Our sector

Cancer Research UK launched contactless collections across the UK

As part of its World Cancer Day fundraising campaign CRUK launched contactless collections across 16 locations in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds making CRUK the first charity to approach contactless donation technology on this scale.

Supporters had the opportunity to donate £2 to the charity by simply tapping their contactless card on the reader which was operated by fundraising volunteers.


Ed Aspel executive director of fundraising and marketing and the charity explains “We’ve been at the forefront of contactless giving in the third sector, having launched a small scale pilot in four of our shop windows last year. But this activity takes it to a new level, will ensure we stay relevant, and make it as easy as possible for people to donate in a way that suits them. It really is as simple as popping some spare change in a collection tin and all money raised will go towards our life-saving research to beat cancer sooner.

Cancer research has been working alongside other charities and UK cards Associations to ensure that the trial is successful. The launch represents a wider initiative which aims to bring contactless payments to the sector, CRUK will be sharing the learning’s from this to the sector so a whole we will benefit.

We’re really looking forward to finding out the results from this test and looking at  how we can involve contactless payments in our fundraising in the future.

If you want to find out more about contactless payments you can have a look at our other blogs on the subject:





Goodeed’s new approach to online donations

Fundraising through digital channels is becoming more and more important to the charity sector. One ever present challenge, both on and offline, is that people who would like to donate, simply do not have the money to be able to. Online marketplace Goodeed has come up with an innovative solution, by monetising people’s time for social good.

The aim is to use revenue made from ad watching to donate to good causes. When visiting the site, the user chooses to either donate towards trees, vaccinations or meals. They then must watch at least 20 seconds of an advert, which funds the donation.

By using this process, which began in France in 2014 and is now being rolled out across the globe, over 200,000 meals have been provided to children in Kenya with the World Food Programme; 100,000 trees have been planted in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia with WeForest, and over 180,000 donations for vaccines have been generated.

On top of that, Goodeed has collected 50,000 litres of chlorinated water for Ebola treatment centres in Sierra Leone and helped to provide dental care for 10,000 children in Cambodia.

It remains to be seen how the project will develop, but this kind of innovative approach can certainly prove to be a useful tool for charities.

How digital transformation improved Marie Curie’s marketing strategy

Marie Curie provides care and support for more than 40,000 terminally ill people and their families in the UK each year, therefore it’s vital that the charity is able to provide services across every possible channel both offline and online.

To achieve this Marie Curie is undertaking a massive digital transformation programme, so it can extend its proposition to offer more services and support.

One of the key strands of this is a marketing automation project, which is transforming the way the charity engages its supporters and generates fundraising revenue.

It has also launched one of its biggest campaigns yet, The Great Daffodil Appeal, aiming to motivate people to collect money for the charity on the high street, and consisting of a multichannel campaign using many digital marketing best practices.

Below is a summary of the areas of focus for Marie Curie as part of their digital transformation campaign. The full article detailing the interview with Marie Curie’s Senior eCRM Manager, Chris Pook can also be found on the econsultancy website.

- Personalised maps are incorporated into launch emails detailing a supporter’s nearest collection site based on geolocation and postcode data. The targeting for one of the emails is then further developed to match sites that are under a capacity threshold with messaging describing how that area needs them.


- Storytelling through the use of video in email reinforces why a supporter should collect money.

- Persona driven messaging is incorporated based on a supporters collection history and previous interaction with the charity.

- Social proofing and urgency techniques is ramped up by using behavioural data as the campaign progresses.


- Prepopulated tweets are launched from the email telling the world that the supporter has signed up to collect. Hastags #DaffodilAppeal and #ImCollectingBecause are also included in the email and the live tweets are pulled into acquisition emails to encourage others to sign up.

- Standard abandoned basket fare is an important aspect of the campaign for the phase when the above-the-line and TV started.

- Register your interest triggers capture the intent of a supporter. Relevant comms are then triggered to alert supporters when new collections are released based on the criteria they enter.

- Post-sign up upselling encourages additional engagement and participation through a structured automated journey.

