Cutout standees of 2 patient ambassador boys with team of nurses.When it comes to raising money for a good cause, the folks at Duke’s Children Hospital in Durham, North Carolina know a thing or two. With Cardboard Cutouts of community members, they were able to make special, local connections with fundraising partners and spark some smiles along the way.

As part of a network of 170 children’s hospitals across North America known as Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (also called “CMN Hospitals”), Duke partners with retailers like Wal-Mart, Costco, Speedway, RE/MAX, Publix, Dairy Queen, IHOP, Ace Hardware, and more.

Cutout standee of young patient ambassador boy with 2 WalMart employees and Taco Tuesday sign.

Each year they provide a cardboard cutout for each location that fund raises for Duke’s Children Hospital. They select local children who live nearby each of the districts of the partnering stores to have the cardboard cutouts specially created.

We talked to someone from Duke’s Children Hospital to find out more about how Cardboard Cutouts have helped them make meaningful connections to support their cause.

Why did you purchase our cardboard cutouts?

“We help activate fundraising campaigns in our partner locations across much of North Carolina.

The biggest asset when helping to educate, inspire, and motivate employees at any given location is building a local connection to our cause. We do this by helping them get to know our Duke Children’s hospital patients living in their communities.

Because our patients are either actively in treatment at the hospital, or are back at home and living healthy busy kid lives, it isn’t always feasible for a patient family to visit every fundraising location we work with.

That is where the cardboard cutouts come into play; they help us bring our mission to life.”

Donations table display with snacks, store employee and patient ambassador cutout.

What is the customer reaction to the cardboard cutouts like?

“The fundraising champions in each of our stores love getting their cardboard cutout. This is our third year using them, and the stores look forward to receiving their new one each spring.

The stores move their cardboard cutout around depending on what fundraising activities they have going on that day. The cardboard kid could be standing near the registers as customers are asked for donations when they check out, in the breakroom during an employee chili cook-off, or at a table outside the store while they are selling hot dogs.

Because we use professional photos and the highest-quality material, the cardboard kids look very real. I get emails from the parents of the subject kids all the time saying they always do a double take when walking into a store –– even though they know it’s coming.

Likewise, those parents get texts and Facebook messages with photos of their friends who have spotted “their kid” in a store and taken a photo with them. My favorite photos are the ones of the kids themselves standing next to their cardboard cutout. They just think it is the coolest thing!

The cardboard cutouts not only help to make the employees feel more connected with our cause but also help to reinforce the fundraising they do with the customers. The customers see the cardboard cutout, to which we glue a laminated sign introducing the child and the charity, and it keeps us top of mind.”

Outdoor donations hot dog cookout table display with employee and patient ambassador cutout.

Patient ambassador cutout standee by outdoor donations table with WalMart employee.

Do you plan on using them in any different ways in the future?

“Since we partner with many organizations, it is up to each of our stores to come up with new and interesting ways to use their cardboard cutouts. But we look forward to seeing them in action each summer!

To supplement the cardboard cutout that each store gets, we also produce lanyards and buttons that feature “their” kid for the cashiers to wear during their fundraising push.

This helps to tie everything together throughout the store.”WalMart aisle display of patient ambassador cutout and donations advocates.Store aisle donation station setup of patient ambassador next to his Cardboard Cutout Standee.

What else should people know about Cardboard Cutouts?

Outdoor bake sale donations table setup with employee and patient ambassador cutout.

“Receiving our shipment of 120 cardboard cutouts is always funny. They typically end up coming in about nine to ten boxes and our staff/volunteers have a blast popping them all out, assembling the stand, and gluing on our special signs.

There is nothing quite like a conference room with 120 cardboard cutouts of nine different children staring back at you! Equally funny is driving around with all of them in our cars over the course of several weeks as we hand-deliver them to each store.

If North Carolina had HOV lanes, we’d be all set!”

Bake sale donations table with patient ambassador cutout and employees.

Make Connections with a Cardboard Cutout

No matter what your cause or purpose is, making connections with your audience is key.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting a face –– or a whole person –– to the name.

If you’ve been searching for a creative or unique way to pique interest, help people get to know your organization, or just need a fun place for a selfie, a life-sized cardboard cutout could be the perfect thing.

Could a cardboard cutout be what you are looking for?

Shop our wide selection of cardboard cutouts and find the perfect one for you today!