Client Challenge

Saving lives through paired donations.

Kidneys for Communities (KIC) is a startup nonprofit organization with a mission to connect living donors with kidney transplant patients in a new way. Before KIC, a person could donate their kidney one of two ways: directed, where a family or friend donates to a loved one, or nondirected, where someone makes an altruistic but anonymous donation. KIC has introduced a third option: community-directed, where someone can make an altruistic donation within a community of choice; e.g., giving to someone in their service organization, fraternity, military unit, etc. KIC is led by a team of established and respected doctors as well as leaders from the kidney donation community; however, they were starting from scratch in messaging and marketing this concept to “community” organizations and their members.

COHN Solution

Put Your Kidney Where Your Heart Is.

We need “calculated awareness” within key communities to build living donor networks. The solution: the “Put Your Kidney Where Your Heart Is” community and member outreach campaign.

A report in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that “people are more likely to help strangers in distress when they recognize such strangers as belonging to a common group.” The idea for the campaign was that we can incite behavior change by tapping into people’s emotional connections to distinct organizations/groups—empowering them to save the life of someone in their community.

Real Results

“This Is What Our Mission Has Always Been About.”

The campaign concept and creative made such an impression on the board members that they expanded the initial marketing outreach strategy to include more channels and tactics (including a new website and community activation program). One board member commented: “I am very moved. You know, I can feel it. This is what our mission has always been about. Thank you for capturing it.”


Brand Strategy
Creative Design
Marketing + Media