Blueforest Gives Back 2016 Judges Meeting

BFGB2016 Judges

 

Having a strong team of judges is essential when discussing all applicants for this year’s Blueforest Gives Back Giveaway. With a blend of returning and new judges, and yummy food from Moe’s, it was time to get the ball rolling by scoping out 7 lucky finalists who met our criteria. We were very excited to see nonprofits we know and love and also organizations new to us. We did a thorough analysis of every applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. Because we looked at each applicant individually, this was a challenging process!

34 organizations sent in applications this year, which beat out our initial 25 total for last year. We fully examined each organization based on a careful list of criteria such as community presence, social engagement, and impact of the organization’s message. Some organizations are doing well on their own while others could use a helping hand. We gathered useful information about each nonprofit and their local impact.

Despite a long conversation and tough decisions, we were all on the same page about which applicants are the finalists Blueforest Studios will be working with. We’ll be scheduling meetings with the finalists over the next 4 weeks.

Blueforest Gives Back Applicant Spotlight: Exchange Family Center

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It’s that time again. It is year two of our Blueforest Gives Back Video Giveaway and we are thrilled to have so many impressive applicants. Thank you to all of the organizations who have participated in the process.

Among the contenders who stood out to us is the Exchange Family Center. Here is some more information about them:

Life as we know it can sometimes be difficult. Everyone is facing daily hardships, which unfortunately may include mistreatment of various forms. The Exchange Family Center in Durham works to prohibit such harsh realities. The Exchange Family Center’s mission is to strengthen area families and prevent child mistreatment and neglect through family support, counseling and education. Their vision is of a world where children are safe from physical and emotional harm. They strive to guide children and their caregivers through life’s not-so-great moments.

Through resources such as counseling, case management, group counseling, education and supportive services, the Exchange Family Center has made a huge difference in the lives of many children and their families. Those services are provided through three of their main programs: Early Childhood Outreach (EChO), Family Support Program (FSP), and Parenting of Adolescents (POA).

Their three main programs have created plenty of success stories for many families. Through EChO, the Exchange Family Center has helped a child in daycare curb their aggression and instead use words to express themselves and solve problems. The center’s FSP taught a mother skills to help her child stay focused in school as well complete homework. The POA program has completely turned around a teen whose life spiraled out of control after getting caught up in gang activity.

What we love about the Exchange Family Center is that they work hard to strengthen families and ensure the safety and well-being of young people. Young people are the next generation. It is vital that they are happy and protected so they can make a positive impact in the community. The center values respect, which is the glue to making relationships work harmoniously.

Check them out and learn more about their mission at: http://www.exchangefamilycenter.org/

 

Kendra Jones

 

CASA Raises 280% More Funds….

Last summer we worked with CASA on an integrated video campaign.  We created an amazing animated video that tackled a difficult subject.  Who can talk about homelessness with a smile?  Well, it turns out since CASA is actually solving homelessness in the Triangle for hundreds of individuals and families – they can certainly smile about the solution they are providing!  Their “Housing First” model has worked so well over the decades that they have seen remarkable growth in funding.  We were thrilled to be part of the process.  Learn a little about their experience in this behind the scenes video.  (Full disclosure, they were our Blueforest Gives Back winner so the $10,000 was free to them.)

We worked with Missy Hatley, Director of Development at CASA to create an entire integrated campaign that ensured the video reached their target audience.  This, of course, is the crucial part – we can make an amazing video, but without a plan to get it to the right audience it’s not going to get the desired results. Blueforest helped with the YouTube optimization and CASA did the rest.

At the end of summer 2015, Ms. Hatley reported they had raised 280% more than the previous summer.  We were thrilled with that result!!! Check out their video here.  Want to learn more? Drop us a line.

Blueforest Gives Back – 2nd Annual Triangle Nonprofit Video Giveaway 2016

BFGB 2016 Social Media Image

Capturing compelling stories through video is what we do best! We know there are many nonprofits in the Triangle that have life-changing stories. These stories explain how they were founded, the people they serve, and the lasting impact they are making in the community.

