At Partners In Health, we believe that health is a social justice issue. While other organizations provide short-term relief to crises or basic levels of health services, PIH is committed to providing long-term care and addressing the root causes of health problems -- most notably, poverty. The inextricable links between poverty and poor health is an issue that drives us to fight every day for high-quality health care for the world's poorest and most vulnerable. With the Poverty Makes You Sick campaign, we set out to make that link clear to others.
In the words of Partners In Health co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer, "Who lives and who dies depends on what sort of health care system is available."
If you're poor, you get sick more often. And when you get sick with illnesses like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV, you're more likely to die. Medical care exists. Just not for you. Just not where you live. This fact makes us sick.
Our goals with the campaign included educating people about the link between poverty and sickness, encouraging social media users to amplify this message, and driving donations to support our work in some of the poorest places in the world.
The Poverty Makes You Sick campaign was a multi-platform effort to bring an often ignored issue into the conversation on social media. The Partners In Health team used a combination of photos, videos, and written pieces, as well as the hashtag #PovertyMakesYouSick, to encourage people to share the message.
A variety of digital platforms were used to promote the campaign, including Facebook, Twitter, email, website, and paid digital advertising, including search, social, and display.
The campaign was centered around a landing page on www.pih.org that challenged visitors to fight back against all the ways in which poverty makes poor people more sick. The landing page featured embedded video content displaying the ways that poverty causes sickness, facts about PIH's work fighting the root causes of illness, and shareable posts to make it easy for people to spread the word.
The campaign was supported by a series of blog stories, emails, and social media posts over the 6-week period. Posts included an explainer on how poverty makes people sick, photos depicting life in some of the world's poorest communities, patient stories demonstrating the linkages between poverty and poor health care, and statistics supporting the campaign's themes.
The Poverty Makes You Sick campaign was successful in bringing a conversation to the forefront about poverty and sickness, as well as in leading PIH's annual end-of-year fundraising efforts. For the last six weeks of the year, the campaign led fundraising efforts to allow Partners In Health to deliver health care to the world's poor, and work toward closing the health care gap worldwide.
The campaign was also successful in raising awareness about global health. We used the hashtag and quality multimedia content to mobilize our supporters to amplify the message. On social media, the campaign logged 7.7 million impressions and 104,000 engagements on organic and paid Facebook and Twitter.
As this was Partners In Health's first major, multi-platform social media campaign, we were very pleased with the reception both from our existing social media audience and new users who joined in. One Twitter user, a teacher in California, posted about using the campaign in her lessons, and even changed her Twitter cover photo to a picture of a banner in her classroom saying, "Poverty Makes You Sick." Knowing that our campaign was used in teaching a class of students to think about the social factors that determine health was just one aspect of how we measured the campaign's success.
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