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Program Messaging and Resources: February and March 2021

We’ve included a lot of info in this blog! To help you find what you’re looking for, content is grouped into the following sections:


The purpose of this document is to provide messaging, themes and ideas for Dance Marathon high school and collegiate programs to apply across all channels of communications within January – March 2021. The Miracle Network Dance Marathon team is not saying programs are required or even strongly encouraged to celebrate every single one of these recognition days. Instead, the team recommends programs identify what stories you can tell well within these dates for celebratory and awareness raising purposes.

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With Miracle Network Dance Marathon, we know that you want to make a difference in your community. In order to do that, you need a social movement that empowers you to raise money to change kids’ health and change the future.

The problem is that the United States is facing a monumental crisis when it comes to protecting the health of future generations and children’s hospitals are on the front lines of this dilemma. But they can’t do it alone.

While it may feel overwhelming, you can help. Together with more than 400 Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs across the country and over $300 million raised since 1991, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is leading the charge for improving children’s health by raising critical funds needed by local hospitals.

Here’s what you can do: register for your local Dance Marathon and pledge to raise funds by asking friends and family to donate. Then, take a step back and marvel at the impact you’ve already made.

So, get started and join your local Dance Marathon. Take a look at the best fundraising tips for your program and if you don’t have a local Dance Marathon to join, learn more about starting one up yourself.

Kids can’t wait so neither should you.

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Target Audiences:

Keep in mind who you’re reaching with your communication! A good rule of thumb is to do what you can to make them the hero of the story. Do they know what Dance Marathon is? Do they understand the urgent need for fundraising to change kids’ health, change the future? Do they recognize the local impact their dollars can make? Do they have a clear call to action within the communication they’ve received from you? (I.e., donate, register, share, etc.) Potential target audiences include team captains, returning participants, first time participants, lapsed participants, lapsed donors, local businesses or former partnerships, etc.

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Inclusive Language Reminder:

  • Visit this 2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion blog post for a deeper dive into this topic
  • Focus on the whole human being using person-first language
    • For example, “Hayley, a child diagnosed with cancer” instead of “cancer patient Hayley”
  • Use empowering language (demonstrate how services have made kids healthier, stronger, removed barriers and/or helped kids reach their fullest potential) versus language geared towards “fixing, normal, regular, function, etc.”
  • Replace the word “help” with “give” in most instances.
    • For example, instead of “help kids live better,” use “give kids like Hayley a world of possibility”
  • Be careful when using the phrase “get better” when talking about kids with conditions or circumstances that are not finite, such as down syndrome, autism, etc.
  • Do not use the phrase “live better” when referencing kids or people of color or kids with disabilities. Use the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals vision statement, “change kids health to change the future” instead.
  • Do not use the phrase “heal kids;” again, use the vision statement above instead
  • Do not use the phrasing, “sick and injured kids;” instead, use phrasing like “children’s hospitals that support the health of 10 million children in the U.S. and Canada”

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Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Talking Points:

Research shows that individuals are more likely to donate to a cause if they understand their dollars are going to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Consider incorporating some of the below talking points, or statistics directly from your local CMN Hospital in conversations and communications. These points will help draw a connection between the work you’re doing with your local Dance Marathon program and the impact that is making at your local CMN Hospital. If you have questions or are interested in statistics related to a specific type of funding area, please reach out to your CPM.

