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As an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization with a small (but delightful and growing!) base of support, the board members of Indy Film Fest like to refer to ourselves as “deliciously scrappy, highly focused.” We have a lot of spinning plates – hundreds of film annual submissions, a ten day festival featuring more than one hundred movies (July 19-29 this summer), year-round screenings and special events, all while fundraising, writing grant proposals and managing volunteers. It’s a story we know isn’t unique to our nonprofit, which is part why we wanted to share how we use Formstack.
Without the luxury of a paid staff, we depend on the generosity of an army of volunteers and affordable technology options that make our lives easier. Withoutabox is a film festival standard for accepting film submissions. Festival Genius makes creating a complicated and vast film schedule a breeze. We use and love the elegant simplicity of Square for processing payments at events. Then there’s Formstack, which has become a huge part of how we manage some core pieces of our business.
At first, we used Formstack to connect with filmmakers from around the world. With filmmakers from various countries reaching out to multiple festival volunteers, we could easily have important data scattered in various inboxes, waiting for a volunteer to sort it out into spreadsheets. After building a quick form with Formstack, we easily email a request to our selected filmmakers to submit their pertinent contact details. We also use the form to gain filmmaker consent to screen their film to ensure we’re on the up and up on creative rights, to learn who will travel to Indy for their screening and to get information that will help us promote the films. Having all of this populated into the handy Formstack online database makes our info easy to manage and easy to find when we need it. We soon began using Formstack for other needs, such as volunteer applications and for media to request press credentials for the festival.
Late last year we decided to test a mini-fundraising campaign to end out the year. With a small amount of lead time and some quick thinking, we were able to use Formstack to build out a donor form, easily synced it with our PayPal account and then copied and pasted the code into our website. We wanted an option where people could give a gift donation in a friend’s name. No worries there, as customizing the form for our needs was a snap. They aren’t kidding when they say you can have branded web forms in seconds. In no time flat, our campaign to raise $1,000 for a Grand Holiday was up and running. It couldn’t have been simpler to execute, and to top it off we surpassed our goal with a little time to spare.
Even with these two great ways to use Formstack, we feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface. We haven’t used the survey functionality yet, but we’re already plotting ways to integrate that into out marketing mix, and we know it’ll be a cinch when we do. The ease of use frees us up to do what we do best – create awesome film experiences and tweet the heck out if it.
In the movie world, one of the highest honors we can bestow is to grant laurels to a film. If we gave out such a thing as tech laurels, we’d happily grant them to Formstack!
When not serving as marketing director and board member for Indy Film Fest, Sara works full time as a marketing strategist at SmallBox, is film editor at My Old Kentucky Blog and lives happily in Indy’s SoBro with her husband and two dogs. Find her on twitter: @sara_mc