Powerful Thank You with Video


  • Showed the impact of philanthropic contributions in real, personalized context
  • Showcased Severn School’s campus, students, teachers and programs
  • Strengthened the school’s brand identity by creating an emotional connection to the Severn community

One Thank You, Many Purposes

The Severn School development office contacted me to create a thank you video for one of the school’s major donors to be shown during their annual “Leadership Circle Appreciation” event. The donor, his family, and other members at the one million plus level of philanthropy would be in attendance. This particular donor had contributed funds and counsel for several school initiatives over the past ten years, most recently the school’s technology and innovation center.

The goals of this video were:

  • to say thank you to the family for their continued support over the years focusing not only on monetary gifts but gifts of time and counsel
  • to showcase Severn’s campus, programs, students and faculty in action
  • to show the deep impact this type of philanthropy can have on a school and inspire other donors to follow suit

The storyline, background photos, and video were masterfully assembled. Thank you for showing Severn’s special campus, school, faculty and student body. Everyone enjoys the ability to look back and see what they have been a part of and who else was participating in the venture — to see themselves in the dream of what they hoped to achieve. Your photos and videos make this all possible.

— Severn School Leadership Circle Donor

Timeline, Tools, and Workflow

Like many projects in school communications, the turnaround time was fairly quick. I was given a month to shoot and edit the video, during one of the busiest times of the school year for marketing and communications. I worked with the development office to create a rough script for the video, scheduled the interviews and began reviewing my library of footage to assess what I could re-use and what needed to be shot fresh.

I recorded the interviews using a Nikon D700 DSLR camera, Audio Technica smartphone lav mic, and two small LED light panels. I staged the interviews both indoors and outdoors to show as many different locations on campus as possible. For b-roll, I used a combination of footage I had shot from events in the Innovation Center throughout the previous year along with new footage captured specifically to support the message of the video.