At Idea Decanter, we love the notion of random acts of kindness – how awesome is it when the person in front of you at Starbucks pays for your cappuccino?! Or even when a highway driver waves you in as you’re trying to merge.
Sometimes it’s incredibly easy to show kindness.
We’ve been thinking consciously in terms of random acts of kindness for about 40 years. In fact, what started out as humble scribblings at a dinner table turned into a movement. Did you know that back in the 1980s Anne Herbert wrote the phrase, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a placemat? And now the saying is part of our daily vocabulary – talk about food for thought!
The thing is, more and more, we’re beginning to recognize the need to move beyond random acts of kindness and into conscious acts too – especially in recent times, when so much of the world is hurting and healing. That’s why we put a twist of the idea of random acts of kindness. And why we invite you to join us in riffing on the idea.
LEVERAGE THE POWER OF VIDEO FOR GOOD
Have you ever considered the idea of highly intentional acts of kindness? Those things that are bigger than an impulse. That require more effort than a few extra dollars at the drive-in window.
At Idea Decanter, we’re specifically referring to an annual program we started called Random Acts of KIT (a program that really isn’t so random at all). Inspired by our client and friend, Traci Richmond – a financial advisor with the Meakem Group who stops her marketing in August, chooses a charity, and donates her marketing budget to them – we decided to donate our video marketing skills to a non-profit organization in need of help. Every August, like Traci, Idea Decanter pauses our own marketing efforts and dedicates the month to creating a video for an organization nominated by you, our community members.
And every year, a worthwhile organization that is making the world a better place receives a marketing video from us – for free – providing them exposure, clout, and celebration that they can share with their network to great fanfare!
One of the coolest parts about this initiative is that the nominated organizations rarely know they’ve been nominated – because we ask you to submit a nomination form for an organization in your local community, the non-profits aren’t aware they’ve even been nominated; and the selection for a winner often does feel random to them! Hence, Random Acts of KIT. . . but with intention.
What a fabulous paradox!
GET ON THE BOAT
Last year’s Random Acts of KIT recipient is an amazing team of athletes who epitomize camaraderie, joy, and confidence. Congratulations to Niskayuna Rowing out of the great state of New York! Nisky (as they’re affectionately known) is a non-profit organization that supports and enhances the rowing programs it administers; promotes education, recreation, and health; and fosters athletic development within a competitive environment for junior and adult rowers. Open to all Nisky students in grades 7-12, Nisky Rowing offers year-round training for middle school and high school rowing teams and Learn-To-Row classes for children and adults in the summer.
Working with the incredible athletes and their coaches to create their recruitment video made us realize that – much like video marketing – Crew is in many ways the ultimate team sport. There are no individual star performers on a rowing team (or a video production team), only a successful and cohesive group of people all working toward the same goal. While technical skill and strength are enough to physically move a boat (or record a video), it’s the relationships and quality of coordination among the crew members that create success or failure.
When you watch this inspiring video, you’ll probably notice a sort of kinetic energy; the speakers are dynamic, authentic, and magnetic! The images evoke strength, power, and success.
We recognized a special synergy when working with Nisky to create their video. High performing Crew teams often use the word sing to refer to the human and technical aspects of the boat when they are synchronized just right. When a boat is singing, the team can focus its collective attention on high performance – not just on winning. Video production is so much like this – when done right, both reflect the classic case of how, in a group, “the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.”
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT AND TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
While we’re on a roll with the old adages, let’s revisit the ones reminding us to practice more than we perform and to realize the strength that comes from collaboration. These truisms work for video production and for crew – and, of course, they transcend both.
Our approach to creating videos is much like our approach to delivering presentations – practice is vital; teamwork is fundamental; and stories matter. And the Nisky recruitment video is a great story!
Nisky was nominated by Laura Mirković, who recognized that because of COVID restrictions, rowing teams have been suffering with recruitment and retention. Simply put, Nisky needed more rowers! Because they are not financially supported by the school district, they have to raise operational money on their own every season. Crew is a super expensive sport, especially compared to school- and district- sponsored sports like soccer. So Nisky needed more rowers to help pay for program fees.
Their goal for the 2022 Spring recruitment meeting was to increase their number of rowers.
And with the help of their Random Acts of KIT video, they did just that! We’re thrilled that Nisky Rowing has 12 newly committed athletes registered to row, and the coaches credit the video for about 60% of that success. “The video was very well put together and very well received,” said Laura. “We showed it at our Spring meeting with more than 60 parents and they were blown away!”
New York State Coach of the Year and Nisky’s Varsity Women’s Coach, Stacey Apflebaum, explains in the video that the team is successful in large part because of the inclusion they show to any athlete “willing to do the work.” We love that message!
WALK THE TALK
And now, it’s your turn! Do you know of an organization or non-profit group that deserves to be this year’s Random Acts of KIT recipient? Watch Nisky’s recruitment video and start thinking about people you know who work hard to make the world a better place. We’d love to help them get their message out and receive the benefits of a video produced by Idea Decanter! Stay tuned this summer when we open it up for nominations for 2022’s Random Acts of KIT.