Teenage Cancer Trust

Maximising donations to support teenagers with cancer using a new approach to digital fundraising for the London Marathon.

The Challenge

Raise a record breaking amount from a once in a lifetime fundraising opportunity: Charity of the Year at the London Marathon.

The Result

We want personal bests in fundraising amounts – not just race times. That’s why instead of creating a fitness coaching website we created a fundraising coaching platform instead.

The Background

Teenage Cancer Trust is the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon’s official Charity of the Year. The London Marathon is a huge opportunity for the charity to raise funds and to engage with a wider audience of fundraisers and donors.

The obvious thing to do would be to create a simple, static microsite with a few simple sign up forms and downloadable fundraising toolkits. We wanted to do better.

Securing Charity of the Year status for the London Marathon is an extraordinary achievement – especially for a smaller charity like Teenage Cancer Trust – so we wanted to do something extraordinary with digital to support it.

We needed something more interactive and ambitious than a static campaign microsite and a few forms. We knew that with some extra effort we could multiple the outcomes from the campaign.

The idea of a run coaching tool emerged – appealing to the audience that would be most likely to participate in the run, and giving them something of tangible, ongoing value to engage them in the run-up to the marathon.

We quickly realised, though, was that the outcome we needed was not a group of runners getting fitter and beating their personal bests. That what we really needed was to add pounds to fundraising goals, not help a runner lose a few in the run up to the race.

That’s why we created a fundraising coach, rather than a fitness coach.

computer screens showing the fundraising coach website

The Platform

We created a focused, goal-driven fundraising platform to sign up runners, and support them to raise more funds than they ever thought they could.

A fundraising coach to help you rack up the funds, rather than a fitness coach to rack up the miles of training runs.

The site allows users to sign up to run with an easy to use online form, complete with a touch screen compatible electronic signature.

Those that are successful in their application for a ballot – or who wish to run on their own place – have a Virgin Money Giving fundraising page automatically created for them.

Training for a marathon can be an overwhelming experience, even more so with the additional burden of fundraising.

Much like setting your pace, and understanding your placement in the race, we provided online cues such as leaderboards to help fundraisers understand their current fundraising total compared to other runners.

This gentle competition, and subtle use of gamification, acts as a powerful motivator to push a bit harder, to keep going, to gain a few places.

The platform also displays the total amount of all money raised; promoting a community spirit and reassuring those with lower donation amounts that they are playing a vital role in driving towards a cause bigger than their own individual efforts.

However, displaying a fundraising total is little help without providing the tools to improve. We wanted to make it clear exactly what a runner could do to boost their fundraising total, and give them a way to track those actions.

The site prompts fundraisers to complete time-appropriate tasks that have a positive impact on a fundraising campaign, such as sharing their fundraising page on social media, or uploading an image or video.

We also provided Teenage Cancer Trust with a task building toolkit, enabling them to add bespoke actions as the year progresses.

This actions, along with other content are managed via the site’s Drupal content management system. This means Teenage Cancer Trust can manage it, adding and removing content without technical knowledge.

1,300 applications to run in the 2018 London marathon on behalf of Teenage Cancer Trust in the first 2 months

The Marathon Runner’s Journey

The Marathon isn’t a 26 mile run, it’s a year long journey.

Based on the typical stages of a marathon runner’s experience, we used a content-first approach, providing the right information and prompts to fundraisers at the right time.

The first stage is signing up to participate. The homepage recruits volunteers to support the cause by encouraging people to apply for a place to run in the marathon on behalf of Teenage Cancer Trust. Displaying motivational success stories from previous fundraisers provides “social proof” to inspire and encourage supporters to get involved.

The next stage is fundraising. Once places have been allocated, a Virgin Money Giving page is generated for each fundraiser during signup. A unique homepage, created for fundraisers during this stage, is around maximising fundraising amounts with upcoming tasks, and encouraging and helpful content.

The final stage is the day of the race. During the London Marathon, excitement is always overflowing in the capital as tens of thousands of runners and their supporters flood into the streets. The homepage changes again, this time to showcase this buzz of activity. The race can be live streamed, and the #bealegend hashtag is prominently displayed. The race day homepage also pulls in positive tweets using the hashtag, inspiring those following online, and driving towards race-day donations.

Visit the site at bealegend.org