At Schultz & Williams, we bring an integrated approach to everything we do. But in a digital landscape, where it’s easy to cater to every audience, why would we resist the temptation to create a special place—different websites, different social media pages—for each potential audience?

This kind of temptation comes up often at a children’s hospital when there are priorities that seem, on the surface, to be slightly incompatible: donor acquisition and patient acquisition. The first reaction is probably to keep these audiences separate.

In our digital efforts, we’ve always found that a unified approach is greater than the sum of its parts, and integrated messages travel much further.

When it comes to efforts like Facebook pages, where organic reach is a fraction of what it used to be, there’s also the consideration of an organization’s time and resources. How many hours, for example, should you spend developing social media content for a donor page that gets a reduced number of likes, comments and shares because of the limited audience for that page?

The follow-up question is: If each stakeholder has his or her own unique space to focus on specific priorities, does that allow an organization to successfully get its message across in the intended manner, given the limited reach that occurs as a result?

When you position your digital content with a unified model, you can still balance these priorities. A children’s hospital can tell a single, integrated story about how an entire community comes together to help its patients in special and unique ways.

In your digital content, the task then becomes how you show that everybody—doctors, nurses, researchers, superhero-costumed window washers and donors—has a role to play. Each story and each perspective is an avenue for telling this story.

Here are a few concrete examples of how this mixture can work in a children’s hospital’s digital efforts:

  • Social Media. Provide social proof about how your entire community comes together to offer care. An example is the superhero-costumed window washers mentioned above. Social media posts about this kind of event aren’t successful just because they’re fun. They’re powerful because they illustrate how an entire community can pitch in, be engaged and do its part to provide care for children’s health—and give children a chance to be children. Donors have a clear role within that frame as well, so illustrate it! Go beyond just reporting on events that have happened. Use those opportunities as a means to illustrate your overall theme, and directly channel that theme within your content!
  • Email. If audiences receive a mixture of different types of emails, including those for fundraising, you can tell your story across all of them. Rather than relying solely on a series of fundraising emails to take a donor from awareness all the way through to action, let your other digital content do the legwork, as well. The role of fundraising emails can then be to simply provide enough content to engage the audience and drive them to action.
  • Websites. What makes the most sense for your hospital: a “Giving” section of your main website or a foundation-specific page? There will be lots of organizational reasons behind your decision, but with either choice, the experience between the fundraising pages and the main website can look and feel similar in terms of story, content, tone and theme.

Another consideration for children’s hospitals will be the need to share space for these priorities directly on its homepage. Consider adding a lightbox or homepage sliders for active giving campaigns, and make sure they echo the same themes as all of your hospital’s content so everything is in concert. Because your content is creating awareness across the board, make sure there are simple ways of prompting your audience to take action, such as an easily identifiable “donate” button on your homepage’s menu bar.

When you’re using an integrated approach to tell your story in all of your digital content, there’s a lot of room for differing priorities. Your efforts can become integrated to show the role of your hospital and your community in treating patients. In this way, you can effectively balance patient and donor acquisition.

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