Macmillan Cancer Support

How can we truly engage with our supporters?

runners taking part in charity run with Macmillan branding on their t shirts
At a glance

Securing much needed donations is still one of the biggest challenges facing cancer charities across the UK.

As the third largest fundraising charity in the UK, Macmillan Cancer Support needed to discover the nuances within the giving audience in order to better connect with them. Through online surveys, we were able to provide a deeper understanding of the attitudes, behaviours and drivers of donation.

With this newly found insight, Macmillan can communicate with focus – identifying the most valuable segments, identifying new populations to target, and tailoring their communications accordingly. This has proved crucial to their wider ongoing strategy.

The full story

An initial online survey of donators unearthed attitudes, behaviours, drivers and barriers to giving – as well as providing insights into the types of charity products they were most drawn too.

We created a segmentation that included behaviour towards charities, attitudes and demographics, and defined 6 distinct personas.

By defining understandable and relatable characters vs demographic stereotypes, we enabled Macmillan to create a more impactful and useable strategy for marketing and media planning purposes.

No segmentation is actionable unless it is embraced by the organisation. To make this happen, we ran workshops facilitated with key stakeholders during the development of the strategy.

A critical input into Macmillan’s wider strategy, the segmentation now provides a clear guide on the core audiences for 2020 onwards, how to market to them, and will be used in all future campaign and product design considerations.

Using the Supporter segmentation, Macmillan identified three of the giving segments as having the largest opportunity, focusing on growing those segments through targeted innovation and tailored communications, some of which helped target and launch innovation during the Covid-19 lockdown period. For example, ‘Work-in Workouts’ and ‘Games Night In’ are both aimed at the Engaged Enthusiast segment to keep themselves and their children entertained.

The segmentation will continue to be used as a decision-making tool in future. Macmillan have allocated their internal database and brand health tracker to segments, to help understand how attitudes towards them change over time.

“The Giving Segmentation landed really well across the organisation and will be central to the strategy over the next few years.”

Stephen Lavery, Research Insight Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support


Charity / NFP



What we did

Customer Understanding