The Brain Tumour Charity creates award-winning donor experience with Salesforce Professional Services
Understand and engage donors: four tips from The Brain Tumour Charity
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40, with approximately 88,000 children and adults estimated to be living with a brain tumour in the UK. As the world’s leading brain tumour charity and the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally, The Brain Tumour Charity is committed to finding a cure for the condition.
“The cure can’t wait,” explained Gina Almond, Director of Fundraising. “We can’t afford delays, so we’re always striving to be at the cutting edge and pushing for new advances.”
With that in mind, the charity realised that it could deepen its relationships with its supporters by reimagining how it uses technology to know and engage them. The Brain Tumour Charity had a transformative vision of where they wanted to go, but the journey to get there was set to take years rather than months. This is what drove them to engage Salesforce Professional Services to bring the charity’s concept of transformed supporter relationships to life.
The partnership would fundamentally change how The Brain Tumour Charity understands and communicates with their community. With the tools, skills, and confidence to deliver supporters a dynamic, personalised experience through best practice usage of Marketing Cloud and their integrated Salesforce toolset, they have grown the size and frequency of donations, and accelerated the impact they’re having against their mission.
Here are four key learnings from The Brain Tumour Charity’s journey that could help you leverage data, analytics, segmentation, and continuous iteration to transform your relationships with your own supporters and customers.
The Brain Tumour Charity
1: Democratise knowledge and expertise
The Brain Tumour Charity is an organisation of bold ambition and action. This approach is reflected in everything that the charity does, and the supporter experience transformation was no exception. Rather than simply implementing new processes or technology, The Brain Tumour Charity set out to affect an organisation-wide shift in mindset.
“In the past, our interactions with supporters were very product-led and siloed,” said Almond. “For instance, if you signed up to run the London Marathon with us, you’d hear a lot about that particular event, and maybe about other marathons. But you wouldn’t hear about our regular giving programme, or research news. It was more of a customer response than a customer experience.”
Moving away from fragmented, single-use strategies, the charity began leveraging Marketing Cloud to deliver holistic journeys driven by the behaviours of its supporters. The key to this shift was democratising digital marketing and automation knowledge. Previously, only a handful of people had the skills and know-how to use Marketing Cloud, but with the help of the Professional Services team at Salesforce, The Brain Tumour Charity is empowering everyone in the organisation to harness the power of the platform.
Onboarding an entire organisation onto a new technology is a significant undertaking, but adoption has been smooth thanks to bespoke training streams on the Trailhead platform, developed by Salesforce Professional Services. In fact, multiple people have asked for additional, optional training to deepen their Marketing Cloud expertise even further.
Helen Clements, Head of Community Experience at The Brain Tumour Charity, commented: “Even if people aren’t sending emails or setting up customer journeys themselves, the ability to use Marketing Cloud to understand our supporters and the opportunities available is invaluable. It enables everyone in the charity to speak a common language.”
With everybody on the same page in terms of Marketing Cloud fundamentals, staff are better positioned than ever to consider the entire customer experience and collaborate to deliver personalised supporter journeys. What’s more, deep integration with Sales Cloud provides a central source of truth for customer data to support the new strategy.
2: Pair technology with methodology
Each of The Brain Tumour Charity’s approximately 100 employees are highly passionate and knowledgeable about the field, so the organisation had no shortage of ideas for how to improve the supporter experience through Marketing Cloud. The challenge was pulling all of these ideas together into a workable, effective roadmap – and this is where Salesforce Professional Services was a powerful ally.
The team of experts at Salesforce worked closely with the charity throughout the entire project, helping to define outcomes, develop a methodology, design and deliver training, and create a supporter experience blueprint to guide the initial pilot campaign.
“The whole project was a huge collaboration,” confirmed Almond. “Salesforce has helped us design and implement at every stage.”
The partnership encompassed not just the Marketing Cloud platform, but also the broader strategy and framework that would empower The Brain Tumour Charity to accelerate and maximise the value of their supporter relationships. Additionally, by ensuring that all new processes were fully repeatable, the combined team laid the foundation for continuous improvement which will result in sustainable growth.
