Working on challenging, game-changing projects for recognizable clients is what typically keeps a consultant motivated. We’re not just focused on completing a project or task, but rather on enabling a client to achieve a “business” outcome. In the digital space, projects typically involve implementing strategies or solutions to help an organization reduce costs, to drive more sales and revenue, or to grow and transform. For example, it’s very satisfying to help a local university grow by enabling it to attract more students or to deploy a solution that enables the world’s largest retailer to operate more efficiently.
But it’s especially gratifying to play a part in initiatives that have a broad social impact. A great example is a series of projects we completed for two non-profit organizations focused on organ and tissue donation – The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland and Donate Life Maryland. Partnering with these organizations in their life saving mission is both a huge honor and a daunting responsibility. In our roles as consultants, marketers, designers, developers and architects, however, it is refreshing to be able to use our various skill sets to inspire this kind of social change.
Enabling the Living Legacy Foundation to celebrate the generous gifts of organ and tissue donors
The Living Legacy Foundation provides advocacy, family support, public and professional education, and is focused on enhancing the organ and tissue donation and distribution processes.
We began working with the Living Legacy Foundation in 2011 on a website overhaul. Their key challenge was that the existing website, while providing some basic information about the organization and its mission, did not effectively encourage visitors to become donors. Organ donation is certainly a tricky topic. On one hand, public attitudes toward the cause in general are highly favorable, but it’s a different story when it comes to taking the concrete step of actually becoming a donor. This is understandable. No one wants to think about their demise, nor do they want to plan what to do with their body or organs after death.
The Living Legacy Foundation’s objectives included convincing people of the lifesaving value of becoming organ and tissue donors and dispelling common myths that can discourage people from registering. The website was only one part of the marketing plan, but it was a key portal to the online donor registration process and the destination to which other outreach efforts funneled.
The redesigned site launched in 2012. The key strategy was to transform a previously dry website into a warm, engaging communications tool sharing the amazing stories of lives saved through the organ donation process. This strategy was achieved by illustrating to potential organ and tissue donors the outcomes of such gifts by highlighting real recipients’ deeply personal stories.
The site also addressed common misconceptions about the donor registration process – e.g., “If someone agrees to donate their organs and tissue, doctors won't work as hard to save their life.”
Why I became an organ donor – the Take a Minute, Save a Life campaign
Although the redesigned site was very successful, The Living Legacy Foundation did not stand idly by. A new campaign was launched in 2013 aimed at encouraging current organ donors to highlight why they made the decision to register. The approach for this initiative was to promote these stories, encouraging and inspiring others to register to become donors themselves. This campaign was called “Take a Minute, Save a Life” and consisted of a multi-channel marketing effort to promote the reasons why people make the decision to become organ donors.
The campaign kicked off during late summer of 2013 with a significant advertising push. The key conversion objectives were twofold: to drive current organ donors to the campaign microsite to share their stories via Facebook and Twitter, and to encourage prospective donors to register. Highlights of the microsite included:
- Developed using responsive design techniques, allowing visitors to engage and register from mobile devices and tablets as well as traditional computers
- Twitter and Facebook integration enabling new or existing donors to Tweet or post about their decision to become a donor
- Streamlined donor registration process
The Take a Minute Save a Life campaign was deemed a great success, driving both registrations and broader awareness, particularly through its social media integration features. The website was also recognized with a 2013 Web Marketing Association WebAward in the Non-Profit Standard of Excellence category.
Donate Life Maryland, making it simpler to register as an organ or tissue donor
My last example is a website revamp project for Donate Life Maryland, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and enhancing lives by registering organ, eye and tissue donors. This site is the gateway to the online organ donor registration process. The goals here were similar to The Living Legacy Foundation website redesign – to transform a site providing basic information and access to the donor registry into a much more dynamic and engaging experience.
Our objectives were to:
- Inspire site visitors to become organ donors by sharing the touching stories of past organ donors and organ recipients
- Clearly answer key prospective donor questions and dispel myths
- Make the registration process simple and efficient, regardless of the device or platform the visitor is using
Donate Life Maryland’s new website launched in the fall of 2013. It’s now very focused on telling stories rather than just conveying information. Of particular note is the Wall of Heroes sharing inspirational quotes from donors.
Why this matters
When we’re in the depths of working on projects, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the big picture goals. That’s why it’s good to step back periodically and truly consider the impact of our work - to realize that what we do for clients is really much more than just developing a strategy or building a website. We help them succeed by overcoming their most significant business challenges. And, in some cases, that literally means saving lives.