Fundraising: Case study - Pink theme days raise more than £1m

Francois Le Goff

Summary

Within only two years, Wear It Pink has become a popular workplace-based fundraising initiative, alongside others such as Comic Relief's Red Nose Day. It raised £600,000 in 2003 and more than £1m last year.

Background

With the Pink Ribbon Ball held in London each year, Wear It Pink is Breast Cancer Campaign's biggest fundraising campaign. The charity's income mainly relies on funds raised through individuals, trusts, companies and cause-related marketing initiatives with brands including Ann Summers and Knickerbox.

Wear It Pink was launched for the first time in 2003 as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It raises funds from thousands of companies and individuals, using innovative promotional techniques including a viral email, whose spread can be tracked geographically. This technological advance led to Breast Cancer Campaign receiving an award for innovation.

The money went to four of the 45 research projects that the charity currently funds in universities, medical schools and research institutes across the UK.

How it worked

A mail pack was sent in August to 80,000 individuals, companies, schools, hospitals and GPs' surgeries, asking them to run fundraising events on 29 October.

Each pack had a covering letter pitched according to whether the recipient had expressed an interest in participating or whether they had taken part the previous year. A cold mailing was also sent, pitched to suit the organisation or profession.

The whole pack had a pink and white colour scheme and the front cover featured graphics depicting pink items of clothing and named the charity's celebrity supporters - Jennie Bond, Terri Dwyer and patron Will Carling.

The pack gave clear step-by-step instructions, illustrated with simple graphics, and contained an A3 poster for recipients to display in their office to let other people know about the event. Participants were asked to donate £2 and had until 31 December to return their donation form.

Companies involved in the campaign included London radio station Capital FM. The staff, who raised £1,700 between them, all came to work dressed in pink, including daytime presenter Neil Fox who wore a pink jacket.

The station also held a pink party and collected money around the office.

Results

The campaign exceeded its target of £840,000, raising £1,105,828. The email was forwarded 200,000 times and the total number of hits on the website was 340,000, up from 95,000 last year.

"The event is becoming really popular," said Sangeeta Haindl, director of communications and marketing at the Breast Cancer Campaign.

"It might become our staple income, but we will continue to run other events throughout the year as we receive no funds from the Government."

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