Case Study: Breakthrough Breast Cancer

The charity's TLC Text-to-Get campaign is taking a sensitive approach to new donors

Breakthrough Breast Cancer's TLC campaign
Breakthrough Breast Cancer's TLC campaign

Organisation: Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Campaign: TLC Text-to-Get
Agency: Open Fundraising, Listen

Breakthrough Breast Cancer's Touch, Look, Check campaign has two aims: to educate women about how to spot the early signs of breast cancer, and to recruit regular donors.

Kath Abrahams, director of engagement and income generation at the charity, says the campaign was created after research showed 94 per cent of women could not name the five signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

The campaign promotes a free TLC guide that women can text to receive. Breakthrough follows up the text message with a phone call to obtain an address to send the guide to and to make a fundraising 'ask'.

Abrahams says the callers are trained to be sensitive about the subject. "We talk about our work and ask if they would like to support us," she says. "The conversations are very sensitive." Supporters are also asked if they want to sign up for monthly text reminders to check their breasts.

Breakthrough is in the middle of a second Touch, Look, Check campaign. It ran two pilots, one during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2012 and another in early summer 2013.

The campaign was tested using posters offering the free TLC guides on tubes, trains and in washrooms.

It was rolled out last year using the same spaces and a TV advert featuring the presenter and Breakthrough supporter Gaby Roslin.

One of the things the organisation learned from the pilot campaigns was the importance of prompt follow-up calls, Abrahams says.

The two pilot campaigns generated 60,000 requests for guidance and 4,000 people signed up to a monthly direct debit. The campaigns cost just under £237,000 and Breakthrough received pro bono advertising space in shopping centres and on trains in London and the south east.

Abrahams says the projected return on investment ratio for the first part of the campaign is 1:6 for year five and 2:4 by year 10.

Expert view: Grahame Darnell, managing director, Darnell Consulting

This campaign is clever because it educates people about breast cancer while acting as an acquisition tool. The "five-signs" message sticks with recipients and differentiates in a crowded market. Metrics are solid: £237,000 spend and 4,000 sign-ups gives a cost per donor of less than £60 and return on investment is healthy. Quick follow-up calls and training callers to deal with sensitive subject matter show the need for partnering with a good telephone agency. A well-executed campaign.

Expert rating
Creativity 4
Delivery 4
Total 8 out of 10

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