That’s just one of the reasons we love working with nonprofit organizations. Last year we launched the Blueforest Gives Back initiative to support the community by doing what we do best, creating videos! Due to our huge success collaborating with CASA Housing we are bring our giveaway back for local nonprofits who contribute services in the categories of community, environment, and economics. Our criteria won’t just be who can get the most likes, although social media will play a small part. It will be a holistic view of the agency – who has the story that will get the most traction and who can benefit most from a great video!

Interested in being a part of our giveaway? We will produce a free video ($5,000 – $10,000 value) in 2016 for one amazing local nonprofit organization. All other nonprofits are eligible for a 10% discount and all applicants will get free basic YouTube Optimization on a project purchased from Blueforest Studios by the end of 2016! We are an Integrated Video Production company after all and we want to make sure that your target audience can find your video online. Learn more HERE.

Check out our video for last year’s winner, CASA!

Public Relations Graphic

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations Graphic

The PR Puzzle

“A developing company is looking to hire a PR/advertising person,” I read yesterday in a Facebook status of Katya, my former colleague in Russia. “PR slash advertising, right,” I thought to myself. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a PR guru like James Grunig, for example, putting an equals sign between public relations and advertising… In many companies around the world, however, such association is pretty common. In Russia, the words PR, advertising, and marketing are often used interchangeably and essentially refer to one thing and one thing only: promotion of goods or services. Is that in any way different from the American culture? Let’s get brainy and try to figure it out.

Curiously, the abbreviation ‘PR’ for Russians would typically evoke a set of negative emotions. The deal here is that excessive political PR blackened the reputation of the whole PR process in the 1990s – right when it came into existence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Take PRopaganda for instance, which is the name of a large local public relations firm: Can you really expect good things from the company where PR and propaganda merge?!

PR in Russian language is also often used as a verb describing a public figure or an organization trying to boost their popularity through dubious activities. See a politician in a news report bragging about equipping local schools with newest computers? Don’t doubt for a second that the guy is ‘PRing’ himself. Such skewed understanding of PR is not unique to just Russia and is observed in other countries of the former USSR as well – in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

So what would the ‘correct’ interpretation of PR be? Most likely it would sound something like ‘communication between an organization and groups of people affected by this organization, where all parties should benefit.’ PR would imply listening for feedback and allowing for dialog between the organization and the society. Unfortunately, most organizations are far from working in line with this ‘true’ purpose of PR. Public relations practitioners usually act as marketers, trying to urge people to buy the product instead of putting efforts into upholding the company’s reputation in the society.

Blueforest Studios recently held a contest for local nonprofits in the Triangle area called Blueforest GivesBack. Factors determining proper PR, such as community presence and social engagement, served as important criteria for our judges in selecting finalists. Blueforest is going to announce who the finalists are really soon!

What do you think public relations stand for? Press releases? Corporate social responsibility? Two-way communication? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

About the author: Vlad is an intern at Blueforest Studios and a 2nd year grad student at NC State. Today he’s sharing thoughts on his field of study – PR – and how the purpose and functions of PR in his home country – Russia – differ from the U.S.

Blueforest Gives Back – Triangle Nonprofit Video Giveaway

We love a great story! And, we know that many nonprofit agencies have great stories about why they were founded, the people that they serve, and the impact that they are making in the community.

That’s just one of the reasons we love working with nonprofit organizations. In the past, we’ve received many requests from nonprofits for Triangle Nonprofit Video production services. Sometimes we can offer a discount or even do a video for free but the process has been based on timing and luck more than anything else. Now we’re creating a process by which we can award a video to one local nonprofit agency annually. Our criteria won’t just be who can get the most likes, although social media will play a small part. It will be a holistic view of the agency – who has the story that will get the most traction – who can benefit most from a great video.

