Breast Cancer Trials’ 3 Course Challenge
Community fundraising event & digital acquisition

Breast Cancer Trials Community Fundraising


For Mother’s Day 2020, Breast Cancer Trials (BCT) challenged its community to do something special to raise money for breast cancer research. 

This unique digital peer-to-peer event turned the love we have for our mothers into a cooking challenge that would do them proud. 

The Mother’s Day event encouraged supporters to donate to BCT in lieu of buying a Mother’s Day gift. 

In return, the donor and their mum got access to a virtual cooking masterclass with chef and TV personality, Manu Feildel. 

The cooking class was live-streamed in a private Facebook Group. The event created a genuinely intimate experience for the attendees, as they were able to message Manu throughout, and he responded to questions and comments. 

After the success of this event, BCT wanted to build on its learnings and successes to create a brand new community fundraising event that would take place in August. The focus would be the precious moments in life that are affected by a breast cancer diagnosis, and the event would involve a dinner party with close friends and family.


BCT wanted an assessment of their dinner party idea, creation of a challenge concept & digital execution of the campaign.


A brand new community fundraising event for BCT’s supporters that focused on food, eating and sharing with close friends.


  • 496 signups and
  • $137,820 raised as of 30 October, 2020.

The Challenge

Creating a new community fundraising event is no simple feat. But at Marlin, we thrive on creative challenges that bring people together to raise vital funds for charities. 

BCT came to us with the idea of creating a dinner party and needed our help with assessing the idea and then transforming it into a challenge event.

We thought it was a great idea to seize the opportunity and create this event to bring people together especially when COVID-19 lockdown was easing. So we started with a strong proposition to link this event with fundraisers. What we came up with was the following:

“You can create an event and protect precious moments like these while supporting the research that will bring new breast cancer treatments and cures into the hands of health professionals”

Through our collaborative discussions with BCT, we:

  • Created a new event concept including the name, headline, and all the assets (such as imagery and copy) for BCT’s digital channels.
  • Created all content on their fundraising platform, Funraisin.
  • Developed a digital fundraising strategy and executed a multi-channel supporter communications journey to drive engagement, acquisition and activation.
  • Used analytics, data and a ‘test, learn and optimise’ approach to create the overall fundraising experience.
  • Developed email journeys to engage various supporters with the aim of reactivating, acquiring, engaging and retaining them after the event.
Breast Cancer Trials Community Fundraising
Breast Cancer Trials Community Fundraising

The Solution

“Cook up a cure for breast cancer” 

For this event we need fun, bold messaging. We landed on “cook up a cure for breast cancer” to encourage participants to host a French dinner party, guided via live stream by chef and TV personality Manu Feildel.

Coronavirus restrictions have given people a whole new appreciation for the simple act of getting together with friends. Making and sharing food is a feel-good thing to do, especially when it also raises money for life-changing treatments.

The goal of the 3 Course Challenge was to inspire people to create a dinner party – a precious moment shared with family and friends – which would contribute to treating and curing women with breast cancer.

This challenge stands out from other physical challenges because it focuses on food, family and loved ones (whether they are affected by breast cancer or not) during an uncertain time.

Digital Marketing Strategy

We developed a digital marketing strategy for pre-registration as well as for the 7 week campaign, utilising predominantly Facebook ads with Instagram and Google Ads used as supporting channels.

We adopted a “test and optimise” approach for the social media campaign since it was a brand new fundraising event. We analysed the existing data collected from BCT’s previous Mother’s Day campaign, and created different ads for the various audiences that may be interested in the 3 Course Challenge.

From there, we leveraged a combination of engaging imagery, video assets and a retargeting campaign to acquire fundraisers by directly asking them to register for the event. 

By continuously testing different imagery, copy and calls to action, we were able to scale the most optimised campaigns from each ad platform to get the best results for BCT’s media budget.

We built the fundraising platform using the ‘out of the box’ solution created by Funraisin and set up advanced analytics to ensure tracking was in place for test and learn.

Real time data from BCT’s Google Analytics account and other digital channels were collated in our custom built Data Studio Dashboard, so we could see which campaigns were performing and which weren’t during the testing phase. With this step, we could confidently make informed decisions on which campaigns to switch off and which ones to boost.  

In addition, the Dashboard was used as a reference point for reporting throughout the campaign.

We also used Google Search (Ad Grants) to direct people to the registration page when searching for relevant branded, local and campaign keywords.

Motivation through communications

Each piece of communications played an important part in the success of this campaign. 

The series of email journeys helped BCT reactivate previous supporters, acquire new fundraisers and engage all registered participants to raise money during the campaign.

From event conception to the creation of social ads, and the email journeys for engagement, acquisition and activation, we ensured the messaging was consistently bold and compelling. We wanted to make the supporters feel special in joining an exclusive event where they could cook to help save lives.

Breast Cancer Trials Community Fundraising
Breast Cancer Trials Community Fundraising
Breast Cancer Trials Community Fundraising

The Results

Over the 7 week campaign, the results were overwhelmingly positive for BCT’s new fundraising event, with 496 signups and $137,820 raised as of 30 October, 2020.

Wrapping up

Developing a community fundraising product is a challenge, but getting it right can bring your organisation a sustainable fundraising stream. 

At Marlin, we’ve helped many charities create sustainable, scalable and most of all fun community fundraising events for its supporters. 

If you would like assistance developing a new community fundraising product or revamping an existing one, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

“We had the concept for a new ‘challenge’ event based on earlier learnings and we were excited – but knew as a small team we didn’t have the expertise and resourcing to bring it to life. Marlin took our concept into the ‘challenge event’ framework, providing essential expertise across areas such as creative, communications and the digital strategy whilst we worked to deliver other important elements. We’re blown away with the success of the 3 Course Challenge in its first year and Marlin’s commitment went above and beyond. We truly worked together, valuing each others contributions and that, together with the opportunity to learn from Marlin, has been a highlight of this experience.”

Julie CallaghanChief Operating Officer – Fundraising and Philanthropy, Breast Cancer Trials
Marlin Communications Australia

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