25,000 New Dutch Organ Donors Recruited Through Social Media

By Megan O'Neill Comment

Dutch social network Hyves recruited an impressive number of new organ donors this year via a campaign they ran on their site for the Dutch Transplantation Foundation. The campaign consisted of a profile widget, which allowed users to ask their friends whether or not they would save their life if they could. The result? 25,000 new organ donors.

So how did this campaign work, exactly? Starting in April of this year, Hyves reached out to their users, who number nearly 10 million, and asked them a simple question – would they save the life of one of their loved ones? They asked the question via a personal gadget, which users were invited to embed on their profiles. When a user installs the gadget (which you can view here if you have a Hyves account) it asked if they are an organ donor. If the user says “yes” then it asks if they would like to display the widget on your profile. If the user says “no” then it asks if they would like to become an organ donor. In this way, the campaign got 25,000 users to sign up as organ donors who had not previously agreed to donate their organs.

Once the gadget is embedded on the user’s profile page their friends can see it and are invited to answer the question, “Would you save your friend’s life if you could?” When they answer, they are prompted to install the widget on their profile as well. The campaign spread virally on Hyves with 217,000 users saying “yes!” that they would give away organs to help out a loved one.

The Dutch are not new to organ donor campaigns. Viral Blog pointed out that back in 2007 there was a television campaign on BBN in which a terminally ill woman had to decide who to give her kidneys too when she died. 1.2 million people watched the show, which was a hoax but did a great job of spreading the word about the organ donor situation in the Netherlands. 12,000 new people signed up as organ donors.

Organ donation is an incredibly important issue and one that many people never even think about. The Hyves Dutch Transplantation Foundation campaign did a great job of getting the word out and inspiring people to sign up as organ donors. What do you think about the campaign? Have you seen any similar campaigns, spreading awareness about important issues and inspiring action?