Case Study - Rethink Breast Cancer

Engaging supporters across channels through personal messages that increased fundraising and new donor acquisition.
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In early 2018, Rethink Breast Cancer and Raise the Roots began strategizing on a creative Giving Tuesday campaign that was truly multi-channel - engaging Rethink’s large social media following and their email subscribers in a unique way. The solution was a #GivingTuesday Give-A-Thon that brought the organization closer than ever to its donors while increasing exposure to new supporters.


What is a Give-a-Thon? It’s the modern version of a telethon, but instead of a room full of celebrities answering calls from donors on television, Rethink’s team would gather in a conference room with plenty of snacks to thank supporters on social media in real-time as they donated. Once the idea was hatched, an ambitious fundraising goal was set and we got to work. 


The first step in launching the Give-A-Thon was building hype in advance. Rethink published a blog post highlighting the campaign on November 13. Emails and social posts were published a week prior urging donors to save-the-date in preparation for the event. Emails included links to Rethink’s social channels where supporters could follow the day’s activities. The day before Giving Tuesday, another email was sent setting the fundraising goal of the Give-A-Thon and announcing the existence of a matching gift. 


The next step was creating a donation page where donors could choose to be thanked on social media. The form included an option to indicate the donor’s preferred social channel and a field for their handle. Rethink uses Engaging Networks as their eCRM, which allows users to create a rule for donation notifications. A rule was created that told Engaging Networks to send a donation notification to the Rethink team - whenever a donor opted to be thanked on social media - containing their preferred platform and handle. This setup allowed Rethink to thank donors as gifts arrived. 


On Giving Tuesday, the first email went out to Rethink’s supporters at 7:00 AM. It would be followed by three additional emails that updated supporters on Rethink’s progress toward the organization’s goal. One of the emails highlighted the experience of a young woman with breast cancer positively impacted by Rethink’s work. Two others emphasized the benefits of the matching gift. The final email set an urgent tone with a focus on the fundraising goal. 


As the day’s emails went out, Rethink was busy on social media posting pictures of the team celebrating donations. They had graphics created in advance featuring progress thermometers and messages of gratitude. On Instagram, donors were thanked in an ongoing Give-A-Thon Instagram story. On Twitter, handles were bundled together in tweets throughout the day. Many donors re-tweeted or shared the shout-outs, increasing the reach of Rethink’s efforts. Rethink also engaged social media influencers and promoted posts to amplify the Give-A-Thon.


By the end of Giving Tuesday, Rethink had beaten their fundraising goal - and their stretch goal. Thanks to their donors, the organization raised enough money to send 280 care packages (called Give-A-Care packages) to young women with cancer. Here are some critical stats from the campaign:

  • 54% of donors elected to be thanked on social media

  • 94.6% chose Instagram as their preferred platform over Twitter

  • 32% of gifts made came from donors brand new to the file

  • 54% of gifts came via email, 27% via Instagram, 14% from Facebook


Two fields on the donation page allowed donors to select the social channel they prefer to receive their "thank you" message on and share their handle.


Rethink effectively combined the story of a young woman living with breast cancer with the Give-a-Thon by connecting the donor's gift to a tangible benefit provided by the organization to the community it serves.