St Vincent de Paul Society

Fundraiser

Australian Capital Cities

Brief
The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is an important fundraiser for the St Vincent de Paul Society, which invites CEOs to sleep out in the cold for one night in the middle of winter and gain a greater understanding of what life is like for more than 100,000 homeless Australians. By donating their time, business leaders not only raise money, but also much needed awareness of this issue.

After supporting the fundraiser in 2009 with audio visual and event staging needs, Staging Connections was approached to become a national partner to help raise awareness of the CEO Sleepout's expansion to a national event in 2010. The charity wanted to give both potential participants and the general public an insight into this important fundraising event.

Solution
To help with publicity and attract participants to the event, Staging Connections filmed and produced a number of short video clips about the CEO Sleepout. We interviewed St Vincent de Paul's CEO Dr John Falzon, former Minister for Housing Tanya Plibersek and our own Managing Director, Tony Chamberlain who took part in the 2009 CEO Sleepout.As part of the pre-event marketing these videos were made available on the CEO Sleepout website, and were also used as a call to action in an email campaign, distributed to business leaders around Australia encouraging them to take part in the first national event.

On the evening of the CEO Sleepout, Staging Connections' teams around the country utilised our audio visual technology, lighting, and staging equipment to smoothly deliver the individual events in each capital city. Our technicians used broadcast cameras to capture the formalities at the Sydney CEO Sleepout, which included speeches from organisers, and insights into life for homeless people.

The Sydney formalities were streamed in a live webcast through the CEO Sleepout website and then made available as an on-demand webcast, allowing participants and the general public to watch the highlights at a later date. Staging Connections also invited participants in Sydney to record video diaries, known as "Bench Diaries", about their experience throughout the night. Our team created a suitably simple set of cardboard behind a park bench, using a broadcast camera to record the Bench Diaries.  A smart player was created to share the Bench Diaries on the CEO Sleepout's website, and within an hour of being filmed, the diaries were embedded onto the website for people to experience how the night was unfolding and view the impact it was having on the individual CEOs.

To ensure the webcast was seen at the highest quality appropriate for a personal computer, we used adaptive bitrate streaming. This smart player technology monitors the user's bandwidth and computer capabilities and adjusts the quality of the video streaming accordingly. If someone watching the webcast experienced a reduction in bandwidth, the stream would seamlessly adjust to a lower bitrate. This guaranteed that viewers were able to see the best quality video their computer could provide, and avoided frustratingly long start times or pauses as the computer buffered to accept content not designed for their internet service.

Result
Delivering rich and engaging video content through webcasting proved to be a valuable marketing tool for Vinnies, building pre-event national exposure and publicity for the 2010 CEO Sleepout.On the night, by sharing the official speeches and the personal insights into the lives of homeless people through a live webcast, Staging Connections was able to increase the size of the audience, allowing people at home to feel connected to what was taking place. The Bench Diaries were also a popular and effective way of sharing the event as it was taking place.

We extended the life of the CEO Sleepout with the post event on-demand webcasts and continue to share the event experience to people who can view the webcasts at their convenience. The videos continue to raise awareness and interest for St Vincent de Paul in the lead up to next year's event. By raising awareness of the fundraiser and participation in the event, Staging Connections supported Vinnies in delivering their most successful CEO Sleepout to date. As a result, the 2010 Vinnies CEO Sleepout raised more than $2.9 million for St Vincent de Paul's homeless services around Australia.