Funding a Video: Three Unexpected Approaches

by Adam Katz
Video-Funding-LAI-Video

The late-night, caffeine-fueled brainstorm. The early afternoon conference meeting, whiteboard out, team ready to discuss campaign concepting. The walk-and-talk with a colleague to mull over an innovative solution.

If there’s one thing about which all marketers can agree, it’s that the best ideas are often the product of a concerted team effort. What’s less known, though, is that once an organization develops a creative concept, it doesn’t always need to fund its execution alone. 

Like the creative process itself, securing outside funding for a video can take substantial effort. But when a group of benefactors believes in your vision and agrees to support your project, it can be well worth the work. From corporate sponsorships to local grants, here are three ways your organization can secure funding to help turn its creative vision into a reality.

Not-for-Profit Grants

There are mission-driven nonprofits (other than yours) that support the common good. When your project’s objectives align with another nonprofit’s goals, you may be eligible to receive one of its grants.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association’s I Am IH campaign demonstrates what’s possible when an association supports its members’ visions with a grant. Receiving the American Society of Association Executives Foundation’s prestigious Innovation Grant, AIHA partnered with LAI Video on its campaign to elevate the industrial hygiene profession. As a groundbreaking, award-winning initiative, the video project accomplished ASAE’s goal of supporting experimentation and enabling “proactive and creative ideas…. so that organizations can learn from each other.”

While most nonprofits that administer grants are structured as foundations, others across the 501(c) spectrum also offer them. Though less common, some large 501(c)3s offer grants as well.

Corporate Sponsorship

By sponsoring an organization’s video project, corporations can gain exposure that wasn’t possible before. Examining how your project aligns with a company’s business goals can unleash powerful funding opportunities.

Associations have a unique opportunity to obtain funding for their video projects by tapping into their corporate membership. When partnering with the Mortgage Banking Association on its CREF Careers initiative, LAI Video worked with the project’s sponsors to identify professionals for the featurette. With the purpose of serving its members’ interests, associations can reach out to crowdsource ideas and crowdfund resources to bring bold new programs to life.

For nonprofits, reviewing a company’s existing philanthropic efforts can be particularly valuable. In an age where corporate social responsibility (CSR) is critical, companies are taking steps to align their brands with consumers’ values, often by supporting local causes. In our Taking a Stand blog post, we analyze this trend, including Gillette’s promo for its The Best Men Can Be campaign, which will fund nonprofit programming that aligns with the campaign’s goals.

Government Grants

With a vested interest in supporting civic engagement, the government offers grant opportunities to help organizations launch projects that benefit the public interest. While government grant applications can be cumbersome, they can open doors to funding that may not be available elsewhere.

The Foundation Center’s GrantSpace service provides a useful overview of finding appropriate government funding and the difference between federal, state and municipal grants:

“In contrast to the overabundance of information on federal funding, availability of information on state and municipal grants varies with each locality. Check with local government officials and congressional offices directly for more information. Federal funders generally prefer projects that serve as prototypes or models for others to replicate; local government funders require strong evidence of community support for a project.”

Our partnership with the Keedysville Town Council on its 250th Anniversary Video provides a strong example of a government-funded project that serves as a prototype for others municipalities to replicate. Incorporating archival photographs throughout the video, the project fulfilled its grant’s requirement of promoting the public’s discovery and use of historical records—while also presenting a stunning visual story of the town’s past.

If you’re embarking on a similar project that could benefit from a grant, there are plenty of funding options to explore. You may find fantastic opportunities through the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, or others on Grants.gov. 

Securing outside funding for a video project is not an easy feat, as sponsors and grantees want to be sure that their money will be put to good use. But through proper research, diligence and often resourcefulness, your organization can acquire the support it needs to bring its video to fruition. When a nonprofit’s mission-driven goals, a for-profit’s objectives, or a government body’s civic interests align with a project’s goals, outstanding innovations can result.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help present a vision for your marketing plan that secures funding through the right channels.

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