With their international fit challenge The May 50K, Stichting MS Research and MS International Federation (MSIF) annually challenge everyone worldwide to move at least 30 miles in May to raise money for essential research. At SowiesoHelder we work together with Stichting MS Research and from that close involvement we know how essential research is. That story cannot be told enough. So, we use a gripping campaign to ensure that their story touches, sticks and activates people in the run-up to and during The May 50K campaign month.
In the Netherlands, about 25,000 people live with MS. Worldwide, this number is estimated at 2.8 million. Together with the International MS Federation (MSIF), MS Research Foundation is committed to leaving MS behind. This year, Stichting MS Research is participating for the second time in the International MS Awareness Month. Alongside England, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Argentina, the Netherlands is the 6th country in the world to raise money for research so that we can put MS behind us for good. With an umbrella campaign and a local campaign in each country, they try – apart from all the good work throughout the year – to catch global attention in May. And to get people to take action. Both participants (who run as many miles as possible in one month) and donors; supporters of the people who walk, run, cycle, swim, hand bike or commit themselves in any other way.
Stichting MS Research asked SowiesoHelder: can you help us with the organization, the (social media) campaign and new content to match at least last year’s success? At the launch of the Fit Challenge in the Netherlands, almost €400,000 were immediately raised and thousands of participants joined forces for this good cause.
We can be brief about the solution: attention. The project was handled with love by our strategist and especially by our senior project manager Saskia. Her cooperation with Karin Smits of Stichting MS Research on an almost daily basis means that from day one of all the preparations (which started as early as January) there has been energy behind the campaign. A lot of new content has been developed for social media and the website; impactful personal stories of participants who each articulate their own reason for participating. There is a weekly newsletter, a social media campaign, and daily attention to the backend. Everyone who responds, gets a response back. In the run-up to the campaign, but also in the month May itself.
To kickstart the actual campaign month, several companies and agencies in Haarlem (including, of course, our own communications agency) symbolically kicked off the campaign on May 1st and together put the first 30+ miles on the counter. In the supporting company of alderwoman Marie-Thérèse Meijs, responsible for Development of Care, Welfare and Public Health in the city. She immediately and enthusiastically said yes when she was invited to join the walk. Danny van Bakel, who has MS himself and is a passionate ‘Ambassador of the Accessible City of Haarlem’ for making the city wheelchair-friendly, also joined in with his hand bike and supported the action.
That is also the beauty of The May 50K. Both people who have MS themselves and many healthy people – who in most cases are not directly affected by the disease – are committed. Not the heaviness of being sick, but the positive approach of moving. This makes the campaign easily accessible, and many participants enjoy contributing in this way.
A s(up)portive campaign that literally gets people moving for this good cause. In the Netherlands and worldwide, attention for a disease that we desperately want to leave behind us. And with enough money for research, that will happen one day. But also, worldwide people who enjoy exercise, feel good about it and contribute in a sportive way.
Karin Smits, Marketing Communications Manager and responsible for The May 50K campaign in the Netherlands: “Thanks to the fantastic effort, involvement and pleasant cooperation with communications agency SowiesoHelder, The May 50K in the Netherlands is again a great success this year! On behalf of all 25.000 people with MS in the Netherlands, for whom still no solution has been found for this nasty disease, many thanks for this.”
Especially a long-running (social media & content) campaign – from preparation to completion The May 50K will take 6-7 months – can create a considerable workload within your organization. Are you also short of hands for a campaign or action you are going to organize? Our project managers will be happy to help to make it work for you.