- Gamification. Offering a reward for ‘super collectors’ that sign up to five or more collections.


- Personalised advice is included in the lead up to collection day on what to wear and how to prepare based on weather forecasts.

- SMS is integrated into the campaign thanking the supporter for collecting two hours after the last shift of the day

In summary
Chris Pook states that the campaign is only part way through (with some of the functionality still to launch) but the results so far have been overwhelmingly positive, especially in relation to the high skew in terms of online sign ups.

Could TV adverts be moving towards programmatic?


The way that television adverts have been bought for decades could be beginning to change. Traditionally adverts are bought on a pre agreed price basis and focus only on the channel and programme they are shown against in terms of targeting. This is in contrast to the ever changing landscape of the digital display market, where programmatic buying and audience targeting is playing an ever growing role.

According to the IAB, 28% (c£500m) of the UK digital display market was traded programmatically last year and by 2017 this could rise to between 60% and 75%. This has resulted in much more effective campaigns, better cost per click for buyers and a more efficient way for sites to sell media. This reach has spanned across desktop, mobile and more recently into social, with continued success.

It is a logical step that TV, would also go the way of display, and start to target much more efficiently against audiences and behaviour. X factor viewers may well fit mostly into the 15-35 female demographic, but if you wanted to advertise car insurance to a particular cross section of this audience, current TV adverts would have a very poor cost efficiency and a large amount of wastage.  Through programmatic buying, real time bidding on the ability to serve an ad to an individual, the advertiser can appear in front of the exact target market at the right time. This would no doubt result in better campaign performance.

The biggest barrier is not technology, many people have TV boxes that are linked to their home wifi and programmatic ad serving through these could be easily developed.  The real issue is simply access to inventory: broadcasters need to be willing to open access to their systems and release inventory for a supply-side platform to be put in place before programmatic TV can develop and grow. There may well be a reluctance to do this, due to the fact that the broadcasters already make a lot of money selling the space on a guaranteed basis. It may just not be worth their while taking the risk to revolutionise the way the industry buys and sells space.

It may well be that VoD plays a key role in initiating this transformation. Channel 4 is launching a new VoD marketplace in 2015, that for the first time will allow advertising to be bought programmatically on a television platform in the UK. Despite being new to the UK market, there are some examples of changes beginning to happen globally, especially in the US where it is predicted up to 5% of TV adverts in 2014 will be bought programmatically, up from 1% in 2014.

It remains to be seen how this shift in advertising will take place but it is now almost certain that it is a matter of when, not if.


Facebook Atlas and the potential to change display advertising.


Facebook is attempting to increase its presence in the display advertising market by serving ads across the internet, not just on the social media site itself. In an attempt to help better connect online advert impressions with offline purchases they have rebuilt the Atlas platform, which they first purchased in February 2013.  It will directly challenge Google’s display network (GDN) in serving ads around the web.

They have launched the platform to ‘tackle today’s marketing challenges’, mainly around cookie tracking. By using Facebook’s own targeting taken from the information they hold about users, to serve adverts across external sites, Atlas would be able to deliver a ‘people-based marketing solution that would help marketers reach people across devices, platforms and publishers’ according to head of Atlas Erik Johnson.

This reduces the need for using cookie tracking data, which is fundamental to how GDN identifies potential audiences but also causes privacy and security concerns amongst consumers. The ability to seamlessly track users and their behaviour across devices is key to Atlas. By using data from logged in users, whether on desktop, mobile or tablet, it also overcomes a major issue of most cookie data not working on mobile. Particularly important as mobile is a rapidly growing part of digital marketing and a vital consideration for any marketing campaign.


As with any new platform there will be concerns and issues around privacy and security, but Facebook adverts have proved very successful across a range of campaigns at Macmillan, so it is hoped that if Atlas is used in the future it will provide positive results.

Source: Marketing Magazine



Econsultancy Report on the Approach CRUK Take to Remaining Agile

A recently published Econsultancy article sheds some light on how Cancer Research UK approach the challenges surrounding remaining agile in a constantly evolving digital environment.

