T4Youth is a charity table tennis tournament for Chicago’s tech and fintech companies.
In 2014, 3Points and one of our clients, tech recruiting firm Objective Paradigm (OP), were both looking for a meaningful and exciting way for the city’s tech industry to give back to the greater Chicago community. Ryan Pollock, partner and founder of OP, suggested using table tennis, a shared passion amongst Chicago tech offices, as the starting point.
A few months later, we established T4Youth, a charity-based table tennis tournament comprised of Chicago’s finance and tech companies. In addition to supporting a good cause, this event would be an opportunity for the tech community to network and compete together.
After careful consideration, we chose the Chicago Tech Academy as the worthy beneficiary of the tournament’s proceeds. The Chicago Tech Academy (ChiTech) is a nonprofit, contract high school located in University Village that was founded to educate, empower, and connect a diverse next generation of entrepreneurial and tech leaders through real-world learning and STEM curriculum. The school currently enrolls 300 students from across the city, posting a graduation rate of 81%, with 40% pursuing post-secondary education in the STEM field.
Since its founding, T4Youth has become an annual event. 3Points has served on the organizing committee each year and has helped on a variety of fronts, including project management, sponsorships, social media, and day-of logistics. Given our expertise, we’ve also powered the PR for the event.
In its first year, the event was marketed primarily through photos spread across Twitter and Facebook. While this produced satisfactory results, we were determined to continue to innovate and set up even greater success for future events. As we began pitching the event to more teams and sponsors, we realized that utilizing audio and video would provide a better sense of the event and experience.
For T4Youth 2015, we created a “recap video” that captured the eclectic nature and atmosphere of the event to help pique the interest of prospective participants and sponsors. We concepted and storyboarded the video in advance, filmed at the event, and edited the video post-event.
The positive feedback we received from that initial video sparked momentum to expand our efforts in 2016. With new marketing goals in mind, we decided to create two videos highlighting T4Youth. First, we produced and edited a video detailing a brief account of the 2016 event’s success through statistical illustrations. This video was intended to serve as a “hook,” getting viewers interested with quick stats. It was also made with social media sharing in mind, running for just over one minute and relying on visuals more than audio.
Next, we produced a more elaborate video recapping the 2016 event, which included interviews from participants, sponsors, and volunteers. This video provided more context for the statistics in the first video, showcasing why companies participated and demonstrating the impact of the fundraising.
The videos have become the main marketing vehicle for the event and have contributed to a significant increase in gross revenue. In its first year, the tournament raised $50,000 with 24 participating companies. Growth continued in the second year, with a jump to $80,000 and 32 participating companies. In 2016, we hit triple digits, raising $101,000 with 42 teams.
The videos have received positive feedback from both current and prospective participants, and the view counts continue to climb. Cumulatively, the three videos have a combined total of over 900 views. Moreover, almost 10% of video views have come from search engines, indicating that people are finding and watching the videos outside of our direct efforts to promote them.
[UPDATE: The videos helped T4Youth grow even more in Year Four, as T4Youth 2017 expanded to 52 teams and over 450 attendees. The videos were widely distributed as we made a final recruiting push during the lead up to the event, and we saw our biggest period of sustained viewership. Combined, our two 2016 videos were viewed over 150 times in the two weeks prior to the tournament, and we also produced a new video on ChiTech that was viewed 137 times prior to the event.]
The Chicago Tech Academy (ChiTech) appreciates the efforts put forth by T4Youth in supporting our students’ futures. We are encouraged by the continued growth of the tournament, and in its fourth year, we’re looking forward to the Chicago tech community coming together to give back, continue to promote diversity and foster opportunities for the next generation of tech talent.
– Lance Russell, CEO of Chicago Tech Academy