All abstracts are organized by track and listed in alphabetical order by title.

Engaging Casino Partners to Communicate Donate Life Messaging

Donor Network West Featured Image


Candee Candler, Community Development Liaison, Donor Network West

Purpose: Public Education efforts do not stop at health fairs and presentations. That is why this OPO partnered with a chain of casinos to promote donation education. The purpose of collaborating with a casino partner in the Workplace Partnership for Life program was to engage people as they went about their daily lives, to provide donation information when they least expected it. The target audience is people who may not normally attend a health fair or organized speaking engagement, and to provide donor information and Donate Life branding to a broad base of people using high foot-traffic areas to convey our message. Collaborating with this casino provided an innovative way to participate in the Workplace Partnership for Life program, outside of the traditional hospital setting.

Methods: The casino chain implemented the following activities: • Allowed OPO to host tablings in casino properties in high foot traffic area; • Casino lit in signature Donate Life colors throughout the month of April; • Showcased mobile “Wall of Hope” featuring stories of donation in its properties; • Shined Donate Life gobo to show large logo onto a ceiling of casino throughout April; • Casino employee health clinic offers brochures and posters about donation in English, Spanish and Tagalog; • Participation in promotion offering discounts to patrons who show they are registered donors on driver’s license.

Results: The tablings received dozens of visitors. Because of the nature of the casino environment, many individuals stopped to learn if we were running a promotion and ended up engaging in conversation and dispelling common myths. The two tablings resulted in 17 donor registrations and handing out a multitude of brochures about donation. The casino properties were thrilled with the opportunity to receive the Workplace Partnership for Life plaque at the Platinum level and created a photo opportunity event where its leadership team officially received the plaque. This photo was placed on the casino Twitter (8,200 followers) as well as OPO social media platforms.

Conclusion: Catching the general public when they are least expecting it is an opportunity to have candid discussions with people who may not normally consider themselves interested in hearing about health education topics. Displaying stories of hope, combined with branding and face-to-face interactions to dispel common myths created a winning combination that resulted in an engaged community partner committed to doing even more next year to promote Donate Life, and engage local and regional people.

Engagement and Partnership in the African American Muslim Community

Gift of Life Donor Program Feat Img


Leslie Jean-Mary, Multicultural Outreach Coordinator, Gift of Life Donor Program

Purpose: One of the top reasons why people say “no” to organ and tissue donation is because they believe it is against their religion. In this OPO’s region, the Muslim population is the highest growing with nearly 50 mosques serving over 200,000 Muslims. In this service area, many African American Muslims have declined organ/tissue donation because they believe it is against their religion. Even though previous outreach was conducted in the Muslim community through health fairs and presentations, stronger efforts to work directly with area imams (faith leader) at mosques with African American attendees became a priority. While attending a health summit, a staff member met a public health educator who is an African American of Muslim faith. Through friendly and candid conversation, they began discussing organ and tissue donation and some of the reasons there are declines by this community. Reasons for declines included the following: against their religion and/or a family’s decision is influenced by their Imam.

Methods: • Securing a partnership with local sheikh who is a published academic, instructor of Islamic studies and comparative religion as well as being highly respected in the region and beyond to partner with OPO by addressing the Muslim community • Meeting with sheikh to educate on issue • Meeting with local imams • Educational sessions were held in targeted areas (where declines are highest). Sessions included panel discussions with famous rapper from region, Christian donor mother who donated her Muslim son’s tissue, a Muslim man who received a liver from the Catholic donor family and a Muslim son who donated a portion of his liver to his father.

Results: By providing education about the importance of organ and tissue donation, hearing testimonies from people in their community and having a sheikh interpret the permissibility according to Quran, OPO was able to: • Educate 29 local Imams • Host four community education sessions at prominent mosques in region with over 600 people of Muslim faith in attendance • Increase knowledge in permissibility and donor registrations

Conclusion: Providing education to Muslim leaders, imams and congregants on organ and tissue donation by having an expert from the Muslim community interpret the Quran as it relates to the permissibility is vital. In addition, educating OPO staff on working with Muslim families is equally important. Future involvement: family’s imam and funeral director that handle funeral/janazah will bring more education, dispel myths and allow for increase in donation within African American Muslim community.

