How do you get 3.5 million people to register as organ donors?

Illinois established a new “first-person consent” registry for organ/tissue donation. Unlike the state’s previous registry, it ensures that an individual’s decision to become a donor at the time of death will be honored, without the need for additional consent from family members or other legal authority. But legally, the state could not transfer the names of the 6 million Illinoisans who joined the old “donor intent” registry into the new “donor consent” registry.

Gift of Hope turned to Grisko to develop a healthcare communications and marketing campaign for Donate Life Illinois, the state’s coalition of organ and tissue donor organizations. The goal: re-register former donors and gain new ones to save lives.


Of Illinois families overturn a loved one’s registered wishes to donate each year.


People in Illinois die each year waiting for organ donations.


People in the U.S. are waiting for organ donations.

Getting the word out.

We created and led a highly successful PR and marketing campaign titled, “I am. Are you?” Tactics for the campaign included media relations, social media, extensive college campus outreach and a workplace partner registration drive. We developed multiple advertising campaigns to target potential donors across the state, including public transit ads, radio spots, a video display placed in high-traffic Chicagoland businesses, print ads, direct mailers and digital banner ads. And a campaign website we developed gave potential donors the opportunity to register online.

We also provided year-round media relations support, garnering feature stories and editorials in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, ABC Chicago, NBC Chicago and dozens of other outlets.

Sharp communications judgment and exceptional media skills. Grisko managed that critical balance of ensuring extraordinary attention to detail and focusing steadfastly on overall strategy and results. Dave Bosch, Director of Communications & Legislative Affairs, Gift of Hope

Saving lives.

The “I Am. Are You?” campaign registered 3.5 million Illinois residents as organ and tissue donors. And today, Illinois ranks among the top five states with the highest number of registered organ and tissue donors.