A Decade On, DonateLife Week Is One Of Australia’s Most Important Health Campaigns

A Decade On, DonateLife Week Is One Of Australia’s Most Important Health Campaigns
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



DonateLife is the Australian Government’s program that works to improve organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes across Australia.

At the heart of DonateLife‘s marketing strategy is DonateLife Week, which runs from 25 July to 1 August.

The goal? Encouraging 100,000 Australians to join the Australian Organ Donor Register.

This year, DonateLife is supported by Convenience Advertising, Australia’s premier out of home bathroom advertising company.

CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority – who leads DonateLife – Lucinda Barry, sat down with B&T to discuss the organisation’s goals, and the marketing at the heart of it.

B&T: What is at the heart of the DonateLife Week campaign? 

LB: At the heart of the campaign are the 1,800 Australians currently on organ transplant waiting lists. For many people, it’s a matter of life and death.  

There are an additional 12,000 people on dialysis who may benefit from a kidney transplant, and for others, an eye or other tissue transplant is a path to a greatly improved quality of life. 

DonateLife Week is our annual awareness raising campaign, and this year we’re turning 10! 

What specific ideas and audiences are you hoping to target in the campaign, and why? 

Young Australians are under-represented on the Australian Organ Donor Register, and so are First Nations Peoples and Australians from culturally diverse backgrounds. 

We need donors from all communities and cultures. Blood and tissue types need to match for a transplant to be successful, and donors of the same ethnic background as the person needing a transplant are more likely to be a close match. 

Really though, we need all Australians to talk about organ and tissue donation with their family and register to be a donor. There are around 13 million Australians aged 16+ who are eligible to register as an organ and tissue donor – but haven’t. 

It doesn’t matter how old you are, your medical history, your lifestyle, what country you’re from or how healthy you are – you can still register as an organ and tissue donor. 

What role does Convenience Advertising play? 

We’ve partnered with Convenience Advertising to help us reach young people aged 16-29 by utilising its extensive network of shopping centres, pubs, bars, university, and TAFE campuses across Australia. 

We know Convenience Advertising is a proven channel for public health campaigns to capture the attention of the audience we want to be able to reach and influence with long dwell times in bathrooms. The captive environment lends itself to the call to action which asks people to take a minute and register as an organ and tissue donor, and let their family know they want to be a donor.  

We are using unique QR codes to make it easy for people to access our registration page and so far, the results have been positive. 

How was COVID impacted this year’s DonateLife Week?  

COVID-19 has had a direct impact on organ and tissue donation. In 2020, there was 163 less people receiving an organ transplant, a 16 per cent decrease in organ donors and a 16% decrease in Australians registering as donors, compared with 2019. 

From a campaign perspective, lockdowns across the country have limited our face-to-face community events, making it harder to reach people. 

This means it’s never been more important to register as an organ and tissue donor and to encourage others to join you. 

Why is successful marketing so pivotal to your work?  

We know that 90 per cent of families say “yes” to donation in the hospital if their family member is a registered donor. This number is halved if your family don’t know you wanted to be an organ and tissue donor, or you haven’t registered. 

We want all Australians to talk to their family about donation, so that there is one less decision for your family to make if you have the rare opportunity to be an organ and tissue donor one day.  

Successful marketing campaigns are critical for DonateLife and work alongside our world-class clinical program to increase rates of organ and tissue donation in Australia so that more people can receive life-changing transplants. Partnerships with organisations like Convenience Advertising help us to get the message out to difficult to reach audience groups like young Australians.   

What do you consider a successful DonateLife Week campaign? 

This year, we are racing to encourage up to 100,000 more Australians to register as organ and tissue donors, by hosting The Great Registration Race for DonateLife Week. It’s a big goal – but with the support of our partners we are striving to achieve it. 

 You can find out more about DonateLife Week here and jointhe Australian Organ Donor Registry here.




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