Video Storytelling Contest: Tips and Resources

Video Storytelling Contest: Tips and Resources

As we head ever closer to the Oct. 27 submission deadline for the video storytelling contest – only one week away – we want to repeat our invitation to participate so that you can increase your ability to raise awareness about your organization before Valley Gives Day!

Enter your video, and get a chance to have your nonprofit be featured on one of several news shows in the region!

If you plan to submit a video, email us at as soon as possible. We need to know who is taking part for planning purposes. There are other guidelines you also need to be aware of before submitting your video; read about them in our recent Oct 9 Valley Gives blog.

How to make a great video

We want you all to succeed!  For three simple tips on improving the production end of your video, watch this three-minute clip from viz-bang! productions:

How to set up a YouTube Channel

All videos must be submitted to us via YouTube (or other video sharing site, such as Vimeo). If your organization does not currently have a YouTube channel, visit this link to learn how to create a YouTube channel so you can submit your video.

What makes for a great video story?

In her training earlier this month, Debra Askanase offered great advice on planning the storyline for your video. Here are some of her tips:

  • Simplify a complex idea.
  • Tell a story.
  • Find a relatable main character.
  • Create sympathy and empathy.
  • Present a problem and solution: make it hopeful.

Remember you can keep it simple:

  • People don’t have to speak in the video.
  • You can use still images.
  • Inspire action to give on Valley Gives Day!

Other important reminders:

  • Upload the submission form which includes the link to your video no later than Oct. 27 at 11:59 p.m. Here’s a link to the submission form:
  • Send only one video submission per division of a nonprofit. (General guideline here: If you have your own Razoo page, you can enter a video.)
  • No recycled videos; your entry must be created specifically for this contest.
  • Don’t forget the Valley gives logo and include the Twitter hashtag (#valleygives) in the video and in the TITLE!

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Valley Gives Storytelling Video Contest…Get some airtime

We Want to Help Get You Noticed

VG-2014 Impact Filmstriplogo

We know you’re looking for more ways to get exposure and raise awareness about your organization, so we have come up with a great new way to help you: We’re holding a video storytelling contest.

Almost 100 of you were at the Oct. 6th training with Debra Askanase where we previewed the contest and offered ideas for telling your stories. And now we are inviting ALL Valley Gives participants to enter.

Get some airtime

We’re looking for videos that showcase your work and inspire donors and prospects to give to your organization on Valley Gives Day. We have assembled a panel of volunteer judges– who you will meet in a later post – to help us choose the best videos.

Three of the top six videos will win the chance to appear on Channel 22’s Mass Appeal; another three from the top six will be featured on The Engine radio show with host Thom Fox.

In addition to these prizes, the top 15 video stories will be posted on the Valley Gives blog, Facebook page and Twitter accounts as well as on the Big Y and Balise Facebook pages. That means over 80,000 friends will have a chance to hear your story and learn about the good work you do. How’s that for exposure?!

What you need to know (aka ‘The Rules”)

As in all contests, there are rules. For starters, we ask that you use the Valley Gives logo and Twitter hashtag (#valleygives) in your video and in the file name/title.
Sample title of your video file: “My Organization Is Great #valleygives”

Also you must:

  • Keep your video to one minute or less in total viewing time.
  • Upload your submission to your nonprofit’s YouTube channel no later than Oct. 27 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Send only one video submission per division of a nonprofit. (General guideline here: If you have your own Razoo page, you can enter a video.)

And, sorry, no recycled videos; your entry must be created specifically for this contest.

Don’t forget the Valley gives logo and Twitter hashtag (#valleygives)!

Getting started

Let us know you want to be part of this competition by emailing us at as soon as possible. We must receive an email of your intent in advance of receiving your video. Include in your email: the name of your organization, video contact name, phone, and email.

Once we’ve heard that you want to take part, we’ll send you a link to the Valley Gives Video Storytelling Contest Google Form. When it’s time to submit, simply click on the link to the Google Form and enter the data in the form. This information must include a link to your video from your organization’s YouTube (or other video application) channel.

What the judges are looking for

We’re hoping to see some compelling storytelling among all of your fabulous causes. In addition to ensuring that you follow the rules, our judges will also be looking to see that you’ve told your story well. They’ll be looking for videos that:

  • Are interesting and convey why the nonprofit is a worthy cause.
  • Clearly speak to donors and prospective donors.
  • Include volunteerism in the story.
  • Clearly communicate how, where, and when to donate.
  • Include engaging images.
  • Pay attention to features such as lighting and audio.

Tips and resources

For three simple tips to improve your video, watch this three minute video from viz-bang! productions:

Here are three local community television studios that are here to support your video storytelling projects. They provide studio space and equipment to nonprofits for video recording and editing. For advice and use of studios when time is available, call to schedule. You can also ask for public service announcements (PSA’s) to be aired.

Greenfield Community TV
Executive Director:
(413) 774-4288

Northampton Community Television
Executive Director

Focus Springfield Community Television
Executive Director

Good luck!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with, and we wish you well in choosing your stories and telling them through video. Stay tuned for blogs on our judges and suggestions for storytelling.

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325 nonprofit organizations have registered for Valley Gives 2014.