How a Small Team Can Increase Awareness of Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation and Transplantation by Maximizing Content Reach



Andrea Smith, Director of PR/Communications, Donor Alliance

Purpose: This study looked at how to maximize and streamline the content a small team is able to create by increasing reach and awareness without an overwhelming content calendar.

Methods: • We analyzed our published content and current market research, and used tools like Google Keyword Planner to identify and understand what type of information our target audiences were interested in and what questions they were asking. • We examined how current events change what audiences are searching for and how often to assess content topics to account for those changes. • We evaluated content engagements across distribution channels to see which pieces of content performed best.

Results: • Traffic increased 175% year-over-year, while maintaining a manageable cadence of one new piece of content a week. • This was accomplished by focusing on publishing content that was determined to be most useful to our audiences based on our analysis, which included: • Our topics were in-line with what audiences wanted, but had too much industry jargon. We needed to adjust to phrase content to match how audiences were searching for it, not what we thought they should be searching. • Most of our content applied to our entire service area, but some large locations weren’t engaging unless it was hyperlocal to them. We started adding more content that was specific to and mentioned key locations by name, optimizing for longer-tail key words. • A one-size-fits all approach doesn’t always work. Some content performs best shared via social media, others via newsletters, etc.

Conclusion: • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Repurpose your content. We already had a lot of the information our analysis determined to be interesting to our audiences. It just needed to be optimized and streamlined for easier consumption. • Our team discovered it was best to assess our content calendar topics every quarter. • Many organizations already conduct research in their service area to inform other programs. That research is easy to also apply to and inform public content topics. • Content is king but distribution is queen. Content could be incredibly useful, but if the audience doesn’t see it, it doesn’t matter how good it is. Optimizing content is important, but it’s also important to optimize the channels in which that content is being shared.

Life Lift



Crysta McGee, Community Educator, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates


Shelley Snyder, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates

Purpose: Looking at our Eligible Death Registry Rate and other research, we know that engaging the next generation, multicultural communities, and males is vital. Research shows (a) people spend 32% of their time on their phones playing games, (b) Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to find positive attributes associated with video games and less likely to consider them a waste of time, (c) 33% of males ages 18-29 identify as “gamers”. It’s common knowledge that every Gen-Zer is attached to their phone. By creating a mobile game, we will stick in their minds long after our presentations. We will generate engagement through an entertaining game that showcases how organ donation saves lives. As people get hooked on the game, it will entice positive conversations and give them easy access to join the Registry. As nonprofits, we must embrace the rapid change towards digital education and conversations.

Methods: Working with a local agency, their developers created an entertaining mobile game to aide in educating and ultimately gaining additional sign-ups for the donor registry. The app teaches the urgency of donation including the crucial need and shortage of organs. The mobile game is a tool used in conjunction with existing community outreach programs including a high school challenge, volunteer, hospital, and DMV engagement. As with most OPO’s, we organize speaking engagements to present on the importance of donation. These presentations include general education as well as recipients telling their own story and ultimately engaging the audience to register to save lives. Our big change is to introduce the game – with a grand prize opportunity (ie: yeti cooler, $100 gift card, t-shirt). The audience downloads the game and plays to compete for the prize. This tactic allows for engagement beyond the speaking events and directly resonate with the target audience. We drew national media attention to the mission through an unveiling press conference.

Results: We estimate over $130,000 in media attention for unveiling the game. We have had 784 apple downloads and 217 Android downloads. It has been played 1,742 times on Apple and 13,866 on Android. Highest score of all time on apple is 10,383 and 12,521 on Android. 21 people have joined the National Registry for the first time, directly through the game. Thanks to a grant from Bridge to Life, Ltd., we invested $50,000 to create the game. All OPO’s are welcome to use the game and strategy.