The full article is displayed below:

This year has seen the emergence of a new trend in charity fundraising – viral, nomination campaigns.

The most recent example was the ice bucket challenge phenomenon that swept round the globe fuelled by celebrity endorsements, eventually raising more than $90m for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association.

But earlier in the year Cancer Research benefited from its own spontaneous viral campaign when women began posting photos and donating with the hashtag #NoMakeupSelfie.

Cancer Research was in a position to make the most of this opportunity because it has already adopted agile working practices within its digital team.

To find out more about this process I spoke to senior digital services manager James Gadsby Peet, who will also be speaking at Econsultancy’s Festival of Marketing in November.

The two-day conference is a celebration of the modern marketing industry, featuring speakers from brands including LEGO, Tesco, Barclays, FT.com and more.

Please describe your role at Cancer Research?

I am the digital services manager within the digital team, which supports the whole of the charity.

And my team in particular looks after our various digital capabilities across services such as analytics, user experience, design, content strategy, taxonomy, reporting and search, as well as supporting our wider product teams with their digital marketing activities.

What sort of model do you operate?

Digital is a centralised service – we drive forward the digital capabilities across all our different products and services.

So we would help support and develop, for example, the Race For Life and our Shine products, as well as the huge amount of cancer information that we provide to the public with the health marketing team in terms of early diagnosis.


When did digital become a priority within Cancer Research?

We’ve always been near the forefront, however we’ve seen a real marked shift in the last year-and-a-half where we’ve been really driving forward the agenda across the entire organisation.

CRUK recently had a director of digital appointed and the digital team itself has undergone a bit of a restructure in order to make it as effective as possible.

Who’s driving the change?

We have a really forward-thinking and innovative leadership team at CRUK, so we’re always thinking about the future and how things should develop moving forward.

I think what we are really making ground with now is what that might actually mean for digital, and for the organisation with digital at its core.

Now that we have that digital director position he’s able to really illustrate that to the other members of the leadership team.

Do you think within the charity sector there’s been a slower adoption of digital, or do you feel it’s keeping up with other industries?

I think with any charity and with any new area of development there’s a natural inclination to wait and see what works.

We have a responsibility to ensure we are spending our supporters’ money in the right way, so I think sometimes that can lead to people not necessarily taking things forward in quite the speed that we would see in other organisations.

At CRUK I think we’re in a very fortunate position in terms of what we get to do in these new and exciting areas.

I think we’re moving at pace and have opportunities that other industries just don’t see.

Social media is obviously a great example. With the charity sector we obviously see the success of #NoMakeupSelfie and the ice bucket challenge, but where we’ve seen incredible engagement is actually our brand content.

This is where we’re creating stories that tell our supporters about the work we do and the impact we’ve had.

Commercial organisations really struggle to tell that kind of engaging story and we just have that content in spades.

Has digital impacted the type of content you produce, or has it just altered the way you disseminate your content?

So the aim is absolutely that all our content is created with digital in mind.

We’re still on that journey and I’ve no doubt we’ll be doing more exciting things, but we’re already doing a lot of stuff which is created absolutely primarily for digital.

Regarding #NoMakeupSelfie, did you learn anything off the back of that and have you implemented any new processes as a result?

The agility we have in our communications and digital teams to respond to something like #NoMakeupSelfie was what set us apart from other organisations with our ability to spot and make the most of that opportunity.

I think within those teams not an enormous amount has changed, it was how we were setup before and we will continue to be.

In other teams across the building we’ve kind of shown we can be moving at this pace and we can be making these decisions at speed but still have that incredibly high quality output.

So that has really shown people that we might be able to replicate that in other parts of the business.

What have been your biggest digital successes?

The work we’ve done around our website in the last 18 months hasn’t had the ‘big bang’ excitement of other initiatives, but we’ve restructured two-thirds to three-quarters of our website in a way that we’ve never done before.

And it’s not just about the end product, which is incredibly high quality, but it’s about the way that we’ve worked in that space.

We’ve been far more agile and looking for on-going optimisations as opposed to big projects.

We’re than also able to see the results of that in terms of our search engine rankings and the amount of traffic that’s coming to the site.

From the date we made those changes, you can see the graphs going up from that point.

Do you do a lot of user testing?

Yes, one of the teams that I manage is user experience services, so we have weekly user testing sessions and we’re looking at how we can make that even more regular at the moment.

We want to make it part of everyone’s role to spend time with our users on a regular basis.

I guess if we were to talk about user-centricity, the digital strategy that we’re just finishing at the moment is really not about technology.

Our strategy is about our customers and the users, that’s what we’re putting at the heart of everything we’re designing.

And the ability to get close to our users and our supporters is the opportunity that we really see moving forward, and that’s the biggest shift that we’ll see coming forward.

So it won’t be about us creating things we think our supporters want, but actually making products that we know they want and need, and thus being more successful because of that.

By David Moth.

First published on Econsultancy 22nd September 2014 (https://econsultancy.com/blog/65480-how-cancer-research-benefits-from-agile-working-practices#i.cura1b1a0xdc7z)

Twitter Rolls Out Analytics For All Users

Twitter has announced that all users, whether business or personal, will now be able to access the analytics tool and find out how many people are viewing and interacting with their posts.

In July the social media site updated  their analytics tool for advertisers and verified users, but this has now been rolled out to everyone.  Any registered Twitter user will now be able to see how many people really were keen to read about their updates using the analytics dashboard.


Breakdown of the performance of a tweet over time.

Breakdown of the performance of a tweet over time.


The dashboard lets users see how many impressions each tweet has received (how many times users saw the tweet on Twitter), the number of favourites their tweet has received, how many times others have clicked on their profiles, and the number of retweets and replies on a certain tweet. It also shows how many times users engaged with a tweet and what that engagement was. By clicking on the tweet in question a more detailed breakdown of how users engaged will also be displayed.  In addition the analytics dashboard also displays information about demographic and geographic information about the users’ followers.


Demographic and geographic information provided about current followers.

Demographic and geographic information provided about current followers.


Being able to track the effectiveness of certain tweets and the content that creates engagement will not only be useful for the everyday user wanting to see what their friends like, but also for non paid twitter posts by businesses. Previously third party paid apps have had to be used to report on the success of organic campaigns, unlike Facebook where any page has access to the insight function whether they are running paid ads or not.  Twitter will no doubt hope that by monitoring organic posts and potential success of various content, more users will be tempted into using Twitter Cards.

The new analytics dashboard can be accessed here, in order to run analytics on tweets the account must be at least 14 days old.

RNLI now accepts donations in Bitcoin

Lifeboat charity RNLI announced yesterday that they now accept donations through the digital currency Bitcoin. They’re the first major UK charity to do so and with 1 Bitcoin being worth £336, you can see why.

Unlike conventional currencies, Bitcoins aren’t printed or minted – they don’t physically exist and are not controlled by a bank or government. Instead they are created and held electronically, allowing users to conduct transactions over the internet. The RNLI has chosen to receive Bitcoin donations via a dedicated page (RNLI.org/Bitcoin). The charity says that if the scheme is successful it may look at integrating Bitcoin into its standard donation pages.

BHF launches a tear-jerking TV ad to get more people to leave money to charity in their will

The ad, called “something to think about”, launched on 17 March shows real families becoming emotional as they look at photographs of loved-ones who died of heart disease.
At the end of a spot, a young girl who was in one of the photographs, turns out not to be dead and returns to her family, as a voiceover says “Every day, research funded by the BHF is helping to save more lives because someone like you remembered us in their will”.


The reaction of the families who lost loved ones was captured by showing them memory films of the deceased and then filming their reaction through one-way glass, according to a spokeswoman from Arthur London (creative agency).

Andrew Russell, BHF’s head of supporter development, said: “Legacies fund almost half of our research, and we hope that by honestly depicting the devastation that heart disease has on families, we can encourage more people to think about what a gift in their will to the BHF could achieve in the future.”

