How to do a great video interview

Video interviews are a great way to get the google juices flowing and share a wealth of information.  Sadly for me, I loath myself on video.  However, it presents a great training opportunity.

See how many next times there are in this video and then scroll down to see if you got them all.

Lessons Learned

The did wells:

  • Good background–Charity Channel did a great job setting up a clean, clutter free background
  • Sound quality–Make sure you can hear the people speaking.  This was great considering the room was an area in a conference hall.
  • Interviewer–Make sure he/she knows what to ask.  Rod, the interview, was amazing.  Great voice, strong knowledge, prepared with good questions.
  • Have fun–When you are smiling and laughing your audience is more likely to feel good about what you are sharing.

The next times:

  • Get software you can easily edit–for example, when I said .org instead of .com that should have been edited.  No reason I should look so dumb.  🙂
  • Length–keep your videos short, ie edit them.   No one wants to watch anyone for 10 minutes on YouTube. 
  • No no, Um–Um, we all know not to use um.
  • Prepare— I had no idea what I was going to say.   Funny how we all have tons to say until we have a camera in our face.
  • Be still–I am always on overdrive, if you are high energy be careful not to move around.
  • Look at the camera–I know it feels strange not to look at the person doing the interview, but remember it is not about him/her.  It is for the people on the other side of the camera.

Take-away: Videos are a great social sharing tool for nonprofits and business.  Be sure to follow the tips above and you are sure to love the end result.

Donor Experience Strategy Session Tool

Why not try this innovation tool and conduct a donor experience strategy session?

Paul Williams, author of the Idea Sandbox Blog, has created a simple tool that helps to bring some structure to the planning of brainstorming sessions. He calls it a Brainstorming Brief.

This simple but effective tool appears to be designed with the session facilitator in mind. The idea is to get clear on what you hope to accomplish, invite the right cross-section of well-prepared participants, and be aware of the “frame” within which you need to work, which should lead to better results. I downloaded the brief and edited it to facilitate a customer experience brain storming session. All nonprofit organizations benefit from improved donor experience, but relatively few actually conduct meetings dedicated to that improvement.   Below you will see the template and an example.

Take-away: Use this tool to conduct your own customer experience strategy session.

Donor Experience Brainstorm Brief


Meeting Date:

Brief Date:

Objective / Desired Outcome:

Opportunity / Challenge:


Who Should Be Included:

C – Champions
A – Audience Affected
T – Tasked
B = Buy-In
R = Responsible
I = Informed
O = Okay

What is the Climate / Politics?

With what do participants need to be prepared?

  • Knowledge Ahead of Time
  • Bring With
  • Attitude / Approach 
  • In-Meeting

What can we do that makes working with us easier?

What Are the Measures / Considerations / Constraints


Brainstorm Brief – How To Example:

Provide a title that quickly and clearly describes the meeting.
Example: “XYZ Nonprofit Improving Donor Experience”

Brief Date: Use this to keep track of the most recent brief.

Objective / Desired Outcome: Write specific deliverables of the meeting here. How will success be measured for this meeting? How will success be understood? Keep this short and to the point.
Example: “To think-up five, big, actionable ideas to explore further to build awareness of our key drivers of donor experience.”

Opportunity / Challenge: In one or two sentences, what needs to be addressed? What is so important that it has prompted a meeting? What is broken? What is the problem? What needs to be solved? Keep this short too, you can elaborate in the Background section.
Example:”2012 is going to be a challenging year. We need bigger ideas than ever if we are to stay ahead of the competition.”

Background: Use this space to provide additional background about the opportunity or challenge.

Who Should Be Included:

C – ChampionsThese people will create excitement for this project. They will serve as ambassadors and spread the word for you. You don’t *have* to invite them… but be sure to keep them in the loop.

A – Audience Affected-Who will be affected when the ideas thought up in this meeting are implemented? These could be external such as: customers, vendors, suppliers, etc. Or, they may be internal such as: operations team, front-line employees, leadership, etc. If possible, try to include someone – or a few – from this group. Why make assumptions on behalf of this group when they can be represented.

T – TaskedWho will have activities or tasks to make this idea a reality (builders)? Who will have tasks because of this project (implementors)? Whose roll will be affected?

B = Buy-InWho will be consulted? What specialists should you include who have input and value? Whose buy-in essential?

R = ResponsibleWho is ultimately responsible for delivering this project? Only one name should be in this spot.

I = Informed*Which people need to know about your ideas and decisions? They don’t need to be involved in the process, but want to know the outcomes.

O = Okay*Who needs to provide approval?

*With both the Informed and those who provide the Okay – keep them in the loop. Give them relevant updates that allow them to be ambassadors of your project.

 What is the Climate / Politics? What is the current attitude and behavior of potential participants toward the topic? Are people excited, worried, fearful, energetic, supportive, combative? Does this meeting excite them? Threaten them? 

With what do participants need to be prepared? Here, clearly outline the pre-work needed to for the meeting. Then, communicate these expectations to your participants (ahead of time). This will make your time in-meeting more productive and relevant.

 Knowledge Ahead of Time What should participants do or read before the brainstorm? Industry background, product information, articles, research? Is there something they should experience? Visit the competition? 

Bring With Are there things you want participants to bring? Updates from their departments? A list of their own suggested solutions?  

Attitude / Approach Any additional instructions? Proper sleep the night before? Dress in jeans and sneakers? Leave laptops and mobile phones at the door? Start with a clean slate?  

In-Meeting Is there knowledge or experience you want to ensure the whole group experiences together? Something you want to guarantee they are aware of?  

What can we do that makes working with us easier? As you consider experience it is important to keep in mind that good experiences make working with your organization easier. What can you do that helps facilitate that?  

What Are the Measures / Considerations / Constraints What are the ways you will measure the success of the implemented idea? For example:

  • Meets a timing deadline
  • Logistically possible
  • Ease of implementation / low complexity
  • Uses only existing resources
  • Fits within program of works
  • Doesn’t require additional funding


Edited and reposted from, Bridget Brandt’s

The Importance of a Positive Ask

Are the asks you are writing creating positive connotations?

Was your last ask more likely to contain: “Do not waste time” or “Help us today”?  If your writing contains a lot of “no’s” and “not’s,” it’s a signal of negative writing.  Using positive language is a better way to promote your ideas. In the above example, “Help us today” is more persuasive because it makes readers feel good rather than admonished.

Here are five examples of negative sentences turned positive:

             1.We hope you will not be dis­appointed with the results.

             Positive: We hope you’ll be as pleased with the results as we are.

             2.Without proper planning, we will not be able to prevent overcrowding.

             Positive: We’re planning thoroughly in advance to keep the crowd to a manageable size.

             3.If you don’t like my suggestions, please contact me.

             Positive: Please contact me if you have any other suggestions. I’d welcome hearing them.

             4.Don’t ignore the issues; they’re important.

             Positive: You can make a difference by making this issue a priority.

             5.This project is going to be nearly impossible to do with you.

             Positive: I want this project to be successful, and to make sure it is, I need your help.

 Take-away: The old idiom, “It’s Easier to Catch Flies with Honey, Than with Vinegar” is 100% the guide to follow when writing for your nonprofit.

  — Adapted from Business Writing That Gets Results, David Silverman.

The Value of a Great Story: One Pound Wonders

The value of telling the story of your nonprofit is often overlooked and always under estimated.   The story is what engages people and gets them interested in learning more about your organization.  My sister is a great story-teller.  She recently entered a contest to increase Preemie Awareness, the challenge was to tell about your tiny heroes.  
Her story:
The One Pound Wonders came into this world 16 weeks early weighing a mere 1 lb 2 oz (Camdyn) and 1 lb 8 oz (Cade). From the first day of life, they had to valiantly fight off all the evil NICU villains, those malicious micro-preemie harmers – IVH, PDA, ROP, CLD, and the gang. After 133 days of continuous fighting, they left the NICU battlefield. The One Pound Wonders encountered still more battles. Cade used his magic g-tube portal to gain superhero strength to eventually conquer this evil enemy. Camdyn, although tiny, showed her fierce superhero powers to overcome this enemy on her own. The One Pound Wonders continue to gain strength and power in their superhero training camps, aka occupational, physical, and speech therapy weekly. They have left the world in awe of their amazing powers – the power to eat, breathe, walk, talk, and most importantly, live after being given only a 30-40% chance of surviving! The One Pound Wonders have proven to the world that miracles exist.To follow their progress, visit our blog at

Watch their incredible journey:

Although it would be a huge honor to be recognized as Preemies of the Year, we are entering the contest in hopes of being recognized with the Thundering Thurston award (entry with the most votes). We need your votes to help us achieve this. The amazing Thundering Thurston was in alliance with our One Pound Wonders in the same NICU. I am honored to be friends with Thurston’s incredible mother. We walked through our NICU journeys together supporting one another along the way. We would be so honored to win the Thundering Thurston award in memory of this amazing baby boy who touched the lives of so many.

The One Pound Wonders have demonstrated their superhuman powers with their strength – they had to to endure so much pain throughout their NICU journey, their endurance – they work so much harder to accomplish milestones that come easily to others, and their perseverance- they never gave up even though the odds were stacked strongly against them. They will continue to leave the world in awe and wonder at all they will accomplish!
Take-away: Please take a few seconds to vote for my niece and nephew, and think about how you can make your nonprofits story more engaging and compelling.

Moving my blog

When I started blogging, I named the blog Customer Experience 101.  Through the years it has evolved to a blog exclusively for the nonprofit sector, so I have decided it’s time for a new start.   If you enjoy this blog, I would encourage you to check out the other one by visiting

As time premits I will repost some of hte best blogs here as well!  I hope you enjoy reading, learning and participating in this one.