Stayin' Alive With Social Fundraising

What do you think of when you hear classic 70’s disco? For some, bell bottoms and Saturday Night Fever might come to mind. For others, they hear how to save a life. Behind its toe-tapping beats, the song Stayin’ Alive can actually help save lives.

We were able to catch up Allison Harvey and Kate Lino from the American Heart Association (AHA), to learn more about how the AHA is stepping into social fundraising as part of its recently launched White Suit campaign:

Alex:  Congratulations on launching AHA’s latest campaign! Could you briefly describe the campaign for Inspire Generosity readers?

AHA:  White Suit is the name given to the American Heart Association’s new awareness, fundraising and training campaign that centers around teaching people the simple steps of Hands-Only CPR. Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S., but a victim’s chance of survival can more than double if they are given immediate, effective CPR. Unfortunately, most people do not take action due to fear of hurting the victim or lack of confidence in what to do. The White Suit campaign aims to save lives by helping people understand and have confidence in what to do if they witness a sudden cardiac arrest. And since 80% of victims of sudden cardiac arrest collapse at home, the life you are most likely to save – or not – will be that of someone you love.

To get this life-saving message across in a fun, simple and easily embraced way, we have adopted a campaign icon of the white disco suit similar to the one John Travolta wore in the classic film “Saturday Night Fever.” The beat of the movie’s hit song by the BeeGees – Stayin’ Alive – has proven to be an effective tool to help people to remember the right rate of chest compressions when giving CPR.

Over the years, many AHA CPR instructors have successfully used Stayin’ Alive – making it an established part of AHA’s internal training culture. The White Suit icon is simply the visual extension of this natural phenomenon.

Alex:  I understand that social fundraising is a key element in the campaign and that AHA is working with Crowdrise to help raise support. How did AHA choose the Crowdrise platform over other possibilities? How will it be integrated into other fundraising efforts and the larger campaign?

AHA:  The American Heart Association is committed to exploring new and exciting ways to raise awareness and funds. The launch of our CPR video featuring AHA volunteer Ken Jeong is the perfect opportunity to inspire individual giving within this social media sphere and to leverage the timely popularity of this comedic actor, who is also a medical doctor by education.

Alex:  I noticed that on your Crowdrise page, you didn’t set a fund raising goal–why is that?

AHA:  We have been testing a strategy of focusing more on the incentives model that Crowdrise offers versus the goal and deadline-oriented model typically employed. However, we have just added a goal!

Alex:  You’re about half-way through your four-week social fund raising effort. Any words of advice or key lessons learned you’d like to share?

AHA: Social media is a powerful platform that most of us in both the for- and non-profit worlds are working to figure out how to leverage to help achieve our missions. I don’t know that anyone has yet figured it out exactly, especially in how to use social media as a reliable, consistent and renewable form of fund raising. I encourage others to continue to try new things and share their insights with others!

Alex: If people want to get involved in the campaign–how can they show their generosity and support for AHA?

AHA:  Go to to donate, learn how to perform Hands-Only CPR and tell your friends!


Alex: Readers–Have you used social fundraising as part of a larger campaign? Please share your experiences below.

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