A third-sector organisation doing amazing things: Coppafeel! breast cancer charity

A third-sector organisation
Third and public sector creative communications efforts often vastly exceed expectations on creativity and result. It is sometimes presumed that these sectors are just a little bit ‘behind the times’ or old-fashioned in approach, at least in comparison to counterparts in the private sector, where profit is a key driver and therefore budgets (and available talent) can be more plentiful. Many charities, local authorities and other private and third sector organisations such as health-tech start-ups, however, are proving to be savvier than ever when it comes to comms and commercialisation. Here is one example of a newer charity doing work we love.

CoppaFeel! is a London-based awareness charity focused on promoting early detection of breast cancer by encouraging women, men & non-binary individuals under 30 to regularly check their breasts.  According to the organisation’s website, it is the first breast cancer charity in the UK to solely create awareness amongst young people. “We like to talk about a serious message in a light-hearted way, empowering people to start healthy habits for life,” it claims – and certainly does this well.

Here are a few of the ways CoppaFeel! works towards achieving its mