Gifts of Life
2020 Finalist

Gifts of Life


Calgary, Canada

Category Public Relations and Community Service

Overview of this campaign

For this project, we wanted to benefit the community by drawing attention to the need for increased organ donation; put human faces on the problem and reframe how people view organ donation; generate awareness for organizations promoting donation; educate people on how they can make a difference; and, inspire action or political change.

We made a commitment that on each day of November 2019 we would publish a piece of content that explores this issue, informs the public interest, raises awareness, sheds light on problems surrounding the topic, and/or transforms opinions and policies. To do so, a team of 22 Postmedia employees in Calgary and Edmonton (Canada) worked on the project over three months.

The marketing team ran ads promoting organ donation and the project. We partnered with a number of organizations involved in donation to ensure we delivered accurate and compelling messages.

On the five Fridays of the month, editorial published a compelling print package — deep storytelling — in our four daily newspapers, packed with stories, photos, graphics and analysis.

On each of the 30 days of the month, we focused on a portion of the project called 30 Days, 30 Faces. We showed the “faces” of organ donation — people waiting for an organ, people who’d received an organ, people who donated an organ and people who’d agreed to donate a family member’s organs. The goal was to publish a related Facebook post, Instagram story, tweet, online graphic or other piece of content digitally every day of November.

We also published guest posts, columns and comments, while writing an in-house OpEd on the need for change; this OpEd anchored an Opinion page at the end of the project with an entire focus on organ donation.

Along the way we also provided information on numerous ways that anyone can become involved in organ donation and, importantly, we also invited the community to share with us their stories.

Results for this campaign

Impacts and results:

•          During the campaign, a local politician introduced a bill that moves the province towards an opt-out program, in which adults are presumed organ donors.

•          A Canadian politician announced he was re-introducing a bill that adds an organ donation question on tax forms.

•          Interaction with community increased. Dozens responded to our callout for stories, including a woman who donated part of her liver to a co-worker’s daughter.

•          One of the individuals profiled, who needed new lungs, has since received a transplant.

•        One of our readers offered a kidney to a patient we profiled!

•          Awareness of this issue increased, evidenced by tweets, Facebook comments, website comments and letters received.

•          The project caused an explosion of interest. The Canadian Blood Services said, “Social media blew up for almost 10 days with countless shares and comments.”  A Kidney Foundation spokeswoman thanked us for standing up to “make a difference, impact change and save lives . . .I know you will help to impact many lives.”

•      Viral impact was seen, such as with one story about a man (Chris Charles) needing a kidney; it reached 35,000 people on Facebook and was shared 240 times, while reaching an additional 8,900 on Instagram.  

•          The campaign was additionally effective — it set the news agenda. Three other local and two national media outlets subsequently created organ donation stories.

•          Angles were investigated that previously received little media attention, such as the lack of diversity in organ donation.

•          The campaign included a platform for busting donation myths.

•          It provided all the info a reader needs to become an organ donor.

•          Additionally, the project provided a model for working together to tackle major projects, within the realities of slimmed down news organizations.  It resulted in accessible graphics, compelling writing, sensitive photography/video, amplified by a powerful social media campaign that demonstrated how these platforms can be meaningfully utilized, all of which benefited the community by generating awareness of, and action towards, a vital health/social issue.


To contact a company representative about this campaign, click here for the INMA Member Directory

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