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Four Weeks. $13 Million Raised. Our Role in Fighting COVID-19 for Connecticut.

4-CT Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection

During the peak of Connecticut’s battle with COVID-19, CT philanthropists came to Digital Surgeons seeking help in bringing a brand-new nonprofit to market. Named the Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection—aka 4-CT—our team jumped into rapid response mode to design the brand, develop the digital and fundraising experiences, and create the go-to-market strategy in under two weeks. With these brand and marketing services, along with ongoing marketing consultation and digital optimizations, we ultimately helped 4-CT become a massively successful initiative, raising over $13 million for several coronavirus relief efforts in just four weeks.

The Challenge

Besides the collaboration and working challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, our biggest challenge during this project was time. With financial hardships for Connecticut’s shutdown businesses and layoffs growing more severe day after day, along with the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic, we had an incredibly tight timeline to bring 4-CT to market. If it didn’t launch at exactly the right time, then we ran the risk of being too late—and being too late meant missing out on potential donations, which meant failing to save additional lives and providing security for those in need.


A brand that spoke to the charity, its goals, and its context. A go-to-market strategy that effectively spread awareness and brought people’s attention to 4-CT. And a fully functional digital experience and web application that made it easy for people to seamlessly donate money to multiple 4-CT projects in just a few clicks. And donate they did. Connecticut’s people showed up online, putting their tremendous support and giving spirits on full display, as 4-CT raised over $13 million in its first four weeks. The impact of such generosity is hard to measure but easy to imagine. And we are humbled and honored to have played an integral role in making it all possible, especially during a global pandemic.

Rapidly designing a credible and impactful nonprofit brand identity.

Like many great products, services, and nonprofits, success for 4-CT started with brand identity. In order to conceive and deliver a brand that accurately spoke to the essence of the Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection, we worked hand-in-hand with the appointed 4-CT board members to understand the vision for the nonprofit, the objective, and the people and businesses it planned to service. The result is a digital-friendly brand identity that visually represents our state of Connecticut and phonetically (4-CT) speaks to the nonprofit’s “why” and rallying cry: “For Connecticut.”

Delivering a clean digital experience fit to handle high traffic and online donations.

With the brand identity set, we put together a cross-functional team of UX designers, content strategists, and growth consultants to begin conceptualizing the 4-CT digital experience. After deciding that an uncomplicated and simple UI with supportive, action-oriented messaging was best, we moved into the execution phases of the web build. Starting with wireframes and moving all the way through development, we ended up creating a robust custom web application capable of delivering a fast and intuitive user experience that allows users to choose between twelve 4-CT partner funds and donate via wire transfer or a secure credit card checkout experience.

Creating and executing the go-to-market strategy for the 4-CT charity.

Next up on our roadmap for 4-CT success was the go-to-market strategy. To ensure we drew as many people as possible to the site the moment it launched, we had to consider all of the different customer touchpoints that would exist with an entity of this sort. What we ended up delivering was a 360º plan for the 4-CT charity ecosystem, outlining the tactics, channels, and platforms that the nonprofit had to employ in order to drive traffic, engage users, and encourage donations. We also advised and executed the setup and design of 4-CT’s social media properties, giving them the broad digital presence necessary in today’s digital landscape.

Taking launch to the next level with a Connecticut celebrity influencer strategy.

Perhaps the most essential element of our successful 4-CT go-to-market strategy was the execution of our Connecticut celebrity influencer recommendation. With people at home,  consuming more digital content than ever before, we knew that if we could tap into the collective attention of the CT population, then we’d be able to garner more interest into—and donations toward—4-CT. Getting celebrities far and wide on board, including former NBA and UConn star Ray Allen and Get Out actor and CT resident Allison Williams, allowed 4-CT to leverage the power of video, social media, and influencers to rapidly spread the word and gain traction about the charity.

Consulting the 4-CT team to ensure continued fundraising success.

Over the course of the first four weeks post-launch, we provided marketing and strategy consultation services to the 4-CT team. This way, we could advise on any questions the team had and provide solutions for any roadblocks they faced along the way. What resulted from all of this work is a true testament to the collaborative and nimble efforts of the 4-CT team and the love and generosity of Connecticut’s people. And for us at Digital Surgeons, knowing we helped raise over $13 million in four weeks during an economy-shrinking global pandemic is a reminder that with sound, strategic marketing, a lot of good can be done—even during dire times.


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