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Mailbox with envelopes flying out of it, representing email

Using automation to personalise email campaigns

This week, Bryony Ashcroft, Digital Editor at Macmillan, spoke to our Email Marketing Officer, Fearn Sandison about how she is using automation to personalise our email campaigns.

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Macmillan for Gamechangers logo

Online charity gaming with Macmillan and Twitch

From 14 – 15 November 2015, some of the biggest gamers in the business took part in Macmillan’s Game Changers – a 24-hour marathon of online gaming, streamed live on our Twitch channel from Twitch HQ in Soho.

For those of you wondering what Twitch is, don’t know what a gamer is, haven’t got a scooby what online gaming entails, or why Macmillan have got involved, this post should clear it up.

Twitch is the world’s leading social video streaming platform, and community. The basic premise is that people can broadcast themselves playing video games live (we call them gamers), while interacting with those watching the action unfold. For people who enjoy computer games, it’s a fantastic way to connect with others who share their passion.

Some of the gamers on Twitch are so entertaining that they’ve grown massive followings and become major online influencers. Check out LTZonda (286,537 followers) and LeahLovesChief (89,367 followers).

That’s great but what’s it got to do with Macmillan?

In February 2015, Twitch commanded 1.8% of peak US internet traffic, a percentage beaten only by the giants Netflix, Google and Apple. That’s a lot of people using it! Check out these other stats from October 2015 which will blow your mind.

At Macmillan, we are actively trying to reach new audiences through our fundraising activity so we have to engage people in ways which appeal to them. With Twitch’s popularity, it makes the platform the perfect place for charities to connect with a whole new demographic.

A quick look at the user demographics over the past 30 days (from quantcast.com) shows that Twitch users are largely white males between the ages of 18-24, with an average household income of $0-50k. This has traditionally been a difficult audience for Macmillan to engage with outside of standard physical challenge events so this is a great place to find them.

Back in 2014, Adam Lyne raised over £40,000 for Macmillan in under a week by holding his own gaming marathon, so we knew there was serious potential with this audience. We noticed that although individuals were fundraising, there wasn’t much outside of this so decided to create our first organised charity gaming event. We asked Adam and some other gamers to get together and brainstorm how an event like this would work as we wanted it to be as credible as possible – run for, and by gamers.

What happened on the day?

With Twitch’s help, 17 popular gamers were brought on board to take part in our main Game Changers event which was streamed live on the Macmillan Twitch account.

People sitting in front of a large wall mounted screen in a room at Twitch headquarters. They are pleaying video games and wearing headsets with microphones..

While gaming, they encouraged viewers to donate by agreeing to complete challenges. For example, when someone donated £1000, one gamer shaved their eyebrow off live on the stream. Nice! There was even a wheel of misfortune which was spun whenever a fundraising target was met. Onions were eaten, legs were shaved, eyebrows were waxed, hair was dyed, hot sauce was eaten and even Muggy (our Coffee Morning mug costume) was worn.

A collage of the gamers doing their challenges like shaving their eyebrows, eating onions, dying their hair and wearing shower caps.

It wasn’t just traditional gaming which was being streamed though. Beth Freeman, a talented creative streamer who streams different kinds of art, produced this original piece for Macmillan, and her stream has raised a staggering £1,368 so far.

A piece of art depicting two computer screens, keyboard and a Game Changers mug full of coffee

Alongside the main event, we also encouraged supporters to hold their own DIY 24-hour gaming marathons and raise money by completing forfeits.

One of our gamers Valkia, chronicled the day in this YouTube video.

Has Game Changers been a success?

We definitely think so. The event has raised £60,704 so far and there will be further DIY events taking place till the end of the year so we expect that total to rise. On our main stream, over 2 years worth of footage was watched over the 24 hours, and there were up to 2000 viewers at any one time. Our second stream which took place on Adam Lyne’s own channel got over double this, so that’s plenty of engagement.

This is just the beginning of Macmillan’s relationship with gaming so watch this space.

Thanks to Twitch for giving up their headquarters and helping to run this event. And thanks also to our sponsors HyperX and Xbox for helping to make the first year of Game Changers such a success.

