Content brand of the week: The Michael J Fox Foundation, an organisation with one eye on the future

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Image – © Mark Seliger

Michael J Fox? You mean Marty McFly, the kid with the hoverboard and time-travelling Delorean?

The very same. Except now Marty spends most of his time leading his charity, the Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) on its mission to combat Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Amazing, but how does content help?

MJFF is one of the most vociferous charitable organisations out there, constantly raising funds for research into PD and driving participation in clinical trials – its content supports these aims. The Foundation’s blog is updated at least once a day with the research news and fundraising success stories. MJFF has done a great job of creating a structured feel to its editorial output by creating regular content pieces like Fox Foto Friday.

Pictures of adorable foxes posted every week?

Afraid not. It’s actually a weekly user-submitted photo post that’s shared across all the organisation’s channels (Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and its blog), sounding off about a successful fundraising event by one of MJFF’s many contributors. A recent example saw fundraisers from Texas hold a square dancing competition.

FFF - Facebook

$46,000? Yee-hah!

That’s right, it’s not just a great way of promoting the organisation’s aims – it’s also making the people who contribute feel like a valued part of its work. On a similar note, MJFF is also quick to make noise about other initiatives. This blog post for instance is about a new chapter of its ‘Young Professionals’ network that has started in Washington DC. Once again, it’s placing people at the centre of the story.

So there’s plenty of human interest – what about communicating the research side of things in a way that doesn’t bore people to tears?

Admittedly science-y stuff can sometimes be tricky to get people excited about but MJFF has made big steps in this direction. Its Foundation update ‘Fox Focus’ is a print and online magazine published twice a year that communicates the organisation’s key successes and news on research from the past six months. The latest edition is the first to be available in an iPad friendly ‘enhanced, multimedia version’ that recreates the feeling of a print publication in an online format. It’s engaging and enjoyable to read, and reflects the way ‘always on’ individuals are increasingly likely to consume deeper, long-form content.

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But what about those who don’t want to get stuck into a 30-page mag?

Well MJFF has them covered too – the organisation produces podcasts on a range of subjects related to PD, which are available to listen to on its site and download from the iTunes store. So those who don’t fancy reading can listen at home, or even through their devices on the go.

Sounds like where we’re going, we don’t need Parkinson’s!

Where next?
Think you know of a great content brand? Submit here!
More from Tom Owen
Previous CBOTWs
Our work with the European Parkinson’s Disease Association

Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media. www.speakmedia.co.uk

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