Tuesday Blink: A Fundraising Gimmick That Works

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Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre--Main Lobby in the M Wing
The main lobby in the M Wing.

I went to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for a meeting earlier this month. Traveling by inter-hospital bus was faster than I expected. I ended up with 10 minutes to kill.

So I has a look around.

And in the lobby, I noticed this rather curious piggy bank.

Finding creative ways to educate people about your organization is a crucial piece of any communications strategy and one that’s easy to overlook.

We all get so familiar with our jargon that it gets internalized until it feels obvious and completely essential. Seeing your organization with fresh eyes is a real challenge.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Fundraising Display
Apparently, there’s another one of these banks in the building that separates out donations given to the different specializations so you can tell at a glance what resonates with people.

But if you want people to open their wallets, trust and understanding are big factors in the equation.

As fundraising gimmicks go, this human piggy bank is pretty brilliant.

I like it because:

  • It’s fun. Sunnybrook’s team has taken what could be dry-as-dirt (e.g., “our core areas of medical focus” or something like that) and made it dynamic.
  • The information is separated into digestible chunks that tell me just enough without boring me.
  • Colour helps guide my eye through the display and is used with meaning.
  • It’s eye-catching. It certainly caught my attention while I was lolling around the lobby.
  • It provokes interaction. Having the different slots tied to body parts and the program descriptions invites me to choose which area is most meaningful to me.
  • It’s applicable. Looking at the giant human silhouette, I can’t help but imagine myself as a beneficiary of Sunnybrook’s expertise. When you work in any kind of research, one of the biggest challenges you face is helping people to see themselves in your work. It’s easier in healthcare than, say, particle physics, but people get tired of hearing the same messages over and over. This display breaks through those scripts simply by being different.

I didn’t explore enough of the hospital to know whether they carry the same colour scheme across all their units.

Wouldn’t it be neat if pink was the accent colour for the Women & Babies Program on their website, as it is in the display? Or in physical signage and print materials for each care program?

It’s a quibble.

The real question is whether it’s working.

I’d say yes, wouldn’t you?

Sunnybrook Fundraising Success
Yeah, the couple you can see through the transparency were totally making out. #awkward