Compassion Journey Q&A with Jake Kaufman

Hear from our director of strategy about how we used storytelling, design and empathy to bring this special initiative to life.

The global pandemic presented a challenge for our client Compassion International—a nonprofit whose sponsorship model has helped 1.9 million children worldwide. COVID restrictions on group gatherings forced the nonprofit to transform its immersive in-person experience into an online experience that still felt authentic and real. As a humanitarian aid organization, it didn't have the option to sit back and wait for the pandemic to pass. Children need help today, so the online experience had to appeal to people's hearts and minds.  

Lead strategist Jake Kaufman and video producer Craig Pentak were tasked with leveraging existing footage and narration to create an immersive online experience that takes viewers inside the journey of a child growing up in a developing country. 

Learn more about the project and the secrets to success from Jake.

Why did Compassion want to create this experience?

Before the COVID-19 lockdown, the Compassion Journey was a physical experience typically involving a semi-truck that travels the United States and sets up in a community for a few days. Within the truck’s trailer is a realistic representation of a developing country's environment where participants step into the environment to experience the story of a child growing up in that setting. Over the past several years, the experience served as a successful channel for the brand, driving many conversions by inspiring people to sponsor a child. With COVID-19 halting tours, Compassion turned to Adept to take the power of the experience from the parking lot to hundreds of thousands of living rooms around the country. 

What's the most exciting thing about this project?

There's a lot of creativity and ingenuity throughout the project, and I'm so proud of how we collaborated with the Compassion team. This project is a testament to their vision and passion. From ideas that added just the right flourish to coding solutions that enabled us to execute a big idea online, it's pretty incredible to assess what was needed to bring this experience to life. 

One great feature is how we brought real-time stats and information into the experience. As you zoom into each country, you see the current weather, time, languages, and more for that country. But at the heart of the experience is the story of a real woman who grew up in poverty in a developing country and received help from a Compassion sponsor. As a result, she graduated college and is now leading change in her community. I'm most proud that we didn't distract from her story because it is powerful and beautiful on its own.


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What was the biggest challenge on this project?

There were many challenges, both creatively and technically. It took a coordinated effort to plot the story to ensure that the appropriate sounds and visuals were displaying at the right time. And we had to consistently consider accessibility to ensure that the experience was able to be appreciated by all audiences. 

Overall, we felt an immense responsibility to ensure the final product was authentic and genuine and didn't distract the viewer from the story. We obsessed over each second so that text appeared where needed and that background sounds were correct. By collaborating with the Compassion team, we were able to weave together the proper footage to evoke feelings of empathy and a desire to help.

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What unique insights did Adept leverage to bring this experience to life? 

Compassion has been a client of Adept's for nine years, and a few of us have even visited Compassion Centers abroad. Having a vested interest in this nonprofit made the work very personal. We understand what's riding on the organization's success because we've seen firsthand the results of their efforts. We used our personal experiences and insights to go beyond what's typically featured in a creative brief. We mapped out a journey that appealed to the viewer's emotions while delivering a seamless online experience. 

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What did this project teach us that’s worth repeating in the future? 

This project presented an opportunity for our internal team to collaborate in new ways. We bootstrapped it with low-fidelity ideas and examples, added some more flesh, and tweaked it to create the final product. I think our iterative approach helped us execute quickly and the final product speaks for itself. We couldn’t have done it without the trust and support of the Compassion team.

Head to the Compassion Journey website to see the work and experience Patience's journey for yourself.

[See the Work]