Non-profit marketing often has more challenges than for-profit companies. But the team at the American Red Cross was wonderfully open about allowing us to explore truly unique directions to address their current challenge: encouraging specific donor types to donate more often.

In this campaign, we were asked to look for ways to encourage O-negative donors (the universally accepted blood type). Previously, the route taken was simply to explain to this audience why their blood was more important. Our challenge was to make them feel it, not just understand.

Red Cross past direct mailer

the power of being special

Our first concept focused on the rarity of the donor’s blood. Given that O-negative donors are only 9% of the entire U.S. population and less than 10% of those eligible actually donate, the ones that do are considered extremely special. We wanted to remind them of how amazing they are and how much more powerful they could be with more donations per year.

Red Cross o-negative face
Red cross o-negative slogans

symbols of encouragement

Our second concept went for a more symbolic visual approach, showing how the O-negative donor’s blood was the one reached for in times of emergency. This concept also demonstrated how other donor categories could be addressed similarly into a comprehensive campaign.

Red Cross art direction mailer

in the action

The final concept chosen was a revolutionary direction for the American Red Cross. Instead of speaking to the uniqueness of the donor or the recipient’s need, this direction brings the donor into the experience. By making them a part of the “Trauma Team” that cares for the patient, the donor gains a greater understanding of their role in the emergency situation and how important they really are.

Red Cross trauma team mailer

getting on the same page

A styleguide for any campaign is of critical importance—especially to the American Red Cross—to keep numerous marketing team members on the same page. Because we were only starting out with one donor type and would be adding others as the program evolved, we suggested an online styleguide that could be added to at any time and would always be up-to-date for their team.

Red Cross online style guide

The quality of work we got from Works Progress was better in one round than in five rounds we got from the big agencies.”

Darren Irby
Executive Director of Marketing, American Red Cross, National Headquarters
American Red Cross testimonial

let them see their power.

let’s go to work

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