Nonprofit Film School

A Success Story

Southwest Baptist University

Nonprofit Film School maximizes your time when producing videos by providing planning resources and a framework for the entire creative process.

If you’re new to producing videos, it can feel like a daunting task. "Where do I start?"

Even if you’ve been producing videos for a time — on your own or as part of a team — you can’t help but wonder, “Is there a better way to do this?”

It’s an elusive amount of time that goes into producing a video. It completely varies on the type of video you’re producing, the skill set you’re bringing to the table, the quality of production value you hope to achieve and more.

With so many variables up in the air, how can you make the most of your time?

How can you make sure that your video will achieve a certain goal?
Or speak to a particular audience?
Or tell the whole story?

That’s where Nonprofit Film School was born. Created intentionally for beginner and intermediate video skill levels, it’s a one-stop shop to learn and implement the exact same creative process we use at Reliant Studios on a daily basis.

We simplify the whole process, create order out of potential chaos and give you the tools to work your way from idea to completed video.

Meet Charlotte

Charlotte Marsch is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Southwest Baptist University, a private, Christian liberal arts university in Missouri. She is responsible for overseeing marketing projects for the whole university — including separate colleges and the Donor Relations department.

With a small team, she sought to get everyone on the same page: her marketing team, as well as the staff from each university department requesting videos from her team.

But what was missing?

A Process to Follow

When you’re new to doing video, it’s a mystery about how to get started. Not only that, but it’s difficult to create an efficient and sustainable workflow when you’re already being pulled in a dozen different directions on a daily basis. Thus, the life of nonprofits.

Charlotte said herself, “Our biggest challenge with videos has been in the planning, really coordinating our brainstorming, pre-production, production and post-production processes.”

“Our biggest challenge with videos has been in the planning, really coordinating our brainstorming, pre-production, production and post-production processes.”

Charlotte’s team received requests for videos from departments all over the University. With no process to follow, there was no method for identifying each video’s goals, clarifying the messaging strategy or collaborating with each department on creative development. 

In addition to that, there was also a gap between the assumed and realistic expectations of how long it takes to produce a well-planned video. You can imagine the scramble of a team trying to meet a deadline for a short turnaround video. Simply communicating this information to requesting parties helps alleviate some of the pressure for a video team, so everyone understands how long it will take to produce a great video.

The question lingered: ‘What is the best plan of action?”

So Charlotte enrolled her team in Nonprofit Film School.

What can you gain?

While working through Nonprofit Film School, Charlotte’s team took diligent notes. By applying the creative process and Bonus Resources (like the editable Project Overview), they successfully created a workflow that aligns her team’s efforts along with the staff of other departments.

“We pretty much follow the Nonprofit Film School steps for select videos – those that we want to be the most professional,” she said.

For these types of videos, they found simplicity in following a process, achieved clarity by implementing a messaging strategy and equipped their team to understand the whole video production process.

By putting more time and energy into planning these videos, they have avoided wasted time and effort. Everything is more streamlined, more focused and more effective.


A Simple Framework

By following a proven framework, Charlotte’s team has now implemented a new process for video production that includes more brainstorming and planning on the front end.

To communicate the process to the other departments at the University, Charlotte explained:

“We compiled a one-page summary of the video process that I have saved as a PDF. Anytime I receive a request for a video, I will send this sheet and the Project Overview sheet provided by Nonprofit Film School so that the requestor knows up-front what the process will be like...and what is expected of them.”

After receiving the Project Overview, it’s time to get creative!

By setting aside more time for creative concept development, they are no longer rushing the pre-production process. Charlotte said:

“I really liked the ideas of having a Bucket Session (initial brainstorming) and a Funnel Session (where you narrow down the ideas and develop them further into the concept). All too often, we try to force both of these (and sometimes even pre-production) into a single 1- or 2-hour meeting. When time allows, having time to allow for ideas to “marinate” after the Bucket Session is very beneficial.”


A Unified Team

“Our entire team is involved in planning.”

Charlotte’s team of eager, full-time communications staff were ready to learn. Together, they dug into Nonprofit Film School. They all want to understand what a great video requires. As a team, they develop creative treatments, seek stories and clarify the goals of each video before filming.

It’s important that the whole team understand the process, even if each person focuses on a select part or carries a particular role in the process.

“Nonprofit Film School provided us with fantastic planning resources and a nice framework for the entire creative process."

Results In Action