Case study: Diabetes UK partnership

A partnership built on innovation and learning

Experience: Engagement and acquisition

The success of any partnership can be judged by its results and, over the years, Diabetes UK’s (DUK) ongoing relationship with Manifesto has yielded plenty of those.

DUK is a non-profit charity that supports research into diabetes and those living with it. With current projections estimating that 5.3 million people in UK may have diabetes by 2025, DUK needs to raise all the money it can. That’s why it’s partnered with Manifesto to trial new channels, improve existing ones and reach wider potential audiences more cost effectively.

The results speak for themselves. Manifesto’s expertise as a full-service digital agency has seen it create live reports and custom dashboards that combine data from channels to give deeper, faster insights into emerging patterns. These have helped DUK fine-tune its campaign messaging and optimise returns on marketing spend across its fundraising events. Spanning numerous campaigns, this work has boosted the number of people taking part in events, increased the average amount each participant raises and seen the funds raised surpass projected figures.

As a result of working with Manifesto, DUK events has raised over £8.5m. That’s 243% more revenue annually than when we first took on management of the marketing programme. DUK has also expanded confidently into more and more channels, introducing an ever-broadening range of demographics to new and innovative fundraising campaigns.


We’re really impressed with the continuous improvements Manifesto have implemented to our paid search, display and social campaigns over the past couple of years. It’s a pleasure working with the team and we’ve learnt so much from their expertise. It’s brilliant to see our participation events programme grow so effectively, and we look forward to our continued partnership.” Senior Events and Mass Participation Manager, Diabetes UK


Making fundraising both fun for users and cost-effective for Diabetes UK


Targeting audiences and tracking spend to stay on-target

Manifesto has constantly refined the use of social newsfeed, carousel and short video adverts, along with PPC search marketing over AdWords and Bing, to reach online users most likely to engage with Swim22. This precision targeting has resulted in increased registration numbers with lower cost per conversion. The 2018 campaign, for example, saw a 2.7 times increase over 2017, with 3,063 participants attributed to advertising. In 2021 this number now stands at over 10,400. Remarketing to participants not only encourages them to keep going but also results in posts about Swim22 being shared more. Such approaches, along with constant analysis, have encouraged users to engage, participate, and actively fundraise more, compared to when remarketing activity is not in place.

Better returns on event spending – the value of joined-up thinking across fundraising activities


Putting the most towards good causes

While every charity would love to spend every penny raised on the cause they support, a certain amount must always be used on administration and promotion. With sponsorship activities spread across sponsored swims, runs and walks, Diabetes UK needs to cast nets in every direction in order to attract participants. Yet without a centralised approach to digital acquisition campaigns, DUK was struggling to increase returns despite spending more on ads designed to boost sign up.


Using fresh approaches and results analysis

In order to do more with less, Manifesto has created the tools that allow DUK to not only trial new digital approaches but also quickly assess their impact, allowing the charity to alter its approach mid-campaign, if needed. Live reports and custom dashboards combine data from different campaigns to present an as-it-is-now snapshot of individual campaigns and channels. Such insight has let DUK trial new approaches and quickly evaluate their impact on fundraising against revenue spent.


The pay-off from joined-up thinking

During the last four years, Manifesto has helped DUK raise a projected £8.5m – the scale of the revenue from Mass Participation Events has increased by 637% during our partnership. Last year, despite the pandemic decimating the events space, we increased revenue by 34% whilst decreasing the cost-per-acquisition by 5%. Not all these improvements come from increased ad spend. Instead, more targeted use of ad spend has gone hand-in-hand with campaigns to encourage the participants themselves to spread the word about how they are helping DUK raise money and help people affected by diabetes.


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Smashing targets and creating communities online during Covid-19


Agile planning saves a flagship event

The One Million Steps Challenge (OMSC) is DUK’s flagship annual fundraising event that sees a vast online community raise money by walking at least 10,000 steps every day for three months. OMSC 2020 was just weeks into its media campaign when the UK’s first pandemic lockdown happened, drastically limiting outdoor activity and raising fears that those living with diabetes might be hard hit by Covid-19. While meeting targets initially seemed impossible, DUK and Manifesto quickly pivoted the digital, creative and event accessibility strategies to reflect lockdown life by focusing on activity within the home and ways to maximise your daily permitted walk outside.


One Million Steps Challenge 2020 beats lockdown blues

DUK and Manifesto’s speedy reaction to events meant that the OMSC was one of the first events to recognise the unique challenges and restrictions caused by the pandemic. It was ideally placed to engage people who, locked down and furloughed, were looking for new ways to spend their time. By using Facebook, Spotify, Bing and Google Paid Search, Manifesto created automated marketing campaigns to increase sign ups. These were governed by cost per acquisition rules that set budgets based on the campaign’s ever-changing performance, thus preventing overspends.


Over-performance despite the pandemic

The event was a huge success, marking one of the UK’s largest virtual walk events in 2020. The pandemic has rocked the charity sector, threatening the existence of many. Yet despite restrictions on movements caused by lockdown and many events being cancelled, OMSC 2020 became one of the UK’s largest virtual events of the year. By harnessing people’s desire to get out and do some good – even during the pandemic – 30,208 people registered for the challenge. That’s an impressive 113% of the target and, as of September 2021, the 2020 event has raised £1,691,751 for DUK.


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How this helps us on your project

Manifesto partner with vital charity organisations to support reactive and agile fundraising campaigns. We’re proud to use experience design and tech to support fundraising objectives, and this makes us channel agnostic, enabling full data ownership and transparency. We want to let data take the lead so that we can help charities move with the pace of change in digital, implementing strategies that allow our clients to scale their budget alongside their revenue and their ambition. Our technical expertise enables us to rigorously test and optimise throughout the lifecycle of a campaign to maximise return on ad spend. This allows us to continuously improve our strategies, and pivot to ever changing audience expectations.

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