  • Every DAY, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (in U.S. and Canada) treat:
    • 16,000 kids in the emergency room
    • 935 kids for diabetes
    • 2,218 kids for cancer
    • 925 babies in the newborn ICU (NICU)
    • 2,329 kids for surgeries
  • Every HOUR, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (in U.S. and Canada) treat:
    • 675 kids in the emergency room
    • 39 kids for diabetes
    • 92 kids for cancer
    • 39 babies in the newborn ICU (NICU)
    • 97 kids for surgeries
  • Sixty-two children enter a CMN Hospital for treatment every minute.
  • CMN Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals that support the health of 10 million kids each year across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Donations raised through programs such as Dance Marathon go to local hospitals to fund critical life-saving treatments and healthcare services, along with innovative research, vital pediatric medical equipment, child life services that put kids’ and families’ minds at ease during difficult hospital stays and financial assistance for families who could not otherwise afford these health services.
  • With Dance Marathon benefitting CMN Hospitals, we believe that when we improve the health of all children and allow them the opportunity to reach their full potential, we also improve our communities for years to come. Together, we can change kids’ health. Together, we can change the future.
  • Funds raised by CMN Hospitals support the local member hospital. When a donor gives to a CMN Hospitals program such as Dance Marathon, those donations help fund things like medical treatments, equipment and facilities at their local CMN Hospital to improve the lives of children and families in their communities.
  • According the U.S. Census, 4.3 million children under the age of 19 did not have health insurance coverage in 2018 and another 37 million rely on Medicaid, which contributes to a large portion of uncompensated care. In 2019, CMN Hospitals raised more than $444 million, including nearly $81 million benefitting charitable care support patients in need.
  • COVID-19 statistics and talking points
    • COVID-19 has placed an unprecedented stress on the United States’ health system. The strain on hospitals is well documented, and this is also true of local children’s hospitals urgently responding to the pandemic by treating adult patients, opening drive-thru testing sites, taking extreme measures to ensure their buildings and equipment are kept clean, conducting vital research to prevent the spread of the virus and upgrading technology to move many appointments to a safe, virtual setting. They are on the frontline of this crisis, while also continuing to provide the high-quality, life-saving care that children need every day—but they can’t do it alone.
    • The cost of the above measures has affected every aspect of treatment and services offered by children’s hospitals, as employees, funds, facilities and other resources are reallocated to meet emergency needs and to conduct research to generate a viable vaccine. And as more families lose insurance coverage due to job loss, children’s hospitals are seeing increased costs in providing uncompensated care to tens of thousands of children and families dealing with economic strife and government programs unable to fully cover the cost of caring for kids. Philanthropy is crucial to ensuring our children’s hospitals can continue to provide their services in both the short- and long-term. If there was ever a time when our local children’s hospitals needed our Dance Marathon movement, it’s now.
  • In the midst of COVID-19, our hospitals are innovating and finding radical solutions:
    • Research: Children’s hospitals and their systems are actively working on developing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines including Boston Children’s HospitalTexas Children’s Hospital, and Seattle Children’s among many others.
    • COVID-19 Testing: Children’s hospitals are on the frontlines of testing in their communities. Many larger children’s hospitals and/or their health systems have constructed and are opening drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites.
    • Patient Services: Each year, tens of millions of children require specialized, expensive health care. Within the current crisis, many larger children’s hospitals are treating adult patients, and increasing the age range of patients served.
    • Telehealth and Technology Services will allow hospitals to provide care virtually and add technology upgrades to provide care under social distance recommendations.

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General Messaging:

General key messages should focus on impact, consistently driving home the clear outcomes Dance Marathon makes possible for communities and local hospitals through raising funds and awareness. Additionally, drawing connections between Dance Marathon programming and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will help clarify the impact for audiences unfamiliar with Dance Marathon and can lead to increased opportunity for fundraising and engagement, as noted above. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals master brand social media accounts will generally align to the following themes, meaning that often, programs can consider repurposing and/or sharing content from these channels on program pages. By aligning Dance Marathon programs with the CMN Hospitals channels and communications, we will continue to tie the two together, increasing education for potential future donors and participants.

The specific monthly themes and content ideas can be found below. Programs are encouraged to highlight recognition days and holidays that they are able to speak to well and should not feel a need to engage with every single one of the below days.

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Key Dates, Themes and Content Ideas:

  • February Theme: Rare & Chronic Health Conditions (inspired by Feb. 28)
    • Important CMN Hospitals or Dance Marathon-specific dates:
      • Distinguished Leader Award (DLA) applications open: Feb. 22
        • Consider promoting this via your channels of communication to encourage applications and increase recognition of your program
      • Holidays/recognition and awareness days:
        • Black History Month: Feb. 1-28 (all month)
          • The month largely focuses on historical contributions of Black/African American people in the United States. Given the historical context, it would be more appropriate to focus content potentially on Black people who have contributed significantly to children’s healthcare or philanthropy in some way. It would also be appropriate to talk about how certain children’s hospitals are addressing health equity in their communities, or how progress has been made on diseases/conditions that disproportionately affect Black children (sickle cell anemia, for example). Those projects are a bit more time intensive and if a program cannot engage with something along those lines, then it would be better not to engage with the month than to engage with something that isn’t meaningful to the dialogue.
        • Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week – Feb. 1-7 (first week)
          • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are on the forefront of addressing the mental and behavioral health issues facing our kids. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals pioneer research and treatments related to managing mental and emotional health issues that transform how we care for children.
          • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are also on the forefront of society’s mental health crisis. Member hospitals are researching, diagnosing, detecting and treating our kids’ mental health needs. Their commitment to improving the mental health for all kids has remained a focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the rates of youth and childhood anxiety and depression increase. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are committed to exceptional care and reversing the alarming pediatric mental health trends in our communities.
        • World Cancer Day: Feb. 4
          • Has your program worked with a CMN Hospitals patient/patient family that has dealt with a cancer diagnosis before? Consider sharing their story and/or some of the following:
            • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States.
            • Approximately 11,000 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year and 40,000 will undergo treatment.
            • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are the largest provider of pediatric cancer care in the United States – providing high-quality care to more children than any other standalone or group of children’s hospitals.
            • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is proud to partner with the country’s leading pediatric cancer treatment and research facilities, including 9 of the top 10 Best Children’s Hospitals for Cancer according to U.S. News & World Report.
          • President’s Day: Feb. 5
          • National Donor Day // Valentine’s Day: Feb. 14
          • Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year – Feb. 12 – 26
            • The master brand CMN Hospitals channels will celebrate this holiday by recognizing the fundraising partner Panda Express
          • Rare Disease Day: Feb. 28
            • Has your program worked with families or hospital programs/resources tied to rare and chronic health conditions? Can you share more with your audiences about this impact?
            • Do you have any participants who might have benefitted from CMN Hospitals fundraising as a child with a rare or chronic health condition who is willing to share their story?
          • What special days or events is your local hospital celebrating this month? How might you tie into their efforts to further promote your partnership?


