Worldwide Cancer Research (WCR) is a small Scottish charity with a global reach and the ambition to one day end cancer by starting new cures.
But, while the Covid-19 pandemic has ignited a welcome spirit of generosity across the globe, not all charities have enjoyed the same upsurge in donations. Hospitals, care homes, and other charities in support of the NHS have – quite rightly – been in the spotlight but, because cancer is predicted to be the greatest cause of death by 2030, we knew we had to keep cancer research in the foreground.
With the response to WCR’s monthly prize draw programme having declined by one third in April, our ambition was simple, with three main objectives:
- Stop the decline in response and donation rates
- Protect the programme long-term
- Look after our target audience.
With many of the supporters being vulnerable, we knew many would be self-isolating, and might not react well to the idea of direct mail through their door. But we knew that dropping off the radar completely could potentially be just as damaging.
It was a conundrum. We couldn’t make any major changes to the next round of programme activity that was in production, and we didn’t have the budget to create a dedicated emergency appeal campaign – but we couldn’t afford to do nothing. Sometimes, the best strategic response is to hold steady and not jump into reactive tactics.
Our strategy, in the end, was simple, and very effective.
We redesigned standalone elements of the mailing to carry a Covid message and make the case for continued support. This also allowed us to access a postal discount worth £24k+ (which was used to mail even more supporters) and to reassure supporters that WCR were there for them when they were most needed. We also set up a telephone payment option for the first time, which had the added benefit of building engagement with supporters and boosting donation levels.
As you can see from the stats above, we not only helped Worldwide Cancer Research survive the pandemic – we helped them thrive. And most importantly, we connected and engaged with our loyal supporters during a very challenging time.