Case Study: Giving Preschoolers a Boost with Zeno

HCFmedia was approached by Zeno, a non-profit organization based in Seattle, to help them create a dynamic film for their 2016 fundraiser. Zeno’s mission is to increase children’s competence and confidence in math with fun and engaging activities. Zeno has cutting edge math-education programs with numerous partners that make their learning “games” available to students with the greatest need.

This year, Zeno wanted to emphasize  their new early-learners program–made possible by last year’s donations–and to boost gifts during the fundraising event to help fund the next wave of services. We worked with the Zeno team to best highlight this program with  interviews of Zeno staff, inspiring footage of the early learners, and personal stories told by program participant families in their native language.

How we approached this:

  • We Had to Move Fast: We had a very short time to shoot this, so we had to make sure the Creative Brief was dialed in and the plan was tight. The Discovery Phase, driven by Chris Donaldson and Andrew Preston, was key – and working with Zeno we were able to land on message, make sure all participants were lined up, and that our shoot schedule was good to go.
  • We Kept it Simple:  We love doing the high concept creative work – but sometimes you just need to hear from the people involved. This time around, Director Andrew Preston wanted to hear from the educators and parents – who we knew could really communicate the passion behind the project.
  • We Knew the Ask: At most events, the purpose of the video is to create an emotional connection with the audience and then initiate a soft ask. After the video is over, let the presenters make the final push for donations and volunteer participation, which becomes demonstrably better once the audience is primed. That’s how the video was scheduled at the event.

The results?  You can’t point to the video exclusively as ‘the one thing’ which drove higher participation, but it certainly was a key part of a well executed plan by Zeno.   How about –

  • $137,000 raised last year. $200,000 raised this year. Uptick of 68%. Return on investment 10x.
  • Video assets were used not just at the event, but across all social and marketing initiatives.
  • The Zeno Response: From proposal to scripting on through shoot day and delivery – this has been the most painless, fun and fruitful video shoot we’ve ever done for our organization.

Author: Chris Donaldson

Chris Donaldson is Executive Producer at HCFmedia. Can film making change the world? The Short Answer: Yes.