CRUK launch smartphone game: Genes in Space

Cancer Research UK has released a new smartphone game, Play to Cure: Genes in Space, which will let users help scientists unravel gene data to find the answers to some of cancer’s toughest questions.

Players must guide a fast-paced spaceship safely along a hazard-strewn intergalactic assault course to collect precious material called ‘Element Alpha’. Each time the player steers the spaceship to follow the Element Alpha path, this information is fed back to CR-UK scientists – cleverly providing analysis of variations in gene data. Scientists need this information to work out which genes are faulty in cancer patients – so they can develop new drugs that target them, speeding our progress towards personalised medicine. Each section of gene data will be tracked by several different players to ensure accuracy.

See the game in action here.

Source: Charity Digital News

5 Great Not-for-Profit Campaigns


American Red Cross: Hurricane Sandy App

In October, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread damage across the US east coast. This app, created by 3 Sided Cube for the American Red Cross provided a platform for the organisation to communicate with people in a new way.

It provided real-time information which enabled users to track the storm, find the nearest shelter and contact loved ones. It also offered valuable advice on protecting homes before disaster strikes.

American Red Cross

The Results:

  • 52m page views.
  • 15m visits.
  • 11m alerts sent.
  • 900% increase in engagement with Red Cross preparedness information compared with previous methods .


Department of Health: The Awkward Conversations Project

This project, carried out by M4C, MEC, Channel Flip and the DoH aimed to engage a youth audience on important but awkward health issues.

The Department of Health co-created content with ten talented YouTube video bloggers in a campaign that reached millions, helping teenagers by giving them the confidence to talk about embarrassing or difficult issues that can be damaging to their health.

Awkward Conversations

The Results:

  • The ten videos were watched almost 4m times (3,974,897 views).
  • They achieved 135,707 YouTube likes, only 1,740 dislikes (vs. YouTube projection of 9,945 dislikes)
  • A 7.4% click-through-rate for a pre-roll campaign (vs. 1.5% YouTube benchmark).
  • All videos featured in the top 50 most liked videos on YouTube on the day of upload.


38 Degrees: Save our NHS

The challenge for this campaign was simple, but ambitious; create a targeted email campaign to raise £60,000 to fund a high-profile poster campaign. On a budget of £5,000. In three days.

38 degrees wanted to make the government’s proposed changes to the NHS a major issue during the London mayoral elections. They aimed to do this with a high-profile poster campaign across the capital, but funding it was going to be expensive.

38 Degrees supporters were sent an email containing the proposed creative work, in effect asking them to approve it.


The Results:

  • The initial £60,000 target was met in just 6 hours.


Prostate Cancer UK: Football league Campaign

This was a content marketing campaign, which used Prostate Cancer UK’s status as Football League charity partner to raise awareness of the disease amongst football fans.

PCUK’s agency Public Zone built a network of fans representing all 72 Football League clubs, finding the key influencers for each, those who have built audiences around blogs, Twitter, forums etc.


The Results:

  • 167% traffic increase to the Prostate Cancer UK website in week one.
  • 92% were new users.
  • Nine of the top 10 referral sites were football sites running campaign activity.
  • Year-on-year traffic to the website is up more than 70%.


Charity:water:  Hypertargeted email

This simple campaign demonstrated the value of highly targeted, personalised email marketing.

The charity’s email strategy for this campaign was changed from several mass email blasts, to regular highly personalized emails dedicated to educating, inspiring and engaging subscribers. Subscribers were targeted based on their levels of engagement with the emails and progress toward their fundraising goals.

Rwanda Water

The Results:

  • Charity: water exceeded its fundraising goal and will help over 26,000 people in Rwanda get clean water.
  • Open rates were as high as 57% compared to just 25% for previous campaigns.
  • More than $2m was raised, $300,000 more than their original goal, making this charity: water’s most successful campaign ever.

Source: econsultancy

CRUK’s new user-generated content microsite

Take a look at the latest CRUK microsite every moment counts.


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