“Salesforce Professional Services turbo-charged our aspirations,” summarised Clements. “They took what we were planning to achieve in two years, and gave us the focus, methodology, and confidence to complete it in just six months.”
The Brain Tumour Charity
3. Create segmentation through data science
Personalised engagement is at the heart of every successful customer journey, and to deliver personalisation, you need to know your customers and what they want.
Like many charities, The Brain Tumour Charity previously had many different definitions for its supporters and donors which were constantly evolving – and used inconsistently across the organisation. To streamline this process and take its marketing to the next level, the charity needed a unified way to intelligently classify and segment its audience.
This was one of the first challenges that the Professional Services team helped solve. By the second workshop, Salesforce data scientists had already analysed the last five years of the charity’s supporter data. This provided unprecedented insight into customer behaviour and enabled a clear division of the supporter base into persona cohorts, laying the groundwork for a supporter-centric strategy.
“I don’t think so many people have ever fallen in love with segmentation so quickly,” recalled Almond. “It’s given us a clear and logical way to talk about our different supporters, and it’s become central to our campaign planning and reporting.”
While The Brain Tumour Charity is still working alongside Salesforce to refine its segmentation and find the best ways to leverage it, the new, data-driven approach is already enabling the charity to deliver more targeted, relevant, and engaging customer interaction.
4. Test, learn, repeat
With its new-found Marketing Cloud expertise, and with supporting methodologies and segmentation in place, The Brain Tumour Charity began work on its initial campaign – Jeremy Daubeny’s ‘Tour de Full English’.
In 2018, Jeremy’s father passed away from a brain tumour, and he lost his mother soon after to Motor Neurone Disease. To honour his parents, Jeremy embarked on a seven-week cycling challenge, touring the country in search of Britain’s Best Breakfast in order to raise awareness and funds for both conditions.
Jeremy’s challenge captured imaginations throughout the country, and presented the perfect opportunity for The Brain Tumour Charity to put what it had learned from Salesforce into action. The charity amplified the story through an interactive email campaign, utilising Journey Builder’s capabilities to deliver a 1:1 personalised experience for each supporter. The charity worked together with the Salesforce experts to design a series of seven emails, with each one inviting the recipient to choose what content they wanted to see next. For instance, they could choose to hear Jeremy’s thoughts on the best breakfasts, or learn about brain tumour research projects.
The combination of interactivity and rich, personalised content proved immensely successful, resulting in thousands of pounds in incremental revenue in the first two weeks, a 2x uplift in donation per donor, and a 1.7x increase in amount per donation. However, this success was only the beginning. The charity immediately took what it learned from the pilot project, refined the campaign, and began testing with a new audience.
“We started seeing better results in the second test straightaway,” said Clements about the iterative test-and-refine approach. The Brain Tumour Charity is now applying the best practices that it has developed through the initial tests to an upcoming, large-scale early diagnosis campaign.
Gina Almond explains: “It’s a multichannel, multi-year campaign that will be one of the biggest things we do within the charity for the foreseeable future. Brain tumours don’t discriminate, so the audience for this will be everyone. The enormity of the project, of how we’re going to track it, and the kind of journeys we’ll need to create is almost overwhelming – it wouldn’t be possible without Salesforce and the lessons we’ve learned so far.”
A solution that’s already winning awards
With its agile, test-and-learn culture, The Brain Tumour Charity is making improvements to its customer experience every day. In the long term, these incremental changes – being more efficient, collaborative, and data-driven – will amount to a vastly improved way in which the charity engages their community and understands their supporters’ behaviour.
Even now in its early days, the programme is already garnering acclaim from peers, with The Brain Tumour Charity winning “Marketing Partnership of the Year” at the Third Sector Business Charity Awards. With Salesforce’s help, the charity will be able to more effectively renew relationships with supporters, reconnect with lapsed donors, and encourage greater giving.
“We consider our collaboration with Salesforce to be a true partnership,” concluded Almond. “We’re very careful in choosing who we work with. We couldn’t do this alone, so we need partners like Salesforce who care about the brain tumour cause as deeply as we do.”
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