ConnectLife: Making an Urgent Appeal for Blood Donations During a Pandemic

ConnectLife, Western New York’s only community blood center and federally designated organ, eye, and tissue procurement agency, has always emphasized the life-saving difference we can all make to our neighbors and in our community by joining their donor network. That was before COVID-19 knocked our world to the canvas. With blood levels already low, our global pandemic amplified the urgent need for blood. And while many businesses were forced to suspend or greatly alter their services to accommodate these challenging times, ConnectLife needed to do even more to supply area hospitals with blood for their one in seven patients that needed it.

A Severe Blood Shortage in WNY

While depleting blood levels presented an alarming situation without consistent appointments to replenish the supply, all bets were off when the coronavirus hit. Specifically, scheduled donation appointments were being cancelled and hospitals began postponing surgeries with such a low blood supply to rely on. So, ConnectLife challenged FARM as their marketing partner to help with one very specific and timely ask: Help fill our shelves back up with blood donations in WNY.

On the surface, it sounded like a simple ask: Tug at our community’s heart strings and motivate our neighbors to give a donation that costs nothing at all. However, our national competitor was also in our backyard pleading for donations from a community already scared to leave their homes. Do we go with the trusted “scare tactic” to convey just how urgent this need is? Do we tread lightly when emotions are already high? We knew there had to be a middle ground to hammer home the severity of the situation without exacerbating an already chaotic time.

An Emotional Plea During a Pandemic

In just a few days, FARM developed and launched a call-for-donations campaign using video content across broadcast and streaming television, social platforms, organized blood drives in empty corporate partner parking lots, broadcast radio, as well as community bonus inventory that our media partners donated to the cause. Almost immediately, phones started ringing, appointments were made, and donations were literally flowing.

However, with an unprecedented pandemic comes unexpected complications. Because social distancing dictated that fewer donors could be together at one time, appointments needed to be scheduled accordingly. With time slots in the near term suddenly filled, we had to be nimble and adjust our messaging to communicate the ongoing—rather than urgent—need for blood, so donors could make appointments further out in time.

To learn more about partnering with FARM, drop us a line! We’d be happy to provide some fresh perspective to improve your marketing strategy.

We’re in This Together

In Western New York when one of us is down, we step up. We’ve seen this time and again during record-breaking snowstorms, charitable drives, and on countless occasions when the “City of Good Neighbors” rose to the occasion to support each other. ConnectLife reminds us that we shouldn’t wait for the next tragedy to take action, that there are people who need our help every day. While a global pandemic has a massive impact on us all, we still have control over our own actions as we seek ways to help others. As an organization, if you have an important ask of the community but you’re wavering on the best approach, we can help craft the right message, through the right channel, at the right time to tell your story. With awareness and our inherent nature to do good, together we can be a part of the solution.

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