Christmas Appeal 2021
Hope at Heart
Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ) partnered with Marlin to develop a compelling and effective Christmas 2021 Appeal. Having worked with the Marlin team on previous campaigns, they were confident in our ability to help them create a truly powerful appeal.
Since Christmas is synonymous with family gatherings, we focused on a topic that hits everyone hard emotionally – childhood cancer – with the hope that people will feel greater empathy and give generously at this time of year.
The appeal would feature an emotive case study of Missy and her family whose lives have been, and continue to be ripped apart by cancer. Recognising the impact stories can have on illustrating the needs donors can help address, Missy’s story was used to develop a three-wave appeal that asked donors to support researchers in their quest to create a cancer free future.
Titled, Hope at Heart, the complete Direct Mail pack delivered a consistent message that asked donors to give the gift of hope – hope for other children like Missy, hope for her mother, Anj, to carry on Missy’s mission, and hope for a cancer free future.
The result was a highly successful Christmas Appeal that surpassed its fundraising target and raised an outstanding amount to fund vital childhood cancer research.
Cancer Council Queensland needed to show better data to increase the understanding of childhood cancers. Specifically, funding tools like the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry (ACCR).
In crafting a solution, we knew that a case study would be the most powerful way to illustrate/combine the needs a donor can address.
CCQ’s Christmas Appeal hit 105% of its fundraising target, raising a significant amount to fund childhood cancer research. Their average gift increased by 17%, the highest average gift at Christmas time in the past 7 years.
One of Marlin’s techniques is inspired by the research work of Professor Ruseell James. We aim to discover the central problem that we can frame for the donor so they grasp the opportunity for them to achieve a compelling victory through their giving.
After conducting interviews with doctors and researchers, we found that the problem was tied to a need for better data to increase our understanding of childhood cancers. Specifically, funding tools like the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry (ACCR) is vital to filling knowledge gaps. In short, it became clear that more research was the only answer to saving lives. But the registry itself had been used in prior appeals with subdued results from another fundraising agency, and there was concern that it was a bit too dry for the audience.
Determined to discover what would make the appeal work, we learned that ‘hope is a form of treatment for families living with cancer. Tying the two together, supporters can bring hope by donating to research that can be the difference between life and death for people like Missy.
In crafting a solution, we knew that a case study would be the most powerful way to illustrate/combine the needs a donor can address. Using the heartbreaking, yet the layered story of Missy and her family’s struggle with childhood cancer that ultimately took her life at 14, we created a motivating, hope-filled proposition to the donor:
We’re losing children like Missy because we don’t know enough about childhood cancers. You can change this by giving generously today to help researchers find the answers and take away the pain and uncertainty that cancer brings to families.
We gave our audience three opportunities to donate via mail, and five via eDMs featuring PURLs. Each wave helped to tell Missy’s story and reinforce the prospect of hope; that their donations could be the difference between life and death for children diagnosed with childhood cancer.
Every piece of collateral played an important role – be it to build an emotional connection with Missy and her family, empower donors with a clear overview of the ACCR and how donations can make it possible, or motivate them with practical, Christmas related premiums that could be put to immediate use.
CCQ’s Christmas Appeal hit 105% of its fundraising target, raising a huge amount to fund childhood cancer research. In addition, their average gift increased by 17%, the highest average gift at Christmas time in the past 7 years.
Furthermore, campaign eDMs had an open rate above 30% with a very low unsubscribe and bounce rate.
Overall, we were both thrilled with the results and plan to work together on future campaigns.
Our focus on discovering and then creatively framing a compelling victory worked. By leading with an inspiring and emotive story, CCQ’s audience was able to better connect to the issue of childhood cancer and put their donations to tangible use. This resulted in greater engagement and more funds raised. We are excited to continue to work with charity partners like Cancer Cancer Queensland to create, evolve and extend the foundations of such significant initiatives.