Image via Rowan Heuvel under CC0 1.0

Helping Canuck Place Celebrate their 20th Anniversary with Social Media

By Heather Blackwell and Leyla Morzan

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice first opened its doors in November 1995, to become North America’s first free-standing children’s hospice. The illness and death of a child is a life-altering experience for the families who love them and Canuck Place responded to this need for a hospice created specifically for children so that all newborns, children, and youth living with progressive life-threatening conditions—and their families—could benefit from compassion, knowledge, and holistic clinical care in pediatric palliative care.

Canuck Place supports over 600 of B.C.’s children and families with respite and family support, pain and symptom management for complex medical needs, art and education, recreation therapy, grief and loss counselling including music and play therapy, and end-of-life care.

Helping Canuck Place via social

Earlier this year, a few of us at Hootsuite were given the opportunity to volunteer our skills with Canuck Place to help them celebrate their 20 year anniversary on social.

Before we rolled up our social media sleeves, we were given a tour of the house to learn more about the organization and the impact they have on our community.

Through this experience, we realized the significance of Canuck Place’s work caring for B.C.’s terminally ill children for the past 20 years and it inspired us to help the best way we know how—in 140 characters or less.

As part of their 20th anniversary celebration, @CanuckPlace was looking to collect stories from current and former families, donors, volunteers, and staff members. The goal was to re-engage the community and recognize the people who have been involved in the last 20 years that have made Canuck Place the success it is today. Social media was the perfect place to do this because it allowed the involvement of the whole Canuck Place community past and present.

To help them achieve their goal we created a campaign to recognize contributions of the community and the journey of families. Using Hootsuite Campaigns we created a social feed built around the hashtag #LoveHowYouGive that pulled in posts from Instagram and Twitter in the form of text and photos.

The campaign resulted in over 200 entries from members of the community who are, or have been, involved in Canuck Place over the years. With this, we helped them cultivate new relationships, and re-engage lapsed connections, all while celebrating the moments savoured and lives lived at Canuck Place.

Although the promotional portion of the #LoveHowYouGive campaign has finished, the campaign still lives as a microsite as well as on the Canuck Place website, and the team at Canuck Place continues to use the hashtag on all their social channels.

We also had the opportunity to help Canuck Place with their annual Gift of Time gala. We hosted a live Hootsuite Campaigns social feed during the evening where all of the event attendees could upload photos and tweets using #GOTgala.

The campaign looked great on the big screens and really helped increase engagement throughout the evening. Our hashtag was even trending for awhile.

— Elizabeth Moffat, Digital Communications Coordinator

It was an incredibly rewarding experience to work with Canuck Place on this important milestone for them. Getting to see their work up close was eye-opening and humbling, particularly seeing how resourceful nonprofits have to be to get stuff done despite limited resources. As a B Corp, giving back to the community is part of our culture at Hootsuite and even though our work with Canuck Place is over, we’ve built a relationship that will last indefinitely and we’re excited to continue to #BtheChange for the next 20 years.

To support Canuck Place’s care for children with life-threatening illnesses you can make a donation online.