-profits.  They can be more mission driven and offer rates that are reasonable for smaller budgets.  The testimonial video was produced in about two weeks at a cost of $2,000.

Thanks again to Anna and the entire team at WithinReach for sharing their story with us! 

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