The Power of Video with Dressember’s Blythe Hill and Stephanie Schindler

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Video is one of the most powerful storytelling tools that’s worth the investment to excite and educate others about your mission.

Today I’m joined by two amazing women from Dressember, a collaborative movement leveraging fashion and creativity to restore dignity to victims and survivors of human trafficking. 

Founder Blythe Hill and Communications Coordinator Stephanie Schindler share the strategies behind their 2021 documentary launch, how they integrated the film as a tool for their advocates, and what they focus on as a small and mighty team of 4 to help end human trafficking.

How to approach social media with a small and mighty team

Social media has been Dressember’s #1 accelerator for their growth. Between their Facebook Groups and Instagram Stories, it’s helped them form meaningful partnerships and collaborations with other organizations and brands, becoming the flywheel for creating a global conversation and expanding the movement around their anti-trafficking work.

The best part about having a lean team is the scrappiness and lack of red tape. Dressember’s team is free to experiment, try new things, and be creative and playful. 

Is it the quirky content that sticks, or the educational content focused on the nuances of trafficking during COVID?

Blythe and Stephanie also work with a group of interns who are empowered to learn their brand voice and be on the pulse of what their community is talking about. It’s amazing how something as little as an advocate responding to a poll on a nonprofit’s Instagram Story can lead to a beautiful, 1:1 conversation.

Beyond the success of social media platforms, email and SMS text messaging has proven to work well for them too. As they set goals for the year ahead, Dressember is focused on short-form video content and learning how to navigate TikTok so they can tap into the Gen Z demographic.

Why investing in a compelling video is so important

In 2021, Dressember set out on a mission to create an impactful 17-minute documentary with a call to action to commit to their year-long giving program.

Creating a documentary from start to finish is not for the faint at heart. You have to be prepared to pour your heart and soul into it as much as you would a part-time job, and have the funds to make a significant investment, not only in the creation of the video itself but in paid advertising and distribution.

Blythe shared that the video production process was incredibly collaborative. The agency they hired was involved in everything from storyboarding, to ideating on the concept and arc of the story, to crafting the voiceover script.

Once the video was live, the impact was tremendous during their peak fundraising season.

They saw an uptick in signups for their subscription-based program The Collective, locking in others’ commitments to this fight for the long-term. Making the video so easy to share and promote created a buzz, sparking dialogue among the aggregate views across social media.

Investing in video content is always worth it.

Creating fresh and new tools for advocates matters

When Blythe and her team launched The Dressember Documentary, they knew right away that this video would be powerful to share with their advocates and donors. 

Giving tools to your community of fundraisers is so important. They are your best storytellers. Make it easy for them to be a part of your work providing regular educational resources to keep them engaged.

It could be as simple as encouraging them to set up a viewing party with their friends to spread awareness, or creating incentives to encourage new sign-ups.

Some of Dressember’s donors even helped fund a new recruitment tool where new funders received a generous $50 donation towards their fundraising page to help them get closer to achieving their goal.

If you’re interested in supporting Dressember’s mission to end human trafficking, click here.

You can also sign up for Dressember’s 5th annual virtual 5K, taking place on April 9th, 2022.

Notable Quote from Blythe

“Video is so powerful, and it’s such a powerful tool for quickly getting people familiar with your work and extending a powerful invitation into your work.”

Notable Quote from Stephanie

“It’s a small but mighty team. All of us are on social getting a pulse on what our community is talking about and what questions they have. We can be really creative. We can try new things, we can experiment. And it’s all happening very much in real-time.”

Resources & Links

Donate as little as $5 per month to Dressember’s mission by joining The Collective.

Learn more about Dressember on their website and watch the trailer of The Dressember Documentary

Follow @dressember on Instagram.

Sign up for Dressember’s 5th annual virtual 5K, taking place on April 9th, 2022 and consider hosting one in your neighborhood.

Are you making costly mistakes with your social ads strategy? RSVP to my new masterclass, How To Attract Recurring Donors Without Social Media and learn my #1 secret for copy and content inspiration.

Learn more about Broomstick Engine, the creative agency Blythe and her team hired to create The Dressember Documentary.

Follow Zahra at @soulful_seeds for a light, fun, and optimistic approach to climate activism.

Want to make Missions to Movements even better? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram. Be sure to tag @positivequation so I can connect with you. 

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