Carrying the Badge of Honor in St. Louis
Posted July 24, 2012 in News Category
More than 1,300 St. Louisans are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. For some, it is their only hope of survival, and more lives could be saved each year if more people made the decision to join the organ and tissue donor registry. Additionally, thousands benefit from tissue donation annually.
Mid-America Transplant Services is encouraging St. Louisans to “carry the Badge of Honor” – the small heart emblem on their driver or non-driver license that indicates their participation in the organ and tissue donor registry. The Badge of Honor campaign is aimed at zip codes in St. Louis where donation registry numbers are lower than the state average.
The Badge of Honor is in reference to the heart symbol on an individual’s driver license. There is honor in carrying this heart, declaring you wish to give the ultimate gift and make the heroic and honorable act of saving lives through donation.
With the help of an outside agency, MTS learned the demographics of these St. Louis neighborhoods. Understanding the audience is primarily African-American and high users of mass transit, MTS tested imagery that would resonate with the audience and then created campaign materials to share the registry message. Through engagement of license office employees, community outreach, traditional and online media, and paid advertising, MTS implemented the grassroots campaign this spring.
At five license offices in St. Louis, MTS representatives are regularly meeting with office managers, organizing “Thank You for Asking” events in which a recipient thanks employees for asking customers to join the registry, training staff on the importance of organ and tissue donation, and hosting registry drives at the license offices.
Community outreach efforts have provided MTS opportunities to speak with large church congregations, meet with the St. Louis Board of Alderman for a proclamation declaring April as Donate Life Month in St. Louis, and sponsor a float in the Annie Malone Parade. The float was a 25-person horse-drawn carriage carrying Donor Families and Recipients and was awarded second place in the float judging.
MTS’s goal is to elevate the designation rate at the five license offices (the rate at which people sign up on the registry at a license office against the total number of transactions at that office), which averages about 24%, to the state average of about 40%. This amounts to a 7.5% increase per year over a three-year period or about 23,000 new people on the registry on top of the current trend line. Since the launch of the campaign the designation rate at the five offices has increased nearly 3%, and the foundation is built for a successful campaign.