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#NCHfavorites: Social Fundraising

Ranked nationally in 10 pediatric specialties, Columbus’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) is among the best-of-the-best. However, at the end of each year, NCH finds itself competing against a barrage of organizations in the quest for dollars.

The hospital’s annual “Every Gift Matters” fundraising campaign highlights patient stories, particularly children who are on the road to recovery and ready to get back being a kid, playing in the snow and other “normal” activities. While the traditional marketing elements of the campaign – especially TV and print advertising – are extremely effective, the hospital had struggled to convert online fans/followers into donors. NCH knew that traditional fundraising best practices, including highly targeted outreach and personal relationships, would be equally important in executing a social fundraising campaign. They also knew that online audiences have a limited attention span, meaning the online aspect of “Every Gift Matters” needed to be concise and simple to participate.

That’s where Geben came in. NCH asked Geben to socialize “Every Gift Matters” by developing a creative campaign and assisting with execution of an online giving campaign centered on the following goals:

  • Increase donations from online communities
  • Engage a corporate sponsor
  • Tap into local online influencers’ personal networks
  • Expand Nationwide Kids’ local online footprint

CONCEPT
Between December 3-12, NCH encouraged people to share photos of their favorite things about the holidays on Instagram or Twitter, including the hashtag #NCHfavorites. Then, using Seen (a platform for managing Instagram and Twitter photo campaigns), participants received an automated comment directing them to “claim” their photo – a process that resulted in NCH acquiring their email address.

For every photo uploaded, Simple Bath Ohio donated $5 to the hospital. If users claimed their photo through Seen, that donation doubled.

EXECUTION
To build early momentum for the campaign, Geben and NCH recruited 15 local online influencers – including local photographers/Instagram-ers, parent bloggers and Columbus advocates – to share campaign details with their networks. Each influencer was equipped with a campaign kickoff image to upload to their social channels, as well as a one-page briefing document with facts and messaging about the hospital and the importance of donating.

NCH regularly shared campaign information from their own social media accounts, plus used Twitter and Instagram to interact with participants and engaged potential donors.

RESULTS
In just 12 days, 240 people uploaded more than 500 photos via Instagram and Twitter, resulting in a $5,000 donation from Simple Bath Ohio to the hospital. Plus, the #NCHfavorites hashtag reached 242,000 people on Instagram and more than 1.1 million people on Twitter, helping NCH expand its online footprint and connect with a new audience of potential donors.