Nonprofits are well known for balancing competing priorities. Leaders are tasked with managing business operations, energizing volunteers, raising funds, writing grants, overseeing a board of directors, and much more – all while staying true to what matter most, its MISSION.

I Grow Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating the traumatic effects of violence and poverty in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, knows the struggle all too well.


I Grow Chicago is stretched thin as the nonprofit works to expand its reach and serve the community, while keeping operations running smoothly, efficiently, and within budget.

“We do a lot of outreach and have over 15 full-time programs,” says Director of Development of I Grow Chicago, Zelda Mayer. “it’s extremely challenging to articulate everything we do in a succinct manner. Our communication budget is nonexistent, but we’ve always done our best to summarize our services and relied on our website and stakeholders to help us spread our message. With our resources dedicated to our work, we never had the means financially or physically to produce a series of videos.”

I Grow Chicago, like many nonprofits, chose to focus on their community, and not the distribution of their message. But at ROOT3, we’ve had the good fortune of seeing I Grow Chicago in action and we had a vision for storytelling that would allow I Grow to do just that…GROW.



With nonprofits relying heavily on individual and corporate donors, it’s imperative that they find a way to share their message with as many potential donors as possible. Video can illustrate a nonprofit’s cause, purpose, and mission. A Google study found that over three-quarters of donors said that video ads are the best way to inspire people to take action.

Recently, our team partnered with I Grow Chicago to develop a series of videos for their annual gala that showcased the work they do day-in and day-out in Chicago’s third-most violent community, Englewood.

“Previously, we encouraged potential advocates to come to us to understand what we do — which was not always feasible,” says Mayer. “We wanted to knock down that barrier and share our mission in a much more sustainable way. Our board believed video could do that…and more. Making it happen quickly was especially important for our gala when we had key donors in the room and many of our board members were counting on their family and friends to help us reach our fundraising goal.”


both emotional and thoughtful


using a compelling combination of storytelling, imagery, and testimonials can persuade people to take action


Online distribution can introduce your nonprofit to new volunteers and donors. An engaging (and succinct!) video can be passed on by your viewers, creating even greater reach


Working with the I Grow Chicago team, ROOT3 developed key messages to share both in talking points and through visuals culminating in five videos that featured more than ten voices from the community and underscored the value that I Grow Chicago provides to Englewood.

During the annual gala, I Grow Chicago shared the video in the main portion of the event as well as throughout the event on portable screens. The second annual gala raised over $200,000 for the organization – more than tripling their donations from their previous gala. “Having a series of videos that showcased our work in action was and is incredibly valuable,” continues Mayer. “We can use these videos not only at the gala, but also as a future marketing tool. Our Board of Directors now can share with their expansive networks which increases visibility on our organization and shares our mission with more potential advocates and donors. Ultimately, this provides us the opportunity to advance the important work we do.”