How a $300 “Magic Backpack” Lets An Advancement Team Create Awesome Videos

K-State's Magic Backpack

The Kansas State University Foundation built backpacks with all the equipment fundraisers and donor experience officers need to create high-quality, personalized videos using only a smartphone. Here’s how.

Video is big. Like really big. Like one-third of all online activity is watching videos-big. Like after watching a video, 64% of people are more likely to buy a product-big. 

We talked about it at RAISE and how to use video to drive action and alumni engagement.


During that talk, we touched on something cool that the Kansas State University Foundation put in place. They have a two-person video production team: Mary Bourne, Video Production Manager and Clarissa Weers, Video Producer. (They do some awesome work and you should check it out.)

Even though they’re award-winning video producers, the K-State team hasn’t yet mastered the skill of being everywhere at once. And they were getting a lot of requests from their fundraising and donor experience (stewardship) teams for one-off videos to post on social media or to share directly with donors. So they landed on a way to help their new content creators record beautiful clips.

“We wanted to empower our content creators in the building to make better videos on their own,” Mary said. “So we sat down and thought, ‘How can we provide a set of practical tools to allow people to do so?’”

Mary and Clarissa landed on a super-simple solution: Let people who want to create thank-you videos for donors, quick alumni profiles, social media content or prospect meeting follow-ups continue using their phones, but give them a set of plug-and-play tools to make the videos sparkle.

“We wanted better audio, good lighting, and a stabilizer for shots to make things look compelling and professional,” Mary said. “So we did some research and put together a ‘magic backpack’.”


Mary and the “magic backpack!”


The backpack includes all the gear a fundraiser needs to create a better-looking video plus instructions on how to put the kit together. It’s all plug-and-play, so it doesn’t require a ton of technical skill (though Mary and Clarissa did put together a short instructional video to help their team get started).

Here’s what goes into the magic backpack:

Now everyone at the KSU Foundation has what they need to create beautiful, impactful videos to thank donors, get prospects’ attention, share great stories or just have a little fun. Like they did here.


For about $300, your team can do the same. Get a backpack, fill it with accessories and equip your team to get them creating quick, personalized clips to engage alumni and thank donors.

Lights. Camera. Action!

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