How to Create an Award-Winning Fundraising Video: Robbins Hebrew Academy

Chosen because Robbins Hebrew Academy won Silver in the 2018 Brilliance Awards for Fundraising Video, Outsourced. InspirED interviewed Kara Lysne-Paris, RHA Director of Marketing & Communications, to learn the strategy, process and results of this winner.

Create One Video for Multiple Uses

2018 was the first year that the InspirED Brilliance Awards opened entries to schools outside the U.S. and Robbins Hebrew Academy, a Nursery-Grade 8 Jewish day school located in Ontario, Canada garnered a Silver award in the Fundraising Video, Outsourced category. Robbins Hebrew Academy was in the midst of a website redesign and knew that video content would be an important element to engage visitors and keep them on the site. Simultaneously, the school was about to launch a $5M capital campaign, which would need a marketing piece to create an emotional connection and reach potential donors electronically. A fundraising video would serve multiple purposes and be a sound investment of the limited funds available to this small school.


Find a Champion

This was the biggest budget project the school had ever undertaken for video. Knowing the cost would be a stretch, RHA found a parent and fundraising champion who sponsored the project who saw the benefits of having a high production value video for a myriad of purposes.

Behind the scenes of the filming

Engage Partners

Head of School Claire Sumerlus engaged marketing agency Porter Hughes and gave them an overarching view of the school’s educational and religious orientation. With this high-level strategy in mind, they brought Feast Interactive, a digital agency, on board to plan scenes and locations. Porter Hughes developed a concise script from the student’s perspective, allowing for spontaneous moments that could be captured over the day and half of filming. The project was completed in two months. 

At only one minute running time, it manages to gently convey lots of information both visually and in copy. The photography is well thought out and creative.
— Brilliance Awards Judge's Comment

Make it Part of the Website Launch

When the new website goes live in Spring 2019, portions of the video will bring the homepage to life. The entire video will reside on the “Support RHA” page where the school anticipates it will deepen the school’s connection to donors interested in supporting Jewish education. They also hope the video will touch alumni who may remember the moments they see in and around the school and synagogue as part of their school experience.  

Final Words

“I was especially touched to see a note from the founding Principal of our school who wrote to our current Head of School to say ‘great job,’” says Kara. “I think the Board was proud to see the school portrayed with the artistry brought by the quality of the production.”

Kara says, in hindsight, she would have added a budget for drone footage and for a short reel appropriately timed for a homepage loop. But those are small compared to the overall project. Kara notes, “Educators, children and all of those moments that take place between them during the course of a day can be beautiful if filmed with the intent of showing learning taking place.”

Robbins Hebrew Academy’s Creative Team

Suzanne Porter, Chief Executive Officer, Porter Hughes

Dierdre Hughes, Chief Creative Officer, Porter Hughes

Rob Vena, Co-Founder, Creative Director, Feast Creative Interactive

Lucia Mariani, Co-Founder, Feast Creative Interactive

Ronnie Strasser, RHA Parent

Claire Sumerlus, Head of School

Kara Lysne-Paris, Director of Marketing & Communications

Reagan Macklin, Director of Strategic Development

Congratulations, Robbins Hebrew Academy! You are brilliant!

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