Turning claps into acts to support Belgian university hospitals
When the Covid-19 pandemic started to compromise the academic operations of Belgian university hospitals, they urgently needed extra financial support. Emakina took on this pro bono project to create an interactive fundraising campaign – with astonishing and heart-warming results.
As Covid-19 began to sweep Belgium, focus shifted overnight from the academic to the pandemic. Five Belgian academic hospitals united to raise funds to prevent this extra workload from affecting funds dedicated to their day-to-day activities, medical training and research and development. These are essential to public health and the future of medicine in the country. Despite authorities’ funding, they urgently needed extra support.
How can hospitals quickly reach the public on a limited budget? The message needed the right tone of voice and approach to boost donations in a context dominated by public health updates and other goodwill initiatives claiming the media’s attention.
As Belgians felt an incredible sense of gratitude for hospital staff, clapping every night at 8pm from their balconies and windows, we decided to piggyback onto this countrywide trend to try and convert gratitude into tangible support. Changing claps into acts, the Belgian Hospitals Fundraising Campaign was launched. In 48 hours, we launched a website and a campaign to help collect funds, which quickly gave astonishing and heart-warming results.
A landing page and social media ads promoted the campaign, while a video invited people to publish clips of themselves clapping in rhythm to encourage others to make donations. This sparked a lot of creativity – for example, when an entire street came out on their doorsteps (respecting social distancing) to take part in someone’s Clap&Act video.
This growing momentum convinced musicians and artists to join in, from legends like Eric Melaerts, Phil Abraham and Boogie Boy to young talents like Nathan Daems, Edor and Daan Pifferoen. Manuel Hermia took up his flute, while his daughter Kenza danced to the beat. Polar explorer Dixie Dansercoer recorded a bass guitar video. Chocolatier Pierre Marcolini drummed on his worktop with eggbeaters.
Targeted PR helped amplify the message through earned publicity in print, online, radio and TV. Broadcasts on Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn gave excellent ROI on a limited budget, while Clear Channel donated two weeks of visibility across Belgium – including their four most iconic displays.
All in all, 600 hours of pro bono agency work, 15k€ media budget, and 35k€ expenses were dedicated to this project by Emakina.
+900.000people reached on Facebook
+35.000unique website visitors (not counting the hospitals’ digital channels)
+€2.2 Mmillion collected