Break­through Breast Can­cer: touch look check’ campaign

Exhibited by
Katia de Gregorio.
August 26, 2013
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
October, 2012

SOFII’s view

An excellent campaign that increases awareness of breast cancer, gives excellent advice on how to spot the early signs of breast cancer and acts as a springboard to recruit large numbers of regular donors.

Creator / originator

Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Open Fundraising.

Summary / objectives

This campaign aimed to deliver two of Breakthrough’s strategic goals: to increase knowledge of the warning signs of breast cancer and to increase large-scale financial support.


About 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK and every month a thousand women die from the disease. Early detection offers the best chance of survival but Breakthrough’s surveys have highlighted that only two per cent of women could name five signs of breast cancer and less than half of women remembered to check their breasts regularly.

With the number of diagnoses increasing, the need for Breakthrough’s work beyond early detection is greater than ever. To fund this Breakthrough also needs to transform its levels of support and specifically to find new ways of recruiting regular donors.

‘Touch look check’ (TLC) breast awareness information was an existing asset but had not been taken to a mass market before. With breast cancer being the most common cancer in the UK it was relevant to millions of women. So Breakthrough developed a proposition that actively promoted the free TLC guide to individuals, with a follow-up fundraising ask.

Special characteristics

Mobile phones were at the heart of the campaign as they:

  • Allow a mass audience to respond by SMS.
  • Offer a simple and effective way of further contact by phoning them.
  • Support timely and relevant communications after the guide has been sent.

Influence / impact

This campaign genuinely fused Breakthrough’s charitable and fundraising work and had significant impact on both areas.

  • TLC guides to help the early detection of breast cancer were distributed to thousands of individuals.
  • Monthly SMS reminders are sent to 6,500 individuals to check their breasts and put TLC information into action.
  • Post-campaign surveys show levels of breast awareness and checking behaviour have improved amongst campaign responders vs the norm.
  • It transformed Breakthrough’s ability to engage the public en masse through a proposition that was relevant and offered real value.
  • A new audience was opened up for Breakthrough: 25 per cent of responders had no connection to breast cancer.
  • A new and effective way of recruiting a large number of regular givers was established.


In the October 2012 pilot:

  • The number of requests for TLC guides was 29,500.
  • There were 1,800 new direct debit supporters.
  • The average annual direct debit value was £76, including Gift Aid.
  • There were 6,500 monthly SMS reminder subscribers.

Projections suggest that the long-term return will be in line with or better than existing regular giving recruitment channels.


This is an unusual campaign that genuinely fuses the charity’s charitable and fundraising work and has had significant impact on both areas. It makes an existing asset accessible to millions, opening their eyes to the relevance of the cause and creating a springboard for a conversation about financial support.