Thoughts? Questions about this post? Leave a comment below or tweet us @mac_digital, we’d love to chat.

Digital does The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

See a timelapse video of our office Coffee Morning

Cakes at a Coffee Morning

Louise holds a sign advertising a Coffee Morning

Rebecca at a Coffee Morning

People buying coffee and cakes at Altitude London's Skyloft on Millbank

Thanks to Altitude London at Millbank Tower and Bermondsey Square Hotel for having us at your lovely Coffee Mornings, and to everyone who has baked, bought or eaten a cake today. Find out more about The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Monte Carlo Or Bust European Banger Rally

Monte carlo

How many bangs do you get for one buck?  Did Buck Rogers ever live up to his name?  How many cabin boys named Roger does it take to change a light bulb?  For the answer to all of these questions, look a lot further as I have no idea.

What I do know is that our very own Olivia and Sophia are going to be driving an old banger in a rampant rampage across France in July, although Baise-moi this is not.  It’s all in the name of your favourite charity and they are hoping to break open Macmillan’s bank balance whilst enjoying a bumpy ride through vineyards, chateau adorned landscapes and cities filled with buildings and people.  Read on for the chance to win absolutely nothing.

They will have just 3 days to reach Monte Carlo in their 1994 BMW, before resigning their wheels to the scrapheap, hopefully free of dead bodies named Marv.  You can follow the girls’ progress here:


and make a donation on their Just Giving page by following this link:


Click away and smell the fromage!

Tig Notaro – LIVE! (rhymes with give…)

Wow! This weekend I listened to one of the most incredible things. American comic, Tig Notaro, had been booked to play at a comedy club when, just before the gig was due, she was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. Somehow she agreed to perform and delivered one of the most arresting, emotionally honest and funny shows I’ve ever heard. Bringing in the fact that her mother had recently died and she’d split up with her long term girlfriend, the audience reaction goes from nervous laugther, to openly upset, then appreciating the humour she uses in her fight to understand and deal with the situation through to a truly supportive, group protection of her. The show’s available for download here

with a share of the profits going to cancer research or read the Huffington Post article here. Astonishing.

Driving registrations to golf events

For the launch of our new community golf event the Big Golf Drive we went for a ‘does what it says on the tin’ concept, using close-up cropped silhouettes of golf clubs to give a dynamic feel to the materials.

On the registration leaflet for the Silverspoons event we put our heads together and managed to shoe-horn in a few new golf puns. After a few years working on the various golf events we thought the well might have run dry, but we managed to dredge up ‘We love greens’, ‘ Be an early birdie’, ‘We pitch in’ and ‘Putt it in the post’ (groan). It was December when we worked on this so maybe the panto season inspired us.

Unicef’s colourful fundraising campaign

Click here to see the new website created by Dulux aiming to ‘sell-off’ 16.7 million individual colours, raising money for Unicef. For a donation of £1 or more you can own one of the colours that can be viewed on a smartphone. Sorry if your name’s Rich Brown as that one’s already gone, but there’s still lots more to buy… Tempted?

Other charity initiatives… raffle off your celebrities!

Children with Leukaemia have launched a celebrity raffle, featuring prizes of meals supplied by nine of Britain’s best known chefs… In part supported by the Good Agency, who Macmillan have worked with in the past, this is generating publicity through the high profile names involved. Although this might seem an odd fit it will be interesting to see whether this fundraiser works, and how.
Website here with raffle tickets available until next week

New Macmillan children’s t-shirts – jump to it!

Our little monster chums are getting fit for summer on two brand new t-shirts for children; fundraisers can order them now from be.macmillan . Choose from the eager skipper shown or two monsters limbering up for a fierce work-out… The mosnters feature across the Schools and Youth programme of work and are particularly popular with primary school age groups. We hope they’ll be big sellers and reinforce the benefits of keeping active to those who wear them!

Welcome to the Monkeysphere

Really, really, really interesting article about the extent of our worlds of comprehension. Apparently we’re only capable of keeping about 150 people relevant in our minds at any one time. Those who exist outside that core group of a few dozen people are not people to us. They’re sort of one-dimensional bit characters.

Read more here
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