Inspiring Geneorsity


A Thrilling Thank You Video

                                       Take a listen to this sweet video.

When I was a kid growing up near Hollywood, my dream was to be an Academy Award winning actress. Somewhere deep in my basement is a drawing I did in third grade with me standing at the Oscars thanking the Academy for my award. Did I mention? I have a fabulous gown on and my hair is piled on top of my head. Ah-ma-zing. Hey, a kid’s gotta have aspirations, am I right?
Shockingly, I’m still waiting for my Academy Award. However, if I can’t be in the movies – I’ll go for the next best thing…having my name mentioned in one.

A few weeks ago, our Open Door Youth Group (a collaboration of five United Methodist churches in our area) went to Costa Rica for their summer mission trip. In February, the youth held their major fundraiser, a dinner and auction for more than 200 people. There was a “paddle raise” where people gave a straight donation to the youth. A lot of paddles were raised.
Fast forward to the mission trip. The Youth Director, Rev. Jeff Lowrey, asked one of the parent-leaders (Mark Bateman) to video youth saying “thank you” to twenty of the top donors. Mark did just that, from his own phone, and the result was, well, thrilling. It was thrilling because it was a personal thank you video. They. Said. My. Name.
Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” Ain’t that the truth? If you want to learn how to remember those sweet, important sounds, read my post on this very topic.
But again, (did I tell you?) they said my name! In ten seconds (that’s how long the video is), they remembered me. And it made me happy. How did they make these videos?

1. Jeff sent a list of twenty “significant donor” emails to Mark.
2. After doing some initial testing, Mark discovered that, because of file size, a ten to fifteen-second video would be the easiest to upload and directly send.
3. Mark came up with a basic script – and because the video was only ten-seconds long – the youth had an easier time remembering what to say. Seven or eight kids participated.

4. The email came from Mark. The subject line read, "Open Door Youth Thank You."
5. He did each video in a single take, sent it off, and had very happy recipients.

It took Mark about a day to complete the whole project. A day well spent, in my humble opinion.

There are other ways to do this kind of thank you video. My friend, Patrick had one 29-second video sent to him from the group Students Helping Honduras. As Patrick said, They reached out on giving Tuesday for a donation and I committed [monthly] to their [organization]. In response, they sent this amazing video that featured the organization’s founder down in Honduras at the location I served to acknowledged my gift. As a donor it gave me all the feels.”
This one was uploaded on Google drive. There are other ways to upload as well – via Vimeo or YouTube. There are privacy settings so that only the donor can see or share the video.

Bottom line – it takes a little effort and planning, but the impact of a thank you video is memorable. You can bet that Patrick and I will remember these videos the next time Students Helping Honduras or the Open Door Youth Group is seeking funds.  
Perhaps you can adapt this idea for your ministry context. Have youth send a video to people during a youth group meeting. Did someone help repair something at the church? Send them a video showing the results. Is there someone who particularly loves the music program and has helped fund it? Email them a video of the choir or praise band in full swing. Get creative and have fun.
I still might be waiting for my Academy Award (heck, I’m still waiting for my Hollywood debut) but being mentioned in a thank you video will keep me tickled and satisfied for quite a while. How can you thrill your people? Get your phones out, start shooting, say “thank you,” and see what happens.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She’s working on her acceptance speech to the Academy. She’ll be sure to thank her Inspiring Generosity readers. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.