Thinking about public awareness ‘outside the box’ - or rather, inside and on the new Theatre Lawrence stage - by implementing a marketing strategy based on a sponsorship of the Kansas theatre company’s production of Peter Pan seemed like an approach that might have potential. Assistive Technology for Kansans (ATK) needed to increase the donation of lightly used, high cost durable medical equipment across the state but especially in the northeast area of Kansas. Sara Sack, Director of ATK said, “Theatre Lawrence regularly has sell out performances and many theatre goers are individuals who are connected in the community and are actively involved in their churches and communities. Asking audience members to spread the word to help locate lightly used equipment turned out to be a fun and effective way to find more equipment.”
ATK’s nationally recognized equipment reuse program, KEE Reuse, accepts donated durable medical equipment (power wheelchairs, electric hospital beds, patient lifts, and more), refurbishes to a like-new standard (with the help of qualified Kansas vendors), and gives the equipment to Kansans who need it.
Project staff worked closely with Theatre Lawrence staff preparing for the December run of Peter Pan. Efforts included an informative advertisement in each program for the entire 2016-2017 theatre season, clear identification on the December Peter Pan promotional materials as an Associate Co-Producer (KU ATK Equipment Reuse), and public acknowledgment of the Equipment Reuse program at each performance of Peter Pan. Project staff, ATK advisory board members, supporters, friends, and family attended each of the December performances.
On one Saturday in December, an informational display was staged in the lobby during the matinee and evening performances, complete with equipment, promotional materials, and staff and board members ready to talk about the merits of donating lightly used, high quality durable medical equipment to benefit Kansans in need. Often audiences find the fact that since 2003, reusing donated equipment has saved Kansas taxpayers nearly $8,580,000, makes this a win-win for everyone.
In the first month following this unique public awareness idea, donations directly associated with the Peter Pan audience have already put the campaign in the ‘black’. In the coming weeks, Kansans with disabilities and health conditions of all ages needing a power wheelchair, a patient lift, or other durable medical equipment will benefit from the generous audience of Peter Pan.
And as Stuart Jones, KEE Reuse Project Coordinator, has been heard to say, “If you or someone you know has equipment that is not being used, please call 800- KAN DO IT (800-526-3648) for more information”.