Experimenting with videos to promote adoption

By JD Bruewer

In 2014, my employer, Hamilton County Job and Family Services, won a silver award in the Blacksmiths for its series of adoption videos, professionally produced vignettes of children available for adoption.

In 2015, we looked for ways to change things. The adoption series was well-received and brought more people into contact with the children we serve, but each one took a good deal of time and focused on only one child.

Two of the three full-time staff in January 2014 had left and been replaced by January 2015. With new blood came new ideas. We wanted to change our video focus to see if we could be a little more responsive. We wanted to produce more simple videos that hit on our larger themes.

JD Bruewer is a senior communications specialist at Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

JD Bruewer is a senior communications specialist at Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

We purchased new video gear and editing software to allow for faster turnaround times and added a slideshow program, Animoto, to allow us to create quick videos along themes that focus on our larger goals of getting kids into adoption and foster care.

Fellow communications specialist Jane Prendergast, and interns Sara Vice and Rhonda Williams have done an excellent job with Animoto, producing videos that include large groups of our children. We’ve been able to focus on those celebrating birthdays each month, as well as themes such as siblings, Foster Care Month and preventing abuse. Individually, these videos reach a slightly smaller audience, but collectively they are reaching more people.

Our new video editing software is being put to use, for now, on internal efforts. We will continue to use professional video services for some work, but, by bringing more creative control into our hands, we can experiment a bit more before deciding on a final product.

We’re also experimenting with the best ways to share the videos. Our Facebook page has been a natural choice and we’re trying different ways to display videos on HCKids.org.This is a work in progress, but we’ve been happy with the responses we’ve seen so far.

For a look at our new videos:

Birthday video

HC Kids Gallery