What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We exceeded our goal. We had an extremely successful campaign. We raised more than $1 million from the first gala. Their video was a part of that. We raised over $600,000 from our closing party, and they were part of that.
People who saw the first video that featured one of our students still talk about her and the story that they told. Cultivate encouraged us to focus on one individual and they helped us land on a great story. It was extremely effective.
How did Cultivate perform from a project management standpoint?
They’re transparent about the process. They articulate immediately at the onset of a project what the timeline looks like, what the budget constraints are going to be, and how they’ll work within them. They’ve always met their deliverables.
On a couple of projects, we had some artistic differences on editing style at the very end. Nonprofit organizations tend to have a layer of collaborative review, which means many people give their feedback, resulting in more rounds of edits. It can be challenging for third-party vendors to go through that process. Cultivate has always taken it in great stride and communicated clearly what the impacts will be on deadlines. They’ve worked hard to make sure that we’re able to deliver what we need to deliver. I appreciate that.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I enjoy their openness to take direction and to modify designs or ideas. For the most part, they present fantastic thinking. I’m always impressed by what they present as initial concepts. When we make changes, they’re normally just tonality issues to make sure that we get our audience exactly where they need to be and meet them where they’re at.
They bring a unique perspective. They understand the mission, identity, core tonality, and sensibility of an institution quickly. That’s something you can’t get easily from a lot of vendors. In nonprofit worlds, it’s especially important when you’re working on fundraising.
When they interact with important people and deal with the sensitive matter of those personal stories, they work with our people in a way that helps me build the relationships with those individuals long after the video is completed or our work is done.
Are there any areas they could improve?
They’ve been expanding their focus to not just do video production. The direct impact is they’re professionalizing their work which involves having more people on site and on shoots, which expands their costs. Working with them to work with our budgets so that we don’t need so many people on every shoot would be helpful.