After Christmas, I went to Best Buy and picked up the Insignia 5.0MP Digital Camcorder. I wanted to try getting into video and thought we could find some cool ways to use it with the youth ministry at my church. It was on sale and I got it at a great price – but when I got home, I realized that a lot of people get products for free to review on their sites. Generally they have to return them to the company after reviewing them, but I wondered, “What if I could convince the company that it would be better for them to let me keep the product and let the youth play around with them and use the camcorders?” So, off I went to a variety of company’s websites, tracking down email addresses for PR and Marketing Execs.
I eventually decided to try for 3 camcorders: the Flip minoHD, the Creative Vado HD and the Insignia 5.0MP Digital Camcorder. I wrote up my letter and began emailing it and making phone calls. And, to my surprise, the companies were amazing. The folks at Flip Video were the first to respond, and I had mine within a few days of my initial email. They said I should definitely keep the product and put it to good use. A few days later I had a great conversation with someone at Best Buy’s Corporate offices; they assured me they’d get the camcorder out to me, and since they used to be in youth ministry as well, they said I should definitely keep the product since “we know churches don’t have a ton of money.” And then, just a few days later, I received a similar response from someone at Creative who thought what I was doing was a cool idea and again, I should definitely feel free to keep the product. I’ll be putting up some reviews of these cameras – which so far, I think are all great and would be the perfect thing for anyone’s youth ministry.
Many companies (if you talk/write to the right person) are more than willing to try some creative stuff to get out information about their products. And they are very willing to help out church groups with deals like this. Maybe I just got lucky and this will never happen to me again. But with a little persistence and follow-up, I think it could definitely be possible for you as well.