Customer Stories:

Seattle University exceeded event attendance goal by 400% through targeted video invitations


The Seattle University team leaned into a new tech tool, ThankView by EverTrue, to launch a three-pronged video campaign to introduce new leadership to the SU community and build enthusiasm, recognition, and rapport.

The Challenge:

With a brand-new AVP of Alumni Engagement and a new university President, the Seattle University team needed a quick, scalable, and simple way to build internal and external trust and rapport.

The team wanted to use video to build enthusiasm for a signature alumni event featuring their president, Seattle University Night at the Seattle Mariners baseball game. The goal was to film a low-cost video featuring their president, share it with a targeted group of alumni, and attract 250 alumni attendees to the Mariners game.

Why evertrue:

EverTrue allows colleges and universities to map digital engagers with alumni in their database. The Iowa team used EverTrue to identify confirmed alumni who liked or commented on these Facebook prompts. They then layered in data points such as giving histories, affinities, interests, and wealth insights. The team used these insights to target their giving day messaging to digital engagers, using digital insights to nurture a whole new subset of Hawkeye supporters.

The results:

The Seattle University team filmed a three-part video campaign featuring their president and shared each video via ThankView by EverTrue with a targeted group of alums.

Attendance at the alumni event well-exceeded the goal of 250; the event sold out with over 1,000 Seattle U alums in attendance.

The Full Story

To break through the noise, you’ve got to lean into the power of video. 

If you needed further convincing, we monitored ThankView video sends across our entire customer base, and we found that ThankViews get over 2x the open rate and over 12x the click-through rate of traditional emails (source: EverTrue analysis).

AND donor retention increases as much as 65% when donors received a ThankView video after making a gift (source: EverTrue analysis).

These video stats caught the attention of our friend Ellen Whitlock Baker when she started her role as Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement at Seattle University. 

Right off the bat, Ellen needed an efficient way to introduce herself and SU’s new president to thousands of Redhawk alumni. She needed to build internal and external trust. And she needed to do it quickly.

Luckily, Ellen had landed with a forward-thinking team that was ready to lean into a new tech tool: ThankView. Over the the next nine months, Ellen and the SU Alumni Engagement team partnered with folks all across campus to launch a three-pronged video campaign to introduce new leadership to the SU community and build enthusiasm, recognition, and rapport.

The presidential video campaign culminated in a summertime event: Seattle University Night at the Seattle Mariner’s baseball game. Sports are a great unifier, and Ellen’s team hoped that after President Peñalver completed his tour of major US cities, a broad invitation for alums to join him as he threw out the first pitch at the August Mariner’s game would be a hit.

They were right.

The goal was to attract 250 alumni attendees at the Mariner’s game. In the end, they sold out the game with over 1,000 attendees. Ellen’s team is digging into event attendees and video engagers to build and deepen relationships with SU alums. 

Creating the Content

Seattle U started with their outreach with personalized videos from local alums. The team did this via ThankView, the personalized video messaging platform in our EverTrue Suite of products. (Request a ThankView demo here.)

Part 1: Video invites from local alums to promote the President’s cross-country tour

Then, Ellen filmed this video with President Peñalver in his office on her iPhone, then sent it alongside a personalized message to a targeted subset of alumni.

Part 2: Video invite from President Peñalver to SU Night at the Seattle Mariner’s game

And then – get more legs on your video. Share a short version of it on social, and track engagement. (Another plug for our tech – you can monitor social engagers via EverTrue, and compare them alongside giving trends, wealth information, and career insights.)

Note: This image uses dummy data for "Matched Constituent Stats" numbers in EverTrue

Next, Ellen filmed this video while she was at the Mariners’ event. It includes some footage of President Peñalver right after he threw the first pitch. Her team used the video to build some FOMO and promote the next SU alumni event on the calendar – so smart. 

Part 3: Fomo video from Ellen to folks who didn't come to the event

Tracking engagement

In ThankView, when you send personalized videos to alumni, you can immediately track which folks opened your message, if they watched the video, how much of the video they watched, and if they clicked on the link to the event registration page.

ThankView stats - Attended event
Sample of ThankView analytics for video message to event attendees

Bonus data alert! All of these ThankView video engagement insights flow automatically into EverTrue and can be viewed alongside data points like giving patterns, career changes, wealth insights, and donor interests. And then you can use those insights to create an even more targeted, meaningful, next video campaign. It’s a virtuous cycle of targeted and personalized engagement!


Just like Seattle U, you have on-campus celebrities (faculty and leadership) and built-in campus ambassadors (students). Partnering with them to create personalized video messages is a win for everyone. 

Wins for donors: Donors receive strategic, personalized outreach that creates better feelings of connection. 

Wins for the featured “campus celeb”: They get a chance to shine on camera and become a broadly recognized member of the campus community.

Wins for the institution: By embracing the digital transformation that is happening everywhere, you’re building a sustainable culture of philanthropy and a pipeline of future engagers and supporters.