Saving lives with more effective organ donor recruitment


Client: US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)

How can we convince more Americans to become organ and tissue donors?


Emergency room doctors revealed — to everyone’s surprise — that the donor check box on a driver’s license almost never influences an organ donation decision. Armed with this insight, we created the first national email campaign for enrolling organ and tissue donors online. The campaign included:

  • A secure website for enrolling donors developed using best-practices from behavioral psychology, human-centered design, and in-person donor recruiting.  We transformed the process of becoming a potential donor into a 30-second proposition
  • Functionality for quickly and easily emailing friends and family about the decision to become a donor. According to physicians, the wishes of surviving friends and family are the driving factor behind organ donations
  • Email messaging developed from research and refined by testing
  • Leveraging the employee networks of dozens of major US corporations. Corporate campaign partners emailed employees a link to our website, asking them to consider registering online as an organ donor
  • Targeting to boost participation among low income and minority populations.


Combined with a campaign that engaged US transplant hospitals, we helped make it possible to transplant 4,146 more organs in 2006 than in 2003.  The campaign’s success was covered extensively in the Wall Street Journal.