Table of Contents
Increasing Eye Donations with an Effective Marketing Program
Noël Mick Moschetta
As non-profit organizations, most eye banks wanting to increase
public awareness in their service areas pursue similar methods
of reaching their audiences. Typically those methods include
creating public service announcements (PSA’s) and supplying the
media with human interest stories.
Historically, The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration in New York
City relied on those methods as well. However, in 2006, when
legislation was enacted to allow New Yorkers to give first person
consent in an electronic donor registry, the time was right to develop
a marketing program that would more successfully address
The Eye-Bank’s need to increase eye donations in the Greater
Metropolitan New York Area.
This was accomplished through a paid, multi-media advertising
campaign (including television, radio, print and outdoor ads).
The first advertising campaign consisted of a six-week media
buy and while the cost was approximately $150,000, it was
funded initially by assessing a one percent (1%) increase in our
cornea processing fee. Subsequently, The Eye-Bank received a
three-year grant from a private foundation to fund an enhanced
Method: In order to create an advertising campaign, we sought
outside expertise and found a media buyer well-versed with the
New York media market who also recommended we enlist the
support of a creative director.
It was important to stay focused on our objective which was
to get New Yorkers to enroll in the NYS donor registry and we
accomplished this by working closely with both the creative
director and the media buyer to create an effective message and
to identify the target audience for media planning.
Results: The results of the initial campaign were significant.
Hundreds of calls came in to The Eye-Bank and hits to our
website soared from an average of less than 100 to 200 per day
to more than 2,000 per day. While the goal of the advertising
campaign was to get people to sign up in the registry, it also had
an immediate impact in increasing eye donations because the
public now had an increased awareness of The Eye-Bank and its
mission from the ad campaign.
Conclusion: Our successful marketing program significantly
increased eye donations in our service area. It had a residual
benefit of increasing awareness for organ and tissue donation
as well. Since the advertising campaign resulted in a definitive
positive return on investment, it was decided (and approved by
The Board of Directors) to continue the marketing program and
to budget for it accordingly with an increased level of funding.
Overall, the components of The Eye-Bank’s marketing program
can be replicated by all eye banks with some location-specific
tailoring. Regardless of the initial size of the plan and the commensurate
budget, a successful eye bank marketing program can
yield positive results that can grow over time.