Saturday, 5 March 2011

Ridealist seeking volunteer opportunities - update!

A few days ago Ridealist released a notice through various online media to announce our plan to donate US$1,000 toward the costs of producing a media package for a deserving non-profit or grassroots organisation.

Ridealist is a non-profit volunteer initiative that aims to tell compelling stories of people and organisations making a positive difference in their communities. We usually do this in our spare time, at weekends, evenings etc.

But this year we are donating our two-week annual summer vacation to work on a project(s) in any location outside Hong Kong where we can offer our unique skills to help raise the profile of a non-profit or grassroots organisation working with the environment, children, animals, the elderly, the disadvantaged - or any combination of the foregoing since they are often inextricably linked together.

We plan to spend up to two weeks with the selected NGO/NPO and aim to produce a short - perhaps two minute promotional / introduction video that can be embedded directly on the NGO/NPOs website front page. This can help "brand" your NGO/NPO and can be used for short presentations at fund raisers etc.

We will also produce a longer - up to 22 minutes - video documentary, looking at the NGO/NPO in more depth. Telling individual stories.

These stories can be shared with television stations/networks and non-profit video sharing websites such as DoGooder TV, About GoodnessTV etc.. gaining extensive exposure for the NGO/NPO.

We were very encouraged with the response.

We received queries from Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, India, and China.

But there were a couple of questions that were common among many of the responses, and we'd like to try and clarify them here.

"How do we get involved?"

If you are connected to, or operate a charity, NPO or grassroots organisation that might benefit from having their activities documented for a promotional/fundraising/informational/training video, then put us contact and we'll see how things go!

"What can you do for us?"

Rather than asking us what we can do for you, tell us what you would like us to do for you. You now have a camera crew, what would you like us to create that will reflect your work and the benefits you are bringing to the community. What is your core message? What message to you want to send to potential donors, sponsors?

"Where will the funding come from?"

Ridealist normally works within a small geographic area. When we were based in Beijing we focused on local NGOs, and the same criteria applies now here in Hong Kong.

We are completely self funded, and our efforts are on a volunteer-no charge basis, so consquently we have to try and keep our costs to an absolute minimum. Therefore, the groups we have previously worked with usually have to be within a bus or subway ride, or short drive from our home base.

Of ourse there are other costs associated with producing quality video.

Since we began Ridealist we've had to replace one computer for video editing, our video camera, and one still camera. We've also covered the costs for various computer software to assist in editing and communications.

Without sponsorship, this can put a severe strain on resources, and we have to be sustainable too!

But having said all that, we are keen to expand our horizons and our geographical reach. Many of the Hong Kong or China groups that are seeking our help, we can do over a weekend or a couple of weekends.

This year we would like to take this opportunity to immerse ourselves in a story without distractions.

But this does lead us to the issue of costs.

The roundtrip airfare from Hong Kong to Entebbe in Uganda, for example, is US$1,200 for each of us, which to be frank, is beyond our means. For Nairobi in Kenya, our airfares would come to a combined US$2,200.

Our contribution of US$1,000 won't go very far with prices like this, and then there is accomodation, food etc. to take into consideration.

But with your help, we believe we can make this work.

The post-production (editing etc) will be done on our return to Hong Kong.

Please let us know if this is of interest to you, and if you have the capacity to help us with finding sponsorship.

Sincerely yours,

Chris & Shirley Gelken

For your information, here's what people have been saying about Ridealist:

"Ridealist developed a video for my charity organization, Hands On Hong Kong, in 2010. It is an excellent piece of work in terms of both quality and content. It accurately captures what our organization is all about -- something that is not easy to do in just a few minutes. I'm very appreciative of the work Ridealist has done for Hands On. It's incredibly valuable for us to have this video to share with the community, including our supporters, volunteers, and current and potential sponsors.” March 1, 2011
Shaun Bernier, Hands on Hong Kong

"Chris Gelken and Shirley Han Gelken were instrumental in helping the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) promote its non-profit animal welfare and shelter management programs in the PRC. Through Ridealist, Chris and Shirley created two pro-bono short films for ICVS to promote its free animal welfare and shelter management seminars and the ICVS/Columbia University Alumni Association animal welfare fundraising event in 2010. Ridealist provides a unique and essential service to bring awareness of the work of small start-up or non-profit organizations that would otherwise not have the funding to hire professional videographers and short-film producers of this caliber. It is without doubt that the short-films produced by Ridealist have helped to establish ICVS’ animal welfare programs internationally and to enable us to give China a voice and to act as a bridge between China and the world in improving the health and welfare for both animals and humans.
Chris is a consummate professional and is also warm, caring and kind with a great sense of humor - a real pleasure to work with. Ridealist is a great gift that has been given to us to help change and impact the world for the better and has our highest recommendation.” February 27, 2011
Mary Peng, ICVS Beijing

“We really enjoyed working with Chris and Shirley. They had only a few days to shoot but still managed to put together a great video for our organization.” September 7, 2010
Judy Shen, CAI

“Chris produced a video for our Charity organization "Giving Hand" for no fee. Excellent job in very short time. This video promoted a Donating project for Levi Strauss, the charity in charge, Beijing Huayu Education Foundation and Giving Hand.” April 20, 2010
Bobbi Fisher, Giving Hand, Chengdu

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Lonny said...

I love your blog. I am impressed with your desire to give of your talents. We have tried to chronicle our work in Ethiopia with pictures and dialog. and It is not as impressive as a film.
I would love to have you join our network at My hope is that we can pull together more people like you and build a strong network that can help each other out.

Chris Gelken said...

Very kind of you. As mentioned on LinkedIn, we've registered with you and hope there are plenty of opportunities for collaboration in the future.
Chris & Shirley