With training well under way, there is excitement in the air at the Community Foundation of Western MA. The 325 nonprofit organizations, who have registered so far, are in for some great development advice and new tools as they head towards the best Valley Gives day ever.

Not registered yet? What are you waiting for? Go to and make the first move towards a successful campaign.


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Announcing our Early Bird Registration Winners

Congratulations to our winners of an Early Bird Registration prize of $500! NESEA- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, Cancer Connection, Inc. and Lupa Zoo!!!

Looking forward to seeing them – and all of you at the ValleyGives trainings that start on the 8th!

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Last chance to be in the running for winning 1 of 3, $500 early-bird registration prizes.

Register your nonprofit by September 1st, 11:59 PM and be eligible for 1 of 3 $500 awards to be drawn on Sept 2nd. Don’t miss out! Be one of the 1st prize winners of Valley Gives 2014.


Get your invitation to participate in our terrific free training sessions. The first one starts on September 8th. Once you register you will receive and invitation to sign-up.

Join us for one of the most generous days of the year VALLEY GIVES DAY, December 10, 2014!


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220 and counting! Register today!

We want you back!

Just 7 weeks of Valley Gives registration under our belt and we have 220 organizations registered! What are you waiting for?

Registration is open until November 14th, but training will start September 8th. The sooner you register the sooner we can invite you to join us for free training in:

Social Media
Valley Gives Day’s new features at our Open House Training Days

Nonprofits that register by September 1, 2014 will be eligible to win one of three randomly selected $500 awards donated by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

You can look here for help on registering: Registration FAQ’s

The Razoo team is waiting to provide guidance too:

In July we visited the Razoo Customer Service Center in Washington, DC and worked out every kink so you can have an easy registration experience. These friendly faces are here to help.


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17 JULY 2014
Michael Kusek at communication angle

On July 18th, the wildly-successful fundraising event opens registration to nonprofits in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties. Event set for December 10, 2014.

WHO: Valley Gives is organized and hosted by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Joining this effort as partners are eight of the leading funding organizations in western Massachusetts, including:
Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts
Jewish Endowment Foundation
Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts
United Way of Hampshire County
United Way of Franklin County
United Way of Pioneer Valley
Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation
The Beveridge Family Foundation

WHAT:  Valley Gives is a 24 hour e-philanthropy event scheduled for Wednesday, December 10, 2014 to encourage supporters of nonprofits based in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties to log on and contribute via – a centralized web-enabled and mobile giving platform.

WHEN: All day, on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WHY: In the last two years Valley Gives Gives has raised over $3M from more than 15,000 donors. A comprehensive infographic that includes county-by-county statistics as well as demographics of donors is available at the Valley Gives blog.

“This year’s goal is to encourage as many people as possible to donate to their favorite group or groups. Our survey last year indicated that an overwhelming 99% of participants that completed our survey want to donate again this year,” said said Kristin Leutz, Vice President of Philanthropic Services for the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.”Could we get to 20,000 participants this year? We think this is a realistic and exciting goal.”

Nonprofits that participate this year will find some changes with the way the event is organized. Based on suggestions of past participants, nonprofits will find: a more flexible sign-up period with easier registration, a new prize pool structure making it easier for nonprofits of all sizes to win and even more training opportunities that will be provided on an expanded schedule both in-person and online.

Nonprofit organizations that serve Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties have until Friday, November 14th to register to participate. Interested nonprofits may register at Nonprofits that register by September 1, 2014 will be eligible to win one of three randomly selected $500 awards donated by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

When donors visit the Valley Gives website on December 10, 2014 between 12 AM and 11:59 PM, they will be able to make gifts to their favorite nonprofits. Thanks to generous sponsors and donors to Valley Gives, $225,000 in unrestricted cash prizes and exciting bonus matches will be given out to nonprofits that inspire the most donors. There will also be bonus matches for first time donors, nonprofits that meet challenges to their donors as well as many more new opportunities to win.

Valley Gives is powered by Razoo, the crowdfunding platform for causes. To date, Razoo has helped Massachusetts-based organizations raise more than $52 million through secure, easy-to-use, online fundraisers.

Gifts can be made on 12.10.14 at You can follow Valley Gives in real time on Facebook at, on Twitter @ValleyGives and on Instagram at ValleyGives.

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Valley Gives 2013: A Look Back

Last week we posted a great infographic highlighting some accomplishments as well as facts and figures about last year’s Valley Gives.  This week we’re posting an expanded look at some of the information – in written form.

Give it a good look to see where your organization fits in! You can download it at this link right here: Valley Gives 2013: A Look Back

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Valley Gives 2013 At-a-Glance

Valley Gives Day- A Look Back-1

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Information on 2014 registration coming soon.

We are NOT yet registering Nonprofits for 2014 Valley Gives, but we are gearing up for this year’s Giving Day and will be posting when registration is open on our Valley Gives blog , Facebook page and our Twitter account (@ValleyGives). The most effective way for you to be informed as to when we are ready for Nonprofits to register is to subscribe, like and follow us on these social media networks. Keep your eyes open in July for the opening of registration dates. When registration is open our giving day website ( will be updated and registration will be well laid out and easy to follow. 

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