This is our way of giving back to the community with what we do best, making an awesome Triangle Nonprofit Video production content.

Triangle Nonprofit Video production

Triangle Nonprofit Video production

We are holding our First Annual Blueforest Gives Back Video Giveaway! We will produce a free video ($5,000 – $10,000 value) in 2015 for one amazing local nonprofit organization. All other nonprofits are eligible for a 10% discount and all applicants will get free basic YouTube Optimization on a project purchased from Blueforest Studios by the end of 2015! We are an Integrated Video Production company after all and we want to make sure that your target audience can find your video online! Learn more HERE.

This giveaway is open to all 501(c)(3) nonprofits who serve and are located in the Triangle.

Wondering what kind of video you can win? Here’s a video that we produced for the AHA a few years ago – it’s a powerful story with a strong message.

Look for more samples at the end of the post.

Criteria:
A GREAT Cause! – We’re looking for a unique 501 (c) (3) organization.
Located in the Triangle!- This allows us to work together locally for meetings and filming, together helping our community.
Financially Sound – Looking for an agency with a solid track record.
Active Online! – The non-profit we work with needs a social media presence to kickstart the sharing of the video.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

If this sounds like you, then please apply here (by January 31, 2015)!

Once you’ve sent in your application, it’s time to show us exactly what you’re made of.
The next step is to tell us why you think your organization should win. Tell us your STORY.

Tweet with the hashtag #BlueforestGivesBack why you want a video from Blueforest Studios!  Share any of your promotions (blog, pics, projects) on your organization’s Twitter or Google+ with everything you want us to see and tag us @BlueForestVideo and #BlueforestGivesBack

Timeline:
DEADLINE for application – January 31
Top 10 selected – February 28th
Top 3 announced – March 15th
WINNER announced – March 30th
Final Video Delivered- August 1st

Here are a few more samples of video styles that we’d love to provide to the winner. This video featuring graphics, animation and kinetic type for the NC Craft Brewers Guild could definitely fit within the allotted budget.

Here’s another that we created for the Lung Cancer Initiative.

Help Wake County Children this Christmas

Blueforest Studios is partnering with the Meredith MBA Program to bring a little joy to children in Wake County this holiday season. Kathy Hughes Langfield started arranging group stocking stuffing events about 10 years ago and is very pleased to be able to continue to help the children of Wake County.

We are working with the Salvation Army to help children in our area have a Merry Christmas. The Salvation Army has been serving Wake County since 1887. With the support of individuals and organizations they are able to provide necessities and even holiday gifts to people who need a little extra help.

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The Meredith MBA Program loves to give back and will be hosting a stocking stuffing event on December 7th. Appropriate items can be dropped off a Harris Hall or at Blueforest Studios at 5809 Departure Drive, Suite 108, Raleigh, NC 27616. Items will be accepted through December 5th at noon.

We usually put the following items in the stockings:

Very Small Toys
Puzzles
Pencils
Markers
Small Notepads
Socks
Knit Hats
Crayons
Erasers
Matchbox Cars
Small Dolls
Playing Cards
Flash Cards
Toiletries

If you’d like to contribute any of the above please drop your items off at the Harris Building or at Blueforest Studios by December 5th!

Here’s to a great holiday season for all!

Want to stuff your own stockings? Reach out to the Salvation Army.

Learn more about the Meredith MBA Program.

5 Tips for Fundraising Videos

You’ve been asked to raise money at an upcoming event. Sounds simple enough, right? But, then you start to think about all of the little things you need to do to make the event a success. Things start to get a bit overwhelming. How do you thank your current donors and also make them inspired to continue to give in the future?

As an integrated video production company we’ve had great success helping nonprofits produce videos in order to raise awareness, funds, and achieve their marketing goals. The upfront investment costs are just that, an investment. When you see stats over and over again that say the human mind processes images and stories so much more effectively than text, it’s easy to understand why a video works. So here are some tips for when it’s time to prepare that video:

1. Include a relatable character – This could be a real person, an animated character, or the narrator but, it needs to be a person whom your audience can relate to. Most people will likely feel empathy for whomever you choose.

