The thankful-est ever St. Jude Thanks and Giving®
Know how you really lay into the accelerator just as you head ‘round a curve? Well, that’s how we approached the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign this year. (That tire squeal? Yeah. Us.) We’ve been zipping along at a decent clip with this massive 50-partner fundraiser for a while now – 18 years(!). The actual number felt worthy of a callout – that’s like centuries in campaign years.
But feeling the pressure of skyrocketing operating costs and kids who desperately need treatment and care, we mapped our route from Crazy Big Audience to Crazy Huge Audience, and we knew we needed to get there ASAP. So we went down two new paths to get the word out faster – introducing more robust employee engagement resources and tools for front-line associates, and #TheThankfulEffect, a UGC social effort to get people to honor who and what they’re thankful for along with a special donation to St. Jude.
Sooo first, the partner program. Since 2004, St. Jude has rallied influencers, celebrities, the media, dozens of brands and thousands of their customers in a phenomenal, coast-to-coast show of support for the ever-worthy St. Jude mission: Finding cures. Saving children.® We’ve seen participation quadrupl-i-ply from just a handful of brand partners to close to 50 today.
From table-servers to CSRs, these employers’ front lines are critical to the success of the campaign – the most powerful and personal channel we have for sharing the St. Jude story. They’re interacting with customers daily in-store and digitally. And when they are enthusiastic and clearly all-in, customers pick up on that and respond accordingly. (“Mirroring” in psychology-speak. “Brand evangelism” in marketing-speak.)
Because there’s been so much turnover in the workforce – even brands who’ve supported St. Jude for years may have a whole new crew unfamiliar with the hospital and campaign. Because the front line is so crucial to the success of the campaign, we’ve ramped up the employee engagement element – giving associates a launch video and personal commitment cards, talking points and post templates they can customize and add to their own social feed. There are tools to equip them with St. Jude messaging and coach them on convo-starters, so they feel more comfortable chatting with customers about the campaign. And after the holidays, they’ll receive a wrap-up and thank you notes from their CEOs and St. Jude so they know how much their individual efforts are appreciated.
In order to best leverage word of mouth, we’re launching a social media challenge driven by a strong UGC component. More on this to come. (Yep, you qualify as the U in UGC.) Stay tuned and please do jump in once you see it on your social media feeds. Thanks in advance. We’re forever grateful.