Behind the scenes of our new donor recruitment campaign

June 25, 2021
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At Anthony Nolan, we’re rethinking the way we communicate about diversity and health inequalities on the stem cell register. That’s where our new creative campaign comes in!

This month, we launched an inspiring recruitment campaign that targets audiences from minority ethnic backgrounds and motivates 16-30 year olds in this group to sign up to the stem cell register.​

Where the idea for the campaign came from

The campaign was originally devised by a group of students at Brixton Finishing School as part of a partnership over summer 2020. It began by taking inspiration from modern-day social movements and through bold, socially aware creative, raises awareness of the imbalance of ethnicities on the stem cell register. Over the past few months we have been building on their idea.

From the beginning, we knew we wanted to bring a group of our supporters from this audience on board as co-creators. Co-design is a commonly used method intended to bring people affected by an issue into the process of understanding the problem and designing a better response. It was particularly important for us to bring these co-creators on board, as the internal project team was made up of predominantly white team members. Our hope is that, with the help of our wonderful co-creators, we can step up Anthony Nolan’s work on diversifying the register.

Carney, a stem cell donor and one of our co-creators

How we developed this campaign through co-creation

From the start, we involved a group of patients, donors and Marrow volunteers who we have existing relationships with and are from minority ethnic backgrounds. The plan was for them to work alongside us every step of the way, enriching our insight, stopping us from going wrong and creating content for us by sharing their experiences as stories to be ‘faces’ of the campaign.

We hoped to develop mutually beneficial, long-standing relationships with them as register ambassadors.​ We wanted real people and opinions to shape and develop our campaign, and for our co-creators to feel valued and comfortable sharing their opinions with the project team. In doing this, we wanted to minimise the risk that we would make decisions, with good intent, based on our own assumptions. We worked with them in three main ways:

Focus groups

 We ran focus groups, which involved sharing our first round of creative with the co creators. We wanted to make sure they felt empowered to give us honest feedback, and we came away with extremely valuable insights and clear ideas about what they thought would and wouldn’t work.

Feedback calls

Following the first round of feedback, we knew we had to alter some of the creative, so met with the co-creators to get their opinions on our second round of creative mockups. This meant that they had the opportunity to give us in depth feedback, and get an insight into how we arrived at various decisions on the creative.

By having these really open discussions, we were able to better understand which content they found most engaging, and come up with ways to work together to create our assets. It’s been incredibly exciting to work on this project with co-creators, and see their passion for Anthony Nolan. They know that they have the power to influence the assets we create, and in some cases be the face of them.

Content creation

Excitingly, several of our co-creators have featured in our content! By building up relationships with them, we’ve been able to work together to create some incredibly emotive, engaging and inspiring Facebook and Instagram ads. 

Both Carney and Anie, have been kind enough to share their stories with us. They’ve been incredibly open about their experiences, and have produced some really bold, inspiring and engaging content that we think will resonate with our audience.

Anie, one of our co-creators, who had a stem cell transplant aged 17

What's next?

So far, we've launched recruitment adverts and we will be sharing more content online over the coming months - keep an eye out on our social media channels! We'll keep in touch with our co-creators to share results and create new content. We've had some great feedback from them too:

Thank you so much for including me in this. I am so glad I was able to take part and help. This was so nice to do and I'm looking forward to seeing everything when it's finished. Thanks again for this opportunity. I’m so excited for this campaign to go live, the ads are so sick.

We want to say a massive thank you to our wonderful co-creators: Carney, Jordan, Anie, Lara, Doug and Joice for all their ideas, honest feedback and willingness to help us at every stage of the journey.

Interested in seeing more of the campaign?

Follow us on social media to see stories from patients, donors and our co-creators over the coming months.