Planned Parenthood: Donate in Pence’s name

Exhibited by
Joe Burnett
Added
June 10, 2021
Medium of Communication
Digital; online
Target Audience
Individual donors
Type of Charity
Health
Country of Origin
USA
Date of first appearance
2016

SOFII’s view

This campaign is both bold and, let’s be honest, hilarious. Mike Pence’s odious attack on Planned Parenthood was superbly undermined by a clever, audacious and effective fundraising campaign. The publicity Pence generated actually became a brilliant way to turn the tables and raise money for the organisation he intended to defund.

This campaign was presented by Laura Golland during the I Wish I’d Thought of That (IWITOT) session at the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ) Conference 2020.

Summary / objectives

Planned Parenthood launched this campaign to fight back against Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s plan to defund them.

Background

When Donald Trump and Mike Pence won the US presidential election in 2016 they set about defunding organisations that support and fight for women’s reproductive rights. Mike Pence in particular has a chilling track record when it comes to attacking women’s rights like access to contraception and abortion. He’s been at it since his time as governor of Indiana. It was clear to many that Pence’s plan would set women’s rights back almost one hundred years and would disproportionately affect women who were living without health insurance.

Top of Trump and Pence’s list of organisations to defund was Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood are an organisation who provide a range of services, just one of which is access to safe abortions. They also offer advice and provide access to birth control, health checks and support for women and the LGBTQ+ community. 

The defunding campaign led by Pence effectively withdrew state support for those without health insurance. Planned Parenthood decided to use his particular focus on them as a metaphorical stick to beat him with.

Creator / originator

Planned Parenthood

Special characteristics

In a brilliant turn, Planned Parenthood gave their supporters the chance to donate to them in Mike Pence’s name. On social media, they used moving images of Pence’s face with pink condoms and contraceptive pills plastered over it. They created a special donation page where donors could give ‘in honour of Mike Pence’. To top even that, they provided the details of the Vice President’s office so donors could send a gift certificate relating to the donation directly to his door. Genius! 

Influence / impact

The campaign took off on social media, with donors lampooning Pence as they shared images of their donations to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood’s creative was just brilliant, taking the idea forwards with an option to donate to them on his birthday, and this levity was a way of bypassing the often heated tone of debates around abortion.

Results

Between November and December 2016 alone, 26 per cent of donations to Planned Parenthood were ‘in honour of Mike Pence’. That’s 82,000 donations. And it was still going into 2020, with many variations on the theme.

Other relevant information

Editor’s note: you can watch Laura’s presentation, which we’ve adapted for this case study, here:


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Planned Parenthood decided to hit back at Mike Pence by allowing donors to make gifts in his name.
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Planned Parenthood made excellent use of social media, including with funny videos.
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The campaign quickly drew lots of attention as donors shared pictures of their donations.