Creating a personalised campaign for participants in their Race for Life events, driving further sign-ups and increasing overall donations to the charity.


increase in response rate


overall cost of campaign

Project Objectives

Cancer Research UK has a core fundraising programme called Race for Life, where women are encouraged to walk, jog or run a 5k or 10k race to raise money for the charity. All women are encouraged to join in, from walkers to professional athletes, and each year many thousands of pounds are raised and awareness of Cancer Research UK and the work it carries out is highlighted.

The team behind the Race for Life event are seeking substantial growth for the project, eventually aiming to include over 1,000,000 participants. The Race team want to deliver an inspiring, personal and relevant supporter experience for every Race participant to actively engage with the Race brand and drive supporter loyalty. To achieve this, Cancer Research UK know they have to continue to engage directly with their target audience. They had successfully used direct mail in the past and were planning to use it again for their next campaign but knew they needed to continue to improve the impact of their messages. It was suggested they use variable digital print. This would cost slightly more but offered a more targeted, personalised mailing with a better response rate.

Project Strategy

Go Inspire delivered a cost-effective, high speed, high volume digital printing campaign solution, which met with the brief from Cancer Research UK. Initially the format of the campaign was agreed to be a personalised A5 leaflet. This format allowed plenty of space for the messaging and was flexible enough to allow a one piece mailer and non-personalised version to be created from the same artwork.

The key to the ability to personalise the mailing was held in the data. From the database, the Cancer Research UK data planning team were able to identify certain key attributes which would ensure the mailing would be targeted. This included the reason why the individual was taking part, how old they were, how much sponsorship money they raised, location, supporter insights and where they ran their race. Once the data had been interrogated, it was split into High Value; Mid Value and Core Supporter.

This reflected the likelihood of participation, whether they would encourage others to attend and the amount of money raised. The High Value received an incentivised pack – with 2 paper bookmarks in an outer envelope – the Medium Value received a one piece mailer and the Core Supporter received a Postcard.

The leaflet was split into several zones linked to personalisation. These zones included: a background shot reflecting the participant’s age; a personalised welcome in colour, a notice board showing the three closest events and merchandise offers relating to age and distance they last took part in. The text also changed depending on a number of factors: those who had signed up as a group and were likely to use social media were encouraged to use facebook or twitter to spread the word and some areas held text specific to their location.

Go Inspire Solutions, part of Go Inspire, worked hard with Williams Lea and Cancer Research UK to ensure the artwork and text being used for the personalised zones was the correct size and correctly allocated. Sense checking of the programme was undertaken and extensive proofing was needed to ensure the multiple messaging worked.

Once approved, the production was run and mailed in batches according to the Cancer Research UK mailing plan.

Project Result

The Race for Life Marcomms team tested the impact of digital printing which enabled a much greater level of personalisation and relevance in their important past participant supporter communication. This test was successful as the response rate increased proportionally by around 16.5% which equated to a much more favourable return on investment than in previous years. “Go Inspire gave us the cost and quality we needed to go ahead with producing a fully variable Race for Life direct mail campaign. They provided the support and intelligence to ensure the data worked and we are all delighted with both the finished product and the excellent results.” Kevin Pritchard, Account Manager, Williams Lea (Cancer Research Print Management).