DonateLife: To donate life, discuss it today – OK

Challenge: Over 1,700 Australians are on the official organ and tissue transplant waiting list[1] – many will die waiting. Despite widespread public support, Australia’s family consent rate for organ and tissue donation to proceed is just 56%. A six-week advertising campaign ‘To donate life, discuss it today – OK’ was aimed at increasing the number of Australians who have discussed their organ donation wishes with their loved ones. Our challenge was to provide opportunities to deepen the discussion and get the community talking about the issue. We needed to reinforce the advertising campaign’s call to action.

Insight: Experience showed us that using donor families to tell their story was a powerful vehicle for motivating people to think about organ donation and then have a conversation with their families. Case studies also provided strong media interest. Therefore opportunities were created for Australians to share their stories online and in traditional media and at a grassroots level. Our approach was that mass media plus community outreach would result in many more discussions.

Campaign: The campaign was launched by the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with a high profile donor family representative being widely featured in the media. Stakeholder briefings were held and community leaders were sent “call to action” kits to extend the campaign’s reach and encourage their involvement. Talk programs on radio and TV were targeted as were media doctors.

A social media campaign was implemented to dovetail with the mainstream advertising campaign and media relations initiatives. It provided the opportunity for real people to have discussions online, creating a burgeoning online DonateLife community. The campaign involved education and engagement strategies working across federal government agencies, state health departments and local governments.

Results: Campaign results included levels of family discussion increasing by 10%, of which 83% were rated by respondents as memorable conversations. Knowledge of family member’s wishes increased by 7%. Over 32,000,000 Australians were reached via extensive print, broadcast and online media publicity during the campaign. Social media activity was very successful with Facebook fans increasing 1,080 per cent during the campaign. DonateLife Twitter followers increased by 50% during the campaign period. Ninety five events promoted the campaign  and supporting activities were implemented by local councils, schools, GPs, hospitals and medical centres and Rotary, Lions and Probus groups.

[1] Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry –