By Glenn Rutherford, Record Editor
In past Catholic Services Appeal campaigns, new technology has been used from time to time to spread the word about the benefit and services donations to the CSA provide.
But never has the digital world had as big an impact as on this year’s effort to raise $3 million.
The digital efforts has as its heart a six-minute video produced by the Archdiocese of Louisville with the help of Kertis Creative. So whether you’re lounging on the patio watching a football game or camped along a ledge on Mount McKinley, you can view the video with the ubiquitous electronic devices most people can’t live without these days.
“What we heard in the past — from priests, from donors, from a lot of different people — was that we needed to put a face on the services we were providing,” said Ann Marie Kelly, coordinator of annual giving for the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Stewardship and Development.
“We needed people to see the faces of those who are being helped (by the Catholic Services Appeal)” she said.
As campaign leaders talked over their efforts it became obvious, Kelly said, “that we couldn’t take people into every meeting we had.”
“But with this DVD and with its online presence, we could let them tell their story on the video and then make it available online so that anyone, anywhere could see it,” she explained.
The well-produced video is but six-minutes long — even football watchers can take six minutes during half-time to get up to date on the CSA and its effects.
“If you watch the interviews, it’s clear we didn’t tell anyone what to say; they all spoke from the heart,” Kelly added.
From seminarian Casey Sanders, to young people such as Ivonne Gonzalez, 16, of St. Joseph Church in Louisville and Cameron Williams, 17, of St. Augustine Church in Louisville, the words came freely and unfettered. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and Father Charles D. Walker, pastor of St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., spoke on the video, too.
But it was a client of Catholic Charities’ Sister Visitor Center who had the most dramatic impact during the video.
Her name was Chelly Lee, and Kelly said Lee was at first reluctant to tell her story of need on camera and eventually online.
“She didn’t love the idea of going on the video,” Kelly recalled. “But she said ‘I’m willing to swallow my pride if I can go on the video and, as a result, one donor gives to Sister Visitor and helps somebody else who needed help like I did.’ ”
In the most touching section of the video, Lee becomes a bit emotional and tears well in her eyes and her voice cracks as she describes the help that Sister Visitor provider for her.
“We were really selective about who we interviewed when we were making the tape,” Kelly noted, “and everyone we interviewed made the video. Everyone who appeared was a volunteer, too; no one was paid a thing.”
Except the production company, of course. And the entire budget of the video was just $5,000.
“We’ve heard nothing but good things about it, and everyone at every meeting we’ve attended — with pastors and with parishes — has received the link to the video,” Kelly said. “We give copies of the video to pastors who want them and it’s online so it can be emailed out and embedded in parish websites, too. We tell people ‘we made it, but help us use it.’ ”
Kelly said she was both excited about the price and the quality of the work that went into producing the video, as well as the finished product. “Every agency served by the CSA, which is all of them, can use it,” she said. “It’s a new step in a new direction of communication for the archdiocese.”
For more information about the CSA or to donate, click here.