For the past 7 years we’ve helped youth cancer charity, CanTeen with their fundraising by building online donor engagement with their inspiring stories.

Let’s face it. Cancer is not a topic that audiences want to hear about, yet the remarkable transformation process of going through a life ordeal at such a young age is an inspiring story that can change the way we look at it. For many teens/young people going through cancer, they are either sent to paediatrics or with the aged and there isn’t much support along the way. This is where CanTeen steps in. Not only through counselling and support, but with connecting young cancer survivors together to create a shared journey. And the results have to be seen to be believed. What might have broken most of us is used to transform these young people in the most pivotal times of their lives into something they can grow from.

I have sat countless times gobsmacked at the challenges these young people have faced and their resilience and maturity. For many the cancer journey is not over with the threat of relapse, yet they give us a beacon of hope as they share how they have overcome it with a little bit of support.

A solution that required a gamble

One of they key challenges for us has been to share their story within the bounds of the limited audience attention span for online video. Many could be movies in their own right. In addition to this, the competition for the hearts and minds of donors has only increased with the sophistication of charities vying for donor attention and dollars.

We proposed to CanTeen that both these problems might be solved by producing a series rather than a one off video for a story and we had found our first candidate story with Chelsea.

Our biggest obstacle was cost of production which would become more efficient with more episodes, yet still cost more overall than the budgeted allocation that year. We decided this would be a risk worth taking for the possibility of a greater outcome and future work for our agency, so we absorbed the additional cost to demonstrate its potential.

Part 1: The Dancer

The first chapter introduces Chelsea andĀ her childhood aspirations.

The first chapter was sent to existing donors and new donors through social media 4 weeks from Xmas, the busiest fundraising period.

The aim was to get in early with the strongest aspect of the story, ending it with the hard impact of Chelsea’s cancer diagnosis, engaging audiences to watch the next episode.

Part 2: The Cancer

The cancer evolves Chelsea’s story by presenting the impact of cancer. It wasn’t only physical which was a nightmare, but loss of her friends who didn’t know how to approach it and most of all her life passion as she wouldn’t be able to dance again.

Part 3: CanTeenĀ 

The next story introduces CanTeen.

This episode shares the impact of their work in the lives of young people like Chelsea and presents a turning point for her in the overall story.

Part 4: A new direction

Through the work of CanTeen and the support that Chelsea has around her she envisions a new future incorporating her love of dancing.

A path towards the most successful campaign ever.

This trial was a foray in what would become many more series based content produced for CanTeen. It wasn’t their most successful video in terms of views, but it was a stepping stone to their most successful series, Everything.

There were other not so obvious successes arising from this story. Channel 7 aired this story due to its powerful narrative and CanTeen began to realise the impact of their fundraising stories in generating internal purpose alignment with staff who were reminded of the great work they do.