The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project NEW!
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

It Takes a Village: AHA Brings Their Community Together to Respond to COVID-19

Entered in Public Health

About this entry

When #GivingTuesdayNow announced their global day of giving set for May 5th as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19 on April 1st, American Heart Association was already working with ForwardPMX and had a strategic plan underway to raise money for vulnerable populations affected by the virus. The team set a goal of raising a total of $5 million dollars during the quarter to support these vulnerable populations, and established a campaign strategy that integrated their entire organization for maximum effectiveness.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

“In extraordinary moments like this, you just have to stand up and lead and give people hope.” -Becky Johnson, VP Constituent Experience & Digital Transformation, American Heart Association

In early April, the team developed an integrated Giving Tuesday Now campaign that centered around a basic case for support of Covid-19, knowing that heart and stroke patients can be more seriously impacted by COVID-19. The over-arching theme of  the campaign blossomed to be “Show us your good,” which came from the desire to empower donors to have a voice and impact during this uncertain time, and allow the American Heart Association to continue their core work, confront COVID-19 and be a relentless force to ensure happier, healthier lives in all communities. The Core messages of the campaign focused on:

Then toward the end of that month, the team demonstrated how American Heart is relevant in all individuals' daily lives given the current reality. This inspired a sub-campaign within the “Show us your good” campaign called the “Move More Together” campaign, which was based on the message “Let’s grab the people around us to be part of a community that is moving through the tough times.” Together with So You Think You Can Dance’s tWitch and Allison, the American Heart Association hosted free, Facebook Live parties where participants could “dance it out” with the famous duo while also improving their heart health. 

The entire campaign went beyond standard fundraising best practices and leveraged the entire American Heart staff in a truly integrated campaign (email, paid social, organic social, display), and it was decidedly unique due to a few factors. First, beyond a traditional direct response campaign, the teams activated the local American Heart field teams in Minneapolis, Arizona, New York and across the nation so that they could spread the message further by utilizing their local social media channels. In order to keep the campaign cohesive and timely across the different channels, the team provided the local teams with a Social Media Strategy Playbook to keep everyone on the same page. This strategy was incredibly valuable as these local community audiences have high engagement on their social channels. Notable too was the nimble pivot in copy and creative assets, which truly spoke to the message of community support and care consumers expected during this time.


This campaign perfectly illustrated how relevant messaging, organizational collaboration and excellent channel execution came together to create a compelling and successful fundraising campaign, which resulted in the biggest fundraising week ever for the American Heart Association.

In total the organization exceeded it’s $5MM goal in this campaign period.  Digital revenue growth alone was impressive, reporting a 22% increase in year-over-year revenue growth for 2nd quarter raising over $2 million dollars in digital revenue alone.  May had 46% year over year revenue growth. Some performance highlights include also included particularily impressive email performance. The GivingTuesdayNow campaign featured a $360k gift match which improved conversion rates. Email alone drove over $241K in May, far above the $14K raised the year prior.

The Social Media Activation, leveraging the Social Media Playbook and local Heart teams, yielded impressive results as their collective efforts drove 7 million organic impressions on social media providing terrific exposure for this campaign.  This upper funnel brand exposure complemented the paid media efforts that focused on driving revenue with positive ROAS of $1.10

The team was able to find their helpful, integral role in the COVID-19 world while staying true to the heart of their brand and mission. Their quick thinking and the unique local activation of the Giving Tuesday campaign ensured that their message reached millions of people, and even more importantly, helped a myriad of individuals through the health crisis with the generous donations.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

ForwardPMX, American Heart Association


Entry Credits