How NBCF Utilized Mother’s Day to Extend their Reach and Build Their Brand

Published by Nathan Hill

National Breast Cancer Foundation – located in our hometown of Frisco, TX – was founded in 1991 by Janelle Hail. Janelle developed breast cancer in the 1980s, and during her journey with the disease, she discovered just how little information was available to her as a patient. This sparked a desire in her to help educate, support, and bring hope to women.

Today, NBCF reaches millions of women across the globe who are affected by breast cancer – helping to provide early detection, education, and support services.

National Breast Cancer Foundation LogoThe Problem

The biggest month of the year for the National Breast Cancer Foundation is October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During this time period, it’s much easier to get people to talk about breast cancer and get people to donate to a breast cancer-related cause. This natural urgency and focus on the topic brings in a large amount of revenue for NBCF.

The problem is that it’s difficult to get the larger public to engage with the topic of breast cancer outside of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a result, much of NBCF’s broad-based fundraising efforts outside of October focus on outreach, growing their email file, and building their brand.

They do this through hosting galas, online content marketing, free eBook offers, and more. But NBCF wanted to see if they could ignite the same sort of excitement and engagement they see during Breast Cancer Awareness Month at a different time of year.

The Plan

National Breast Cancer Foundation - Post ExampleJennifer Ilgen and the marketing team at NBCF developed the Honoring Moms campaign. This campaign took place around Mother’s Day, and focused on recognizing and honoring mothers who had been touched by breast cancer.

To do this, NBCF launched a Facebook ad campaign to get people to submit photos and a description of mothers they knew who had been affected by breast cancer. Those who clicked through the ad would come to a landing page where they could share the story of a mother they wanted to honor.

Following this ad campaign, NBCF turned all of the submissions into social media graphics and posts that they shared on Facebook and Instagram. You can view the full album of posts on their Facebook page.

The Results

NBCF had two main goals with this campaign. The first was to create momentum and social media engagement with their cause outside of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Their second goal was to increase the size of their email file.

The campaign had an organic reach of 177,000 people. This does not include the reach of paid advertising. They also added 280 new emails to their file from people submitting posts to honor mothers.

National Breast Cancer Foundation - Post Example 2Now, it’s often hard to look at metrics like “reach” and immediately see what value it adds. For many organizations, big reach numbers are exciting, but they have no means to convert it into something of tangible value.

In the case of NBCF, they have developed a robust content marketing program that relies on Facebook advertising to acquire new names and emails. So outside of the brand awareness and trust that big organic reach numbers can create, it can also be used for retargeting and building lookalike audiences to fuel further acquisition campaigns.

The Learnings

We selected NBCF’s Honoring Moms campaign for a 2017 Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Award for several reasons.

First, many organization get trapped in cycles of doing the same things over and over again with their marketing. But NBCF was able to recognize new opportunity and creatively engage new audiences outside of their typical marketing cycle.

National Breast Cancer Foundation - Best Social CampaignSecondly, this campaign wasn’t just a new and creative way for NBCF to talk about themselves. Instead, it was an opportunity for them to lift up others and show genuine care for those who have been touched by breast cancer. When we build others up, it naturally creates greater trust and affinity towards our brand.

Finally, NBCF was able to craft a campaign that focused on an emotional and personal response, rather than resorting to something more clinical or medical focused. This allowed for a broader conversation with greater appeal, leading to larger exposure for the NBCF brand. This also means that the names acquired during this campaign will have a stronger and more personal connection to NBCF, which should in turn lead to a greater likelihood to give later on.


About the author:

Nathan Hill

Nathan played a snare drum in the 2008 Presidential Inaugural Parade.