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Cure Brain Cancer is the leading organization for brain cancer research, advocacy and awareness in Australia with a mission to unite the community to increase brain cancer survival and quality of life. 

The patient-focused organization forges global collaborations, funds innovative research and brings world-class clinical trials to Australia to give children and adults with brain cancer access to new treatments faster. It relies heavily on email marketing to raise funds, engage its community, and promote its events. Switching to Campaign Monitor and completing a key integration with Salesforce has helped achieve many mission-critical goals for the nonprofit:

  • Raised $1.6 million (AUD) in a major campaign
  • Reduced amount of event registrants who didn’t fundraise by 90%
  • Near real-time engagement of subscribers

Finding the right match

One of Cure Brain Cancer’s greatest initiatives to grow awareness and raise funds for research is its annual Walk4BrainCancer event. What started as a single walk in 2003 in Sydney quickly expanded into a nationwide phenomenon with over 10,000 participants every year.

From recruiting registrants to encouraging participants to thanking fundraisers, email plays an essential part of every communication throughout the entire event cycle. Since making the switch to Campaign Monitor from Mailchimp, email has become easier and more effective when executing campaigns for this huge event.

When making the decision to switch email service providers, Cure Brain Cancer took several factors into account when ultimately choosing Campaign Monitor: 

“With the platform we were using before, everything was very manual,” said Alex Dobbing, Director of Fundraising and Development. “There was no sort of triggered automation to get our subscribers to keep engaging. We wanted to get more clever and make the most of building up our community.”

With a new more powerful tool, the nonprofit was able to increase the frequency, precision and relevance of its email campaigns for the Walk4BrainCancer event. A more intuitive interface made building emails faster than ever, like these high-performing case study emails:

Nonprofit case study email

And more automated customer journeys and triggered emails meant messaging was more personal and got sent right at the most opportune time to get subscribers to act. 

Email was a big contributor to helping the organization meet its fundraising goal for the most recent edition of Walk4BrainCancer, beating its goal of $1.5 million with $1.65 million raised!

“Email is by far the best channel for us. It’s such an easy way for us to reach our database and give them all of the needed information,” Dobbing said.

Virtual event, tangible success

Like many nonprofit organizations that rely heavily on big events to achieve their mission, Cure Brain Cancer had to adapt its strategy and get creative in the face of COVID-19.

Given the circumstances, a series of large gatherings was out of the question. Instead, it moved to a virtual event encouraging participants to walk at their own time and pace.

nonprofit event promotion email example

While this meant the organization no longer had to plan and orchestrate multiple large-scale events, it came with its own challenges. Cure Brain Cancer wanted to preserve that sense of excitement, energy and community that came with being together while walking for a cause.

“Because it is virtual, we are having to create the community slightly different,” said Dobbing. “We’re using the word ‘you’ a lot more; it’s definitely a case of wanting people to still feel included and like they’re part of something bigger. Which can be quite difficult to do when it’s a virtual campaign. We’re sending more emails because of that, but also we wanted to be a little bit cleverer with our journeys and the way we automate engagement.”

Thanks to this adaptation, the organization has converted a huge obstacle into a new opportunity. The communications team is now able to recruit and engage participants that otherwise would have been unable or unwilling to join a physical event.

“Obviously we’re never going to get to have a single physical event everyone can attend,  Australia is huge,” Dobbing explained. “Having a virtual aspect means no matter where they are, or if they’re not able to attend physical events in the future, we have that option for them. The community’s really rallied behind us, and we’ve raised almost $1.6 million in just a few months with the help of email!”

Email works better when technology plays nice

Campaign Monitor’s top-rated Salesforce email marketing integration streamlines email production for Cure Brain Cancer and makes every email more impactful.

The integration between these two powerful tools brings a suite of potent capabilities to Cure Brain Cancer, such as:

  • Easily build beautiful, branded email campaigns with Campaign Monitor’s drag-and-drop email builder
  • Send targeted email campaigns to their contacts in Salesforce
  • Measure how email campaigns drive donations and event signups
  • View email statistics directly within Salesforce
  • Map Campaign Monitor email fields with Salesforce
  • Automatically add subscribers

The integration makes creating emails and setting up campaigns faster and reduces the potential for human error. Because the platforms communicate and pass data back and forth seamlessly, it means the events and communications teams can stay focused on being creative and strategic.

Dobbing has the integration set to sync on an hourly basis, allowing the nonprofit to send timely, highly-personalized messages in near-real-time.

“Especially for our events, it means we can get our comms out in a very timely manner,” she said. “Before the integration, if someone signed up for an event, they might not get an email until the next day. That’s just not the kind of service that we want to provide—we want to say thank you for signing up, welcome, here’s what you need to do next immediately after they signup.”

An elevated journey leads to sky-high engagement rates

Empowered by the Salesforce integration, Cure Brain Cancer created a cross-channel participant journey for Walk4BrainCancer that generated astounding engagement rates.

The complex experience includes a multi-touch email series, invitations to join social media communities, fundraising reminders and tools, Zoom backgrounds, Facebook frames, fundraising incentives, and more.

nonprofit subscriber journey example

The result: the number of inactive registrants plummeted. Nearly every person who signed up for the event raised some amount of money for the cause.

“Engagement has increased,” said Dobbing. “This year, less than 10 people signed up and didn’t raise anything out of 5000 registrants, normally it’s a couple hundred! And people raised more money per participant overall.”

Wrapping up

We’re honored to work with nonprofits championing important causes around the world like the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Learn more about their mission and the work they do on their site, and consider contributing, volunteering, or registering for an event.

Find other inspiring case studies in nonprofit email marketing here.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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