Making charity fundraising more tangible

Breast Cancer Now’s ‘shopping list’ is used by fundraising teams to give supporters an idea of how their money is used. The previous version of the list was no longer fit for purpose, so a new version had to be created. This was a major project which I led on from start to finish.

Examples like “£10 buys lab equipment for our scientists” are a powerful way to make fundraising more tangible, helping people to understand how their money will make an impact. The challenge in medical research is that money often pays for scientific equipment which isn’t immediately recognisable to the public.

The first stage was to talk to fundraising colleagues from a range of teams, who’d be the main people to use the list. I identified items which would give supporters a great idea of the charity’s work (and excluded ones which wouldn’t!), also introducing items to reflect the charity’s work in policy, campaigns and public health for the first time.

I worked with the charity’s in-house copywriter to update the descriptions for each item, making them as engaging as possible, and worked with the researchers themselves to sense-check the costs and descriptions. We also tailored collections of items for different fundraising audiences, for example picking out higher-priced items for corporate and trust fundraising audiences and lower-value items for members of the (very generous) public.

It was a great relief to be able to update to the list to something that was finally fit for purpose. It was a long and challenging project, but an honour to work on something which could make such an impact across the charity’s communications.

With the new list, it was much easier for the charity to tell their supporters how their money would be spent, why fundraising was so necessary, and ultimately the difference they could make for people affected by breast cancer in the future.