February 24, 2020 \ Geoff Birmingham
Case Study: KIPP MA Video Annual Report

We recently produced a video annual report for KIPP MA. KIPP MA has five charter schools in Lynn and Boston that educate approximately 2,200 students. Their mission is to prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose – college, career, and beyond.

In addition to educating students from grades K-12, KIPP MA is also active in their communities, offering free classes in English as a Second Language, financial literacy, and more to over 350 adults each year. Ultimately, to borrow directly from their own language, KIPP MA is working “to change the life trajectory for our students and families and to build the next generation of transformational leaders.“

Prior to 2019, KIPP MA had produced annual reports in the traditional fashion – as a paper document, usually about 30 pages long, “with lots of text and lots of data.” They distributed it primarily with donors, prospective donors and other education professionals.

Donors received extra copies with the idea that they would share the report with other interested parties, but KIPP MA recognized the obvious challenges inherent in this, and it was clear that the report was neither being read nor shared very much. The paper version, they realized, wasn’t as effective as they wanted it to be.

For their 2019 report, they decided to create a video annual report instead. The level of investment was three times the amount to produce the paper report; however KIPP MA considers the investment worthwhile for multiple reasons:

Far fewer hours of labor required “We used to spend at least one day a week from July to November working on the paper report. To produce the video was approximately 75% fewer hours of our time.”

Greater relevance and interest to a wider audience Rather than a numbers-driven paper document, the video highlights student voices, shows students and staff in action, and delivers a broader message about student accomplishment. The new approach is not just attractive to donors and other education professionals, but also to KIPP families and to another key audience: partner organizations and others in their community.

Shareability  “I love the way I can include it as a link in my email.” “People are forwarding the link to their friends.” In approximately two months, the video has received over 500 views, double the reach they typically expected with the paper version.

The greater reach is not only in terms of numbers but also geography. Colleagues across the country have seen it.

The video is a living piece. “We like the way it shows who our students are and what our schools are like.”

Longer shelf life. While the life of the video won’t be more than a year, it will stay relevant longer than the paper version.

It’s greener. “No more boxes of old reports in the recycling bin.”

Positive feedback. The response from viewers has been enthusiastic.

One additional takeaway

Rather than taking a safe course and using an adult staff member to narrate the video, KIPP MA decided to use students…three different ones, to be exact (in addition to a brief appearance from the executive director).

As the producers, we asked “How’s a 12-year old going to do reading a teleprompter into camera???” KIPP MA had no doubts, though, and their confidence proved on target – the students delivered. It makes sense, too, that the narrators should be the students; the school does belong to them, afterall. Besides, everyone would much prefer to hear from the kids rather than the adults! A wise choice on all counts.