SickKids gives it 100% for 100 donors

A new "VS" campaign has a month-long focus on the goal of building a new operating suite.

SickKids VS 100 Today_Hartley

SickKids is using its newly launched “VS” platform for a new one-month fundraising approach.

The new Toronto-area campaign, “SickKids VS 100 Today,” has a goal of signing on 100 new donors per day for 30 days – enough to revamp one of its 11 outdated operating suites.

The crowdfunding-esque approach is a first for the organization, which generally sticks with trying to raise unrestricted, general funds for its work.

However, focusing on one specific, tangible result of money raised was important for this campaign, says Lori Davison, VP, brand strategy and communications at SickKids Foundation. Being such a large organization, some people don’t realize where exactly the money is going and unlike other non-profits, it’s tough to see a well being built, so to speak.

The campaign officially launches Nov. 20 and will centre on a new 30-second TV spot featuring Hartley, a patient who has been through 17 surgeries in his young life. Energetic in tone, the ad is meant to shed light on the benefits that a new operating area could have.

Online, SickKids is using a 360-degree VR video to take viewers on a guided tour of both an older operating suite and a state-of-the art one with Dr. Christopher Caldarone, surgeon-in-chief at SickKids.

The push will also include the 15-second broadcast spots from the “VS” anthem and OOH with the specific call-to-action around the “SickKids VS 100 Today” theme. A takeover of Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport will also be particularly important, as that’s where the organization has seen an uptake in monthly donor sign-ups, likely because they have time to engage, Davison says.

The entire campaign will be supported through NewsTalk 1010 through the month, with the station holding a radiothon on Dec. 20, where SickKids hopes to announce it’s reached its fundraising goal.

At launch, with its “SickKids VS Undeniable” anthem spot, the campaign did spark some controversy, in part with people who thought the new creative was too violent.

As the campaign has rolled out, though, that’s been dialed down (the second spot in the campaign, “SickKids VS Cancer,” took a more subdued approach), Davison says. A social media audit has also found that for every one negative comment about the campaign, there are 10,000 positive ones, she adds.

SickKids works with Cossette on creative and OMD on media.