  • March Theme: Celebrating local heroes in your community and/or Women’s History Month
    • Themes: Consider highlighting local heroes such as participants, team captains and partners, as well as executive members, doctors and nurses.
    • Important CMN Hospitals or Dance Marathon-specific dates:
      • DLA applications close: March 22
    • Holidays/recognition and awareness days:
      • Women’s History Month: March 1-31 (all month)
        • Who has played a pivotal role in your program’s success? Does your program work closely with a female advisor? Who on your exec board could be profiled? What participants have made a significant impact on your fundraising? Can you feature a female doctor from your local hospital and talk about the impact she has on your community through the care she provides for patients?
      • Brain Injury Awareness Month: March 1-31 (all month)
      • National Nutrition Month: March 1-31 (all month)
        • Note that while the talking points below focus on food insecurity, nutrition is a critical part of many diagnoses. Consider how you might activate upon this month beyond the topic of food insecurity.
        • The USDA estimates that about 14 million children in the United States are food insecure – meaning 1 in 6 children do not have access to enough food to live an active healthy life.
        • In June 2020, 16 percent of households with children reported that their children were not eating enough over the last week due to a lack of resources – the highest percentage ever reported. These rates are even higher among Black and Hispanic families: about 3 in 10 Black households with children and 1 in 4 Hispanic households with children did not have sufficient food due to a lack of resources.
        • CMN Hospitals knows that nutrition, healthy eating and overall wellness are key to a child’s development and future success. That’s why Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals provide programs including food pantries, grocery assistance, mobile food delivery and mobile farmer’s markets to make our communities and families more food secure and ensure all kids have the opportunity to grow up healthy.
      • International Women’s Day: March 8
      • National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: March 10
      • World Kidney Day: March 11
      • World Down Syndrome Day: March 21
        • An important reminder to consider how we talk about patients who have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and the resources they use as a part of funds raised by CMN Hospitals.
      • National Poison Prevention Week: third full week of March
      • Doctor’s Day: March 30
      • Transgender Day of Visibility: March 31
    • Upcoming: Children’s Hospital Week is slated for April 19 – 25, 2021. Watch for more updates to come on how programs can engage with this event.
    • What special days or events is your local hospital celebrating this month? How might you tie into their efforts to further promote your partnership?

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Evergreen Content Ideas:

  • DonorDrive as a tool to grow your program: In addition to promoting this tool to your participants as a resource they should use, consider reviewing the marketing email guide blog for unique ideas.
  • Corporate partner agreement reminder: do you have any agreements with local businesses or national partners that require a certain number of posts per month/year (i.e., Love’s)? Consider this a reminder to add them into your social calendar for the month!

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Graphics, videos and assets for use:

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Looking Ahead – 2021 Key Dates:

  • January
  • February
    • 22: Distinguished Leader Award (DLA) applications open
  • March
    • March 22: DLA applications close
  • April
    • TBD: Distinguished Leader Awards announced
    • April 19 – 25: Children’s Hospital Week (virtual)
  • May
    • TBD: Senior Ceremony
  • June
  • July
    • TBD: DMLC
  • August
  • September
  • October
    • October 4: Child Health Day
  • November
  • December

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