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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

#SunLifeDunk4Diabetes Campaign in partnership with the Boston Celtics and the YMCA of Greater Boston

Entered in Social Good Campaign


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that one in three Americans are at Increased Risk for Type 2 Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2021, 38.4 million Americans, or 11.6% of the population had diabetes.

Since 2012, Sun Life has announced its commitment to diabetes prevention, awareness and care. The mission of the #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign has always been to shine a spotlight on diabetes prevention during Diabetes Awareness Month – with a specific focus on:

The goal was to not only donate money to support the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Healthy Habits program, but to engage the public to feel a sense of community through this partnership. Our ideas were:

Strategy and Execution

During the month of November, Sun Life donates $1,000 to the YMCA of Greater Boston's Healthy Habits Program for each dunk made by a Celtics player during the #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign. The challenge, however, was to pivot our campaign strategy to shift focus from weekly voting on X (formerly Twitter) to Instagram Stories. Considering our previous engagement patterns and the option to extend the polls for an additional day on X, but only having a 24-hour window on Instagram Stories, it was unclear whether this would translate to our audience.

We decided on a content plan with an interactive approach to keep fans engaged, but also to ensure that each vote into a meaningful contribution to the YMCA's Healthy Habits program. To sustain momentum, we implemented a series of weekly recaps via social media showcasing the most memorable dunks. As timing was crucial, particularly with the Instagram story polls, we mapped out our social media calendar to ensure consistent engagement with posts shared twice weekly – in addition to a press release, media coverage and our internal messaging. We also shared weekly insights on how much we have raised in funds to reach our goal to be as transparent as possible. This unique approach not only created excitement into the basketball season but also translated each dunk into a direct contribution towards a healthier community.


This year’s #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes exceeded all previous years! The main part of our digital campaign results from the captivating videos captured by the Celtics team, creating excitement around this cause. These videos became the driving force for #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes, shared across platforms to raise awareness and encourage participation.

We were pleasantly surprised by the surge in participation. During the four weeks of this campaign with the Boston Celtics and YMCA of Greater Boston, we saw a total of:

We were thrilled to have met our goal of raising $175,000– marking a milestone in our decade-long partnership to contribute a total of $1 MILLION to the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Healthy Habits Program!

The funds raised directly support the YMCA's Healthy Habits program, offering expert coaching and group support to empower participants in adopting the 5 key health habits. This program, made accessible at no charge, helps prevent and managing diabetes by providing vital education on living a healthy and active lifestyle.

We were delighted to not only to reach our goal, but to make an impact in creating diabetes awareness prevention, support and care.


Video for #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes Campaign in partnership with the Boston Celtics and the YMCA of Greater Boston

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Sun Life U.S.


Entry Credits