St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® is ringing in the new year by “giving thanks” to the consumers and partners who supported the eighth annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign and helped raise more than $64 million in support of the organization’s lifesaving mission of finding cures for kids battling cancer and other deadly diseases.
It was a record-breaking year in several areas of the campaign, particularly on the digital front. Online engagement and fundraising was at an all-time high, garnering $7.9 million in donations. Over the course of the campaign the organization hit two huge milestones with its social media platform, surpassing 570,000 “likes” on Facebook and 150,000 followers on Twitter.
“St. Jude Thanks and Giving is not only a fundraising campaign, but also an opportunity to generate incredible awareness about our mission,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. “It is always our goal to engage with donors in ways that are both meaningful and accessible, whether it’s through traditional or social media or even in their preferred language.”
As a result of the hospital’s longtime commitment to reaching Hispanic donors, St. Jude’s Spanish-language website, www.hospitalsanjudas.org, saw an increase in donations of 49 percent. The support of the Latin celebrity community – including singer Luis Fonsi, the campaign’s spokesperson – made the biggest mark on this year’s campaign through social media as evidenced by re-tweets, Facebook posts and overall donor engagement.
Led by Kmart, CVS/pharmacy, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kay Jewelers, ANN INC., the parent company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, nearly 60 of America’s best-known and most-loved companies and brands implemented holiday fundraising campaigns featuring exciting new online engagement programs, in-store giving opportunities and specialty merchandise to help raise funds and awareness among their customers for one of the nation’s top children’s cancer research hospitals.
“The deep compassion that our corporate partners feel for the children of St. Jude is matched only by the brilliant creative energy they pour into their fundraising efforts,” said Marlo Thomas, national outreach director for St. Jude. “Each year, they continue to evolve their campaign plans, breaking out of the box to engage customers in new and exciting ways – such as utilizing digital assets, and offering specialty products that help generate more donations throughout the holiday season. All of us at St. Jude are deeply grateful for their generosity, enthusiasm and unwavering support.”
Created by Marlo, Terre, and Tony Thomas, the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign utilizes a multi-media approach to unite celebrities, media and corporate partners during the busy holiday season in support of the groundbreaking research and lifesaving treatment that takes place at St. Jude. It costs $1.7 million to operate the hospital each day, and unlike other hospitals, more than 75 percent of that funding comes from the public through campaigns like St. Jude Thanks and Giving.
In 2011, the top five fundraising partners each raised more than $3.5 million:
- Kmart and its customers had another record-setting year by raising more than $6.3 million through point-of-sale donations at locations nationwide and via a link at kmart.com/stjude. This year, Kmart also donated a percentage of sales from its “Fab 15 Toys” promotion, and St. Jude patients got the chance to meet Kmart “Fun Ambassador,” child star Rico Rodriguez, for an in-store shopping spree. Kmart has now raised more than $29.4 million for St. Jude since becoming a partner in 2006.
- CVS/pharmacy and its dedicated customers and colleagues raised more than $6 million this year with stores across the country participating. CVS/pharmacy has been a partner since 2004 and has raised more than $31 million for the campaign.
- DICK’S Sporting Goods raised more than $4.8 million this year by offering their customers the ability to make donations at the register. DICK’S has been a partner since 2007 and raised more than $17.5 million for the campaign. In their first year they raised $1.9 million, which remains a record for a first year partner.
- Sterling Jewelers Inc., the parent company of Kay® Jewelers and Jared® The Galleria of Jewelry, has supported St. Jude for the last 13 years and has raised more than $30 million for the hospital through the sale of plush animals.
- ANN INC.‘s Ann Taylor and LOFT brands saw great success through their record breaking fundraising year. Through customer and employee donations at Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory, and LOFT Outlet stores, as well as the sale of limited edition products benefiting St. Jude, the company raised more than $4 million for the campaign. ANN INC. has been a partner since 2007 and with the help of their customers and employees they have donated more than $10.9 million.
The campaign kicked off Thanksgiving week with the debut of heartwarming national television spots featuring some of the biggest names of film, television, music and sports, including Jennifer Aniston, Robin Williams, Morgan Freeman, George Lopez, Shaun White, Dwyane Wade and singer Luis Fonsi, alongside courageous St. Jude patients. The celebrities, along with the more than 60 brands, joined together during this highly competitive sales season to raise funds to save children’s lives.
Since opening 50 years ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives and, for every child treated here, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted to children. It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life. Join that mission by visiting stjude.org or following us on facebook.com/stjude and twitter.com/stjude.