With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us are looking forward to holiday parties and year-end events.

And many organizations try to spice up their celebrations, galas and parties with video. That’s a lot of fun – unless you’re the one chosen to come up with the great idea for the show-stopping video that’s supposed to become the highlight of your big event.

Talk about pressure! Fortunately, though, we’re here to help with six event video ideas to jumpstart the process.

1. Creative recap of the year’s successes

This is the most obvious kind of video, but it’s all about the storytelling. People love to hear the year’s success stories (and you’ll feel good telling them), but make it entertaining. Don’t just have somebody read a script and cover the words with appropriate pictures. That’s like going over to your neighbor’s house to watch a slideshow from their last trip — there’s a reason nobody does that anymore.

Instead, interview some of the key players from your big success stories (not just the organization’s leaders). Ask them about their accomplishments, their proudest moments. Bring the story to life with supporting video that “takes us there” — then add music, graphics, and anything else that might increase the interest and entertainment of your audience.

2. Feature story illustrating great success

There’s a reason many organizations go with a great feature story illustrating one key success. It works. For charities and companies. If you have a compelling character who is willing to share how the organization helped them, and maybe even how they want to thank the people at the event, you’ve already got an interesting message. As one of my colleagues at WCCO-TV used to say, “that story just tells itself.”

Don’t get me wrong, it takes some work to identify the good story, and great storytelling to make sure it comes across correctly, but there’s a reason some people call these interesting, engaging human interest stories as “make ’em cry” videos. If you pick the right one, there really will be tears in the audience.

Here’s one of our favorites this year, the video below features a resident from a Twin-Cities non-profit who opened a new building this year. Instead of showing the building process or the CEO, this video features the real story of someone who has had his life completely changed by having a place to live.

Wistia video thumbnail - Room 327

3. Honor a key player or important leader

Want to honor a key member of your team, or a key donor to the charity? Nothing calls them out more than a nice video. If the focal point of the event will be an introduction and big speech by someone important, consider adding video to the mix. A well-produced video about the person will set the stage much better than a lengthy introduction (a.k.a. somebody stumbling over their bio), and the video will even make their speech better, because the audience can better understand and visualize some of the things they are likely to talk about.

Wistia video thumbnail - Catholic Charities: 2016 Life of Distinction Award - Tim Welsh - Final

4. Organization leaders read a “thank you” message

Read that sentence again for a moment. It says leaders (plural), not just one leader. In other words, I’m not talking about one person reading a one-minute script. No matter how compelling the copy, that won’t get anybody’s attention. I’m talking about a group of people, reading small parts of the script into the camera individually — edited into one message.

Done right, it’s an interesting, compelling way to show off your team, highlight some of the things that they do (by paying careful attention to backgrounds), and gives the feeling that the collective group is thankful for the support. If you’ve seen one of these videos, you know how inclusive the message can be.

5. Fun lip-sync video

This requires some production savvy and some editing chops, but the end product can be a lot of fun — not to mention some of the shoots themselves. Pick a song that’s familiar (so people already know the words), and on-message (so it doesn’t distract from the event), and you’re likely to get a big reaction.

There’s nothing quite like seeing the CEO let loose on an 80s rock standard, or some of the support staff dancing to disco to get the crowd going. But beware, syncing the video is a lot of work. Be prepared for a big project.

6. Employees sing a song (or read a poem) line-by-line

If you’re looking for a big reaction, get people to sing or read an old standard. Whether they sing a Christmas carol line-by-line, or read a poem like The Night Before Christmas, their character will come out. Your biggest hams will play to the camera and get big laughs. Your shyest staffers will also play well — as long as you can convince them to go on camera. This is our favorite, fun, inclusive kind of video for an end-of-year event, and it really is a guaranteed show-stopper.


Whether you are creating your video internally or working with a video production company to help you, it’s important to take some time to brainstorm different ideas that could work the best for your event. Your video might be funny, it could be a tear-filled story or a celebration of big milestones, but no matter what, it needs to be well-planned.

Author’s Note: This blog was originally published on Oct 26, 2015 and was updated on November 30, 2015.

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