2. Emotional pull – If you are involved in a nonprofit you probably know some great stories about how your organization has helped others. These stories can really make an impact when told in an engaging way. Likely your cause does awesome things. But everybody might not know what those things are. Here’s your chance to tell them.

3. Include something positive at the end – You could be telling a story that contains a sad situation or a situation that’s uncomfortable, but there needs to be something hopeful at the end. Something that shows passion. Something that shows a difference can be made. Something to show a conflict was resolved or can/will be with help.

4. It’s not always about making $ – Even though you are hosting a fundraising event you may not want to blatantly slap the call to action everywhere. People understand you are trying to raise money. They’ve either given money or time in the past or are interested in giving in the future. This is one time the call to action can be a little bit disguised.

5. Be truthful – This should be a given, but I think it deserves to be said. Sometimes people are skeptical about where their money is going. If it’s not going directly to the cause, then you might want to mention that. Most people understand that there are administrative costs involved with any non-profit but they want as much of their funds as possible to go to the cause so just be clear about what the percentage is if that’s appropriate.

These are just a few things that will help you achieve success for your fundraising event. Have more questions? Feel free to reach out! We’re happy to assist in any way we can.

If you are curious about some of our experience with fundraising videos click here to see some we’ve produced.

Here’s one of our favorites, for the American Heart Association, that follows the 5 tips above.

Press Release: Raleigh Production Company Adopts Humanitarian Role in Community

View the official press release here.

Blueforest Studios is a company that realizes there’s more to business than making money. The Raleigh-based video production company places an emphasis on maintaining a benevolent reputation, both in and out of the workplace. Their efforts to stay involved and active in the community include volunteer work for charity, donations to non-profits, and a general practice of selfless, healthy office activities.

Blueforest’s most significant local contribution is monthly participation in Meals on 6386194_origWheels, an organization that delivers food to elderly and disabled citizens with limited mobility. Each month, two or more staff members take their turn delivering meals to residents of Wake County that are in need of this form of assistance. Employees at the company are happy to take a couple hours out of their day to give back to the community and meet fresh new faces in the process. Video Producer Vann Dwiggins expresses his high regard for Blueforest’s altruistic labors:

“It’s encouraging to be a part of a company that not only cares about it’s employees, but about the general public. I enjoy coming to work even more knowing that my role here can occasionally help others that are in need.” 

In addition to their participation in Meals on Wheels, Blueforest Studios donates half the proceeds from their monthly training seminars to select nonprofits in the area. For example, August’s event sponsored Passage Home, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding the poverty-stricken residents of Wake County. This is just one of several nonprofits Blueforest Studios engages with, including the NC Lighthouse Foundation and Cause for Paws. 

unnamedThe team is dedicated to maintaining an office environment that’s conducive to a healthy and inspired work-life. They do so in a variety of ways, such as watching motivational TED Talks at quarterly staff meetings. One such video provided five methods for living a happy life: random acts of kindness, journaling, exercise, meditation, and counting gratitudes. These five actions have been illustrated on posters that grace the walls of Blueforest’s office as encouraging reminders for the staff and visitors. Through their efforts, Blueforest Studios hopes to make even the smallest of difference in their community, as well as influence others to give back. 

About Blueforest Studios

Blueforest Studios is an integrated video production firm located in Raleigh, NC that serves the mid-atlantic region and beyond. Their work features the RED camera that will deliver 4K and UltraHD footage. They place an emphasis on storytelling to connect with their audiences through high-end animation and live-action videos. 

About Meals on Wheels

Since 1974 Meals on Wheels has been giving our community’s most vulnerable citizens their independence by serving 1,300 healthy meals a day. Their outreach to the elderly and persons with disabilities in Wake County improves nutrition, reduces isolation, and helps our friends and neighbors stay in their homes.