Boosting donor engagement with innovative email surveys

A strategic email campaign for World Cancer Day significantly enhanced engagement metrics and donations, showcasing the efficacy of interactive content in driving supporter involvement.

Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

2 mins read


Photo credit: The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity website

The outcome

The background

Building deeper connections

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity delivers life-saving research, offers patients world-leading treatment and care, invests in state-of-the-art equipment, and funds modern patient environments. They’ve been a Torchbox client for three years.

They got in touch as they were looking for a way to increase engagement with their email list subscribers. Although they were regularly seeing strong open and donation rates, the team was keen to try new tactics to deepen engagement further and gather their supporters' views on how their monthly email newsletter could be improved.

After discussing different strategies, we settled on launching a survey to Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s email list.

Our aims were to:

  • Gain feedback from supporters on the Royal Marsden email newsletter that arrives in their inbox each month, to better understand the purpose and impact of this newsletter against organisational objectives.
  • Include content in the survey that led to supporters feeling a deeper connection with the charity on a personal, emotive level.

Our approach

Gaining valuable insight

Multiple choice questions were used to make the survey quick and easy to fill in – in total, the survey took around three minutes for supporters to complete.

Crucially, the survey included questions that aim to get to the root of the supporter’s connection to the charity, with questions such as: ‘What first inspired you to support The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity?’ and ‘Which areas of The Royal Marsden's work do you feel most passionate about?’

The answers to questions like these provided invaluable insights to Royal Marsden’s team, unlocking a new level of understanding about why supporters had chosen to get involved with the charity’s work.

The results

Survey success!

After launching on World Cancer Day, around 2,000 Royal Marsden supporters completed the survey in full. Comparing this to historic fundraising appeals and e-newsletters, the survey matched or surpassed open rates, click rates and conversions.

From the group of supporters who responded, many of them also went on to make a donation, demonstrating how powerful surveys can be as a way of driving deeper engagement too.


Four reasons to use surveys within your email marketing strategy

If you're considering using surveys within your email marketing strategy, here are four great benefits you could see:

  • Increased supporter understanding of how donations are used, and increased understanding of the work your non-profit delivers.
  • More meaningful communications and nurturing of email list subscribers.
  • Create more of a two-way relationship with your audience – providing supporters with an opportunity to express their thoughts and to share feedback in a valuable way.
  • Improved open rates, click rates, and donation rates via your email list.

The survey gave us a raft of insights into our audience. And we're now building e-surveys into our supporter journeys to continue this ‘supporter led’ approach to developing communication. Plus the icing on the cake was that many supporters generously donated after filling in the survey too.

Namita Harvey Head of Individual Giving, Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

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Richard Casson

Email Marketing Manager