Conclusion: From our initial launch, our conclusion is that digital innovation is key to the next generation, but every age can be motivated to win a grand prize. We are all busy and distracted. Simply speaking once to a room full of people does not keep this mission top-of-mind enough. By offering prizes for downloads and playing, they continue thinking about this mission for hours, or days, after we are gone. Our positive message of the urgent need for organs is reinforced over and over again on their favorite distraction - their beloved mobile phone.

Organ and Tissue Donation Education for Transplant Patients Staying at a Transplant Hospitality House Leads to Successful Cornea Donation



Talia Giordano, LCSW, Manager, Family Services and Caregiver Lifeline, Gift of Life Family House


Larry Suplee, Director, Transplant Information Center, Gift of Life Donor Program

Jan L. Weinstock, esq., Vice President and General Counsel, Gift of Life Donor Program

Rick D. Hasz, Vice President of Clinical Services, Gift of Life Donor Program

Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO, Gift of Life Donor Program

Purpose: A transplant hospitality house (THH) serving multiple transplant centers is directly connected to its region’s Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) and offers formal education to transplant patients focusing on organ and tissue donation.

Methods: In 2017 THH conducted at 360° evaluation from the perspective of patients and families,), transplant hospitals, volunteers and financial donors, with the research question: “What is the impact of FH experience on transplant patients/families?” An outside IRB approved the study design, including the protocols and consents for a convenience sample of 71 participants interviewed in the course of 9 focus groups and 15 key informant interviews. The data was coded according to 30 study variables.

Results: The study found that in addition to improved overall health and wellbeing, transplant patients and their family consistently expressed an increased appreciation and understanding for the need for organ and tissue donation as a result of their experience at THH and many became advocates encouraging friends and families to register as organ and tissue donors. A case study following one patient during their stay at THH ending with successful cornea donation highlights the study’s findings. While staying at THH, the patient indicated to his family his desire to be an organ and tissue donor as a result of his experience. The patient later suffered a sudden cardiac event while at THH and the patient was pronounced dead after resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. The patient’s family informed THH staff of the patient’s wish to be a donor and staff contacted the OPO to report the death. OPO coordinators arrived at THH to discuss tissue donation with the family and complete the authorization process. The patient was eligible for cornea donation and was transported to the OPO for cornea recovery. The corneas were used to restore sight to two patients.

Conclusion: The donation outcome for this case can be attributed to the knowledge and support of donation by THH staff and the relationship THH has with the OPO. This outcome highlights the importance of providing organ and tissue donation education to THH patients. Future studies are needed to better understand the most effective approaches for increasing donation education for transplant patients and the impact of those donations on registrations and donation outcomes.

Public Launch for the Donate Life Girl Scout Patch

Donor Network West Featured Image


Candee Candler, Community Development Liaison, Donor Network West

Purpose: The sponsorship and public launch of the Donate Life Girl Scout patch during National Donate Life Month highlighted the availability of a free patch for Girl Scouts to earn as they learned about organ, eye and tissue donation. The Girl Scouts organization is eager to market itself as offering Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities to girls. Customizing a patch program with the local Girl Scouts council provided age-appropriate information about biology and careers in transplantation. Securing a sponsor for the patch program allowed the patch to be earned at no charge to girls, offer a cash donation to Girl Scouts, and create a public relations opportunity to bring community-wide attention to the patch.

Methods: The following methods were implemented: • Sponsorship proposal created with the purpose of finding an organization interested in providing patches to girls with the promise of media outreach; • OPO collaborated with the Girl Scouts to create a customized patch guide, branded with the sponsor logo; • A local Girl Scouts family touched by donation was approached about sharing their story at the patch launch; • Exclusive media was offered to a television station to ensure coverage of the event; • A launch event was held featuring OPO leadership, sponsor leadership, the unveiling of a giant image of the patch and displaying OPO and sponsor logos, and refreshments featuring the Donate Life logo.

Results: A $2,000 sponsorship was secured allowing for the purchase of 200 patches and covering hard costs for the launch. The launch was featured on local television by the exclusive media partner. Within one month of the launch, all 200 patches had been claimed and there was a waitlist of interested troops. The original sponsor was so pleased by the launch and touched after learning of an employees’ personal connection to donation, they then purchased 500 additional patches for area girls.

Conclusion: The earned media coverage promoted the existence of the patch, and highlighted donation during National Donate Life Month. By taking an existing program and creating an opportunity for sponsorship and a media launch, the OPO achieved its goal of providing benefits for all parties involved in this program, including the Girl Scouts organization, the sponsor, and the Girl Scouts themselves who will learn about donation. At least 700 girls in the community and their troop leaders will learn about donation due to this program.

Replicating the DMV Impact: Creating Portals to the Registry in Non-Governmental Settings



Shelley Snyder, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates

Purpose: Companies and nonprofits want to help the mission of organ donation. When they express this, our answer should not be to create a health fair booth or banner. Although those may educate, they are not directly asking thousands of people to add their name to the Registry every day. The success of the driver’s license process and impact can be replicated in a business or nonprofit setting. When choosing the right partner, it is important to examine their audience, train their staff, and hone our message to be heard positively from this trusted source. Our hypothesis is that this partnership can both increase the number of registered donors from a particular audience and create a new and collaborative relationship for community benefit.

Methods: We considered the eligible death referral rate and our targeted audience. We found an established, respected nonprofit who serves veterans, treats addiction, and supports homeless. This population is likely to not have a driver’s license and may not consider themselves “allowed” to register as a donor due to past medical history, etc. The need to educate this audience and provide easy access to the Registry is vital. We created the first non-governmental portal to the Registry in our state. We pulled together key leaders and staff from both the OPO and the nonprofit organization. We trained the nonprofit’s Board, leadership, and staff in the importance of donation and asking the questions to all clients. The IT teams made the Registry question available to remind direct service providers to ask every client during intake, phasing, and graduation from the program. We drew media attention to both missions and this innovative collaboration in our community.

Results: We trained over 200 leaders during team retreats and Board Meetings. Within the first two weeks of launching the portal, 100 clients, leaders, and staff joined the National Organ Donor Registry. Since then, 162 total have joined through this portal. We estimate $30,000 in media attention from the launch.

Conclusion: Our conclusion is that creating portals to the Registry does not require legislation. Finding partners willing to add the question to their screens for clients, customers and staff is a viable and vital way to grow the Registry, especially with a targeted audience. Companies and nonprofits want to help the mission of organ donation, and we need their help. When we are approached by a new partner, who is a fit, we should ask: “Where can we add the Registry question on your screens/forms to reach the most people?”

Senior Center Outreach



Sharon Cindrich, Director of Communications & Public Relations, Lifeline of Ohio


Jessica Petersen, Media and Public Relations Coordinator, Lifeline of Ohio

Lauren Stevens, Manager of Community Outreach, Lifeline of Ohio

Purpose: To deliver public education to the senior citizen population on organ, eye and tissue donation.

Methods: Our OPO designed a program to offer education to senior centers in our service area wherein trained volunteers present the facts on organ, eye and tissue donation and how anyone of any age has the potential to save and heal lives. Our OPO took a three-pronged approach to this hypothesis: • We created a PowerPoint presentation and tailored all written materials, giveaway items and flyers to this audience. • We selected and trained a core group of trusted volunteers to educate seniors on donation. • We contacted all of the senior centers in our service area to offer our educational services and asked to come to their next meeting or gathering to provide outreach.

Results: Thus far, we have completed 14 presentations at senior centers within our service area. We have also gained valuable contacts and spread worthwhile information to people who would not have had the opportunity to get this information without us coming to them.

Conclusion: Senior citizens respond well when spoken to, face-to-face, regarding donation.

The Pray Project

FLMP Life Alliance


Jessica Fisher, Communications Coordinator, Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency (LAORA)


Nicole Adams Lergier, Director Business Development, LAORA

Purpose: An Organ Procurement Organization’s Designated Service Area can present unique challenges. DSAs served are all uniquely diverse with ethnic and faith-based cultural norms that are not always favorable toward organ donation. Our OPO conducted a DMAIC project to determine the cause of consent declines and found that, a families’ religious beliefs is among the most common reason for these declines. Based on the data reviewed, it was determined that there has been a significant increase in declines for religious beliefs, as much as 20+% per year. Opportunities for innovation and collaboration exist to decrease these numbers, the data illustrated openings to more effectively connect with faith-based leaders and the public. In order to strengthen our relationship with faith-based leaders in our community, the Pray Project was born. The project pairs faith-leaders (volunteers) who are passionate about donation with potential donor families who are conflicted about consenting to donation due to religion. One of the goals of this project is to cease the steady increase in declines for the first-year, then decease to numbers by 20% for years two and three.

Methods: Although the project is still in the preliminary stages, the first phase of the study and subsequent roll out was accomplished through a series of methods – • Comparison of decline rate data to demographics determined the most common DSA religions. • Faith leaders who are both passionate about donation and who are willing to counsel to families via telephone/facetime, with the goal of going on-site within the next year, were approached to be a part of the project. • Volunteers have completed training that teaches them about our OPO (mission, vision and values), the basics of organ donation and their role in the process. • The volunteers provided the OPO a monthly schedule of their availability to be shared with the approach teams.

Results: The project volunteers have tapped into their networks to provide a broader reach into the communities served. They will be partnered with OPO staff as well as other members of the hospital teams to implement the program. We currently have representation from the volunteer base in five of the six counties served (a total population of more than 6 million).

Conclusion: Based on our preliminary results, we have determined that the Pray Project will be one of the corner-stones of our faith-based outreach program. This unique program will foster a mutually beneficial relationship with the faith-based community and our OPO.

Video Storytelling Increases Engagement Across Multiple Platforms

Gift of Life Donor Program Feat Img


Alicia Callahan, Manager, Digital Media Specialist, Gift of Life Donor Program

Purpose: Storytelling is key to engaging audiences on social media and sharing the life-changing benefits of organ and tissue donation. Our organization has found that video is the most compelling vehicle to connect emotionally with digital audiences. In order to increase our digital engagement, we created several new, compelling videos to share via social media advertising and drive more traffic to our website, thus registering more individuals as organ donors.

Methods: In order to create new, compelling content, we hired a video production company to film and produce videos featuring the incredible stories of some of our volunteer ambassadors. Fly on the Wall Productions shot and produced an overview “corporate” video for our organization which we then broke down into smaller testimonial pieces to be used in digital advertising. In order to increase the number of people reached by this video content, we used Facebook advertising to promote these “general awareness” videos throughout our designated service area. We set two goals for this initiative: 1. Increase ad reach by 50 percent. 2. Increase web traffic by 25 percent. To analyze the data, we compared the total number of people reached through “static” Facebook ads (photos, articles, etc.) to the total number reached through new video content. Both groups included 8 ad campaigns with similar budget and time period. We also used Google Analytics to compare average web traffic rates to the time periods when our video ads were running.

Results: As we hoped, we surpassed Goal 1 and increased ad reach by 165%. Static ads reached a total of 226,809 people and with video content a whopping 601,187. We also surpassed Goal 2 by increasing web traffic 29.3%. The new video ad campaigns ran for an average 16.875 days resulting in 8,036 users to the website. Normal web traffic saw 6,215 users over 16.875 days.

Conclusion: We have learned over and over that the human impact of donation carries immense power. Storytelling is far more moving than all the statistics in the world. We are grateful to the families and individuals who volunteer to talk about the most personal times of their lives in an effort to save others. Incorporating these videos into our digital outreach as well as community outreach allows us to tell multiple stories and perspectives in a cost-effective manner. These stories move hearts and minds on and offline.