In 2014, 3Points and one of our clients, tech recruiting firm Objective Paradigm (OP), were both looking for a meaningful and exciting way for the city’s tech industry to give back to the greater Chicago community. Ryan Pollock, partner and founder of OP, suggested using table tennis — a shared passion amongst Chicago tech offices — as the starting point.
A few months later, we established T4Youth, a charity table tennis tournament whose participants are comprised of Chicago’s finance and tech companies. In addition to supporting a great cause, this event was planned to be an opportunity for the tech community to network and compete together.
After careful consideration, we chose the Chicago Tech Academy as the beneficiary of the tournament’s proceeds. The Chicago Tech Academy (ChiTech) is a nonprofit, contract high school located in University Village that was founded to educate, empower, and connect a diverse next generation of entrepreneurial and tech leaders through real-world learning and STEM curriculum. The school currently enrolls 300 students from across the city, posting a graduation rate of 81%, with 40% pursuing post-secondary education in STEM fields.
The first event was a success, raising $50,000 in funds for ChiTech. However, we also realized the need to improve our marketing efforts for future T4Youth events. 3Points has served on the organizing committee each year, helping on a variety of fronts, including project management, sponsorships, social media, and day-of logistics. Given our expertise, we’ve also powered the PR for the event.
In its first year, the event was marketed primarily through photos distributed across Twitter and Facebook. While this produced satisfactory results, we were determined to innovate greater success for future events. In the process of pitching the event to more teams and sponsors, we realized that utilizing audio and video would provide a better, more visceral sense of the event and experience.
For T4Youth 2015 we created a “recap video” that captured the eclectic atmosphere of the event, which would help pique interest in prospective participants and sponsors. We conceptualized and storyboarded the video in advance, filmed at the event, and edited the video post-event.
The momentum sparked by that initial video helped us expand our efforts in 2016. With new marketing goals in mind, we decided to create not one, but two videos highlighting T4Youth. First, we produced and edited a video detailing a brief account of the 2016 event’s success through quick statistical illustrations. The video was made with social media sharing in mind, with a running time of just over one minute and a reliance on visuals rather than on audio.
Our second video was more elaborate, recapping the 2016 event and including interviews from participants, sponsors, and volunteers. This video provided more context for the statistics in the first video, both showcasing why companies participated and demonstrating the impact of the fundraising.
These videos have become the main marketing vehicle for the event and additionally have contributed to a significant increase in funds raised. In its first year, the tournament raised $50,000 with 24 participating companies. Growth continued in the second year, with raised funds jumping to $80,000 and participants up to 32 companies. In 2016, we had 42 participating teams and raised $100,000.
The videos have received positive feedback from both current and prospective participants, and the view counts continue to climb. Cumulatively, the three videos have a combined total of over a thousand views. Moreover, almost 10% of video views have come from search engines, indicating that people are finding and watching the videos outside of our direct promotion efforts.
[UPDATE: The videos helped T4Youth grow even more in Year Four, as T4Youth 2017 expanded to 52 teams and over 450 attendees. The videos were widely distributed as we made a final recruiting push during the lead up to the event, and we saw our biggest period of sustained viewership. Combined, our two 2016 videos were viewed over 150 times in the two weeks prior to the tournament, and we also produced a new video on ChiTech that was viewed 137 times prior to the event.]