Gratavid helps give Union students personalized graduation surprise

Learn how Union used video for graduation suprise

Will Trapp
5 min read
Gratavid helps give Union students personalized graduation surprise

With graduation approaching and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic delaying graduation ceremonies across the country, Union University’s President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver wanted to do something special for the graduating class of 2020.

The leadership team at Union passed around a few ideas, and there was one that seemed particularly appealing to Dr. Oliver. He wanted to personally thank each student for their accomplishments and contributions to the school via a brief video.

Personally congratulating 595 students, remotely, is no small feat. In fact, it seems like a logistical nightmare on the surface.

“Having to bring a camera in the President’s office, record 595 videos, edit those videos, and then upload those online was just not a good option,” Cam Tracy, Unions’s Web Development Agent said.

But Union University already had the perfect tool to tackle this task. Lauren Kennedy, Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations, had just signed Union up to use Gratavid for sending thank you videos to donors. Why not use it to thank nearly 600 departing seniors? The idea was born.

Making these videos couldn’t be done in a day. In fact, it took Dr. Oliver roughly 50 hours to shoot the personalized videos, each lasting between 1–2 minutes. One-by-one, down the list they went, one through 595. The videos needed to be stored in one place, they needed to be distributed quickly through text and email, and they needed to appear to come straight from the school.

Gratavid provided all of that in one place. It saved hours of time and offered both structure and organization.

“Gratavid met all of our requirements,” Tracy said. “Our President had the ability to sort and filter which videos he had already created and which ones remained.”

Union’s graduation ceremony was originally supposed to be held on May 16. The pandemic pushed it back at least a month. On a day in which disappointment could’ve so easily been the theme, instead, the students were surprised with a video on their smartphone with a personal message from their president.

When all was said and done, Dr. Dub received 143 replies thanking him for his touching video.

“When I heard Dr. Dub say my name, I was in complete shock because I thought it was going to be a generic video that went out to every student saying the same thing,” one student said. “I ran outside to find my parents so they could watch it with me, and they both teared up hearing Dr. Dub talk about how valuable I was to Union. I will be forever thankful to Dr. Dub for taking time to recognize me for my time at Union.”

Gratavid helped create Watson’s moment of elation, along with so many others.

Even though there was a team behind the operation, the ability for Union to send Gratavids on behalf of Dr. Dub made the videos feel like they were coming directly from the President himself. “My favorite thing was to see the students reply to their video. It felt like they were responding directly to Dr. Dub.” said Lauren Kennedy.

The campaign finished with over 6500 video plays, 398 shares, an 84% email open rate email open rate, a 57% email click-through rate, and a 53% text click-through rate.

The message was brief, easy to access, and intimate in nature. A graduating class forced to miss so much for circumstances impossible to foresee ended up with something special on graduation day in the end.

“Union is a place that takes seriously our core values of being excellence-driven, Christ-centered, people-focused, and future-directed,” Oliver said. “It seemed to me that this project, which many people helped with, is one that demonstrates those core values in a very tangible way.”

Gratavid assisted in personifying those values.

WRITTEN BY

Will Trapp

Founder & CEO @ Gratavid

Will Trapp is the founder and CEO of Gratavid. Gratavid is a software platform for collecting and sharing personalized videos.

Gratavid icon

Ready to stand out with personalized video?

Check out our favorite Gratavid testimonials below, and visit Gratavid.com for examples and to learn more.

Eshon Allen

Gratavid truly helped us reimagine the connections we make between our school community and the donors who make it all possible.

UCLA

Eshon Allen

UCLA

Jenny Johnson

Gratavid has helped take our stewardship to a new level. I can not express enough how much I love this platform.

Ole Miss Foundation

Jenny Johnson

Ole Miss Foundation

Kerri Naber

Our donors are so thankful to receive Gratavids because it communicates that they are a big part of our mission. A personalized video makes them feel valued and seen.

Mercy Multiplied

Kerri Naber

Mercy Multiplied

Zack Huffman

Gratavid is a game changer. Since starting I’ve used it every day.

Teach For America

Zack Huffman

Teach For America

Contact Us

Questions?

Our team can answer your questions, provide product demos, and create custom plans that fit your needs. We can't wait to hear from you.