Good. Better. Best. (Part I)

March 2024

When I entered the world of documentary filmmaking, I quickly learned that nearly everyone underestimates the cost of the craft. It’s easy to see a 3-second shot from a car commercial and think a similar image in your organizational video would be nice, without recognizing that capturing that footage required reserving a 2-mile stretch of road, filming multiple drone shots, and hiring a massive crew from the driver to the drone operator, all of whom charge a hefty day rate.

Thankfully, I also learned a wise approach from an experienced filmmaker to help clients understand the cost of video production while still reaching their goals: Good-Better-Best. The concept is simple, but the results were profound.

For example, a potential client might want a 3-5 minute video with footage from another country, an A-list celebrity, or animation at PIXAR-level quality, unaware of the cost each entailed. Rather than develop a proposal only for what they requested, knowing it would far exceed an average nonprofit’s budget, we created a three-tiered approach with options that reached their ultimate goal at different levels of time and cost:

Good” was the most cost-effective approach to provide a quality result for the most reasonable price we could provide.

Better” outlined an approach with more “bells and whistles” that was more exciting and compelling, but also had a larger price tag.

Best” was our “here’s what you could do if you had an incredibly robust budget” approach. This option often included what they’d first envisioned without knowing the price tag. While this option was often a stretch, we were still realistic; the types of good causes we took on meant we knew better than to prepare a Hollywood-level “sky’s-the-limit” type approach that would be irresponsible for most non-profit organizations.

In 2024, while AI changes the process (and cost) of creating video, it won’t change the fact I still use Good-Better-Best in all of my mission-driven work. Whether requesting an RFP (Request for Proposal) from a potential contractor or coaching a new advocacy communications professional, Good-Better-Best provides clearer perspective of our options as we determine what time, talent, and funding to put toward a project.

After all, when you work on important issues – as so many mission-driven organizations across the country and around the world do – it’s understandable to want to give everything your all. When you care about a cause, the words “good enough” may feel cringeworthy or sound like giving up.

While our passion for a cause may be endless, the reality is our team’s time is finite. Our ideas may reach to the stars, but most organization’s budgets do not. Stories Change Power helps mission-driven organizations make smart use of their time, talent, and funds, as we address in the eighth of our Nine Rights: Right Approach.

I’ve witnessed stress levels decrease and heard sighs of relief when using this approach and deciding as a group that we need a “good” approach for projects 1 and 2 and “better” for project 3, so that we can do “best” on project 4.

Encouraging a “Good-Better-Best” approach is a proven way to make informed choices amidst competing priorities while acknowledging other possibilities you’d consider if time, bandwidth, and funding allowed.

Always having the desire to do our best when we're advocating for a just, equitable, and peaceful world is a good thing. Always expecting ourselves or our team to achieve “best” when we don’t have enough time, bandwidth, or funding to do so is not.

- Piper Hendricks, Founder & CEO

Photo of three high-rise buildings taken by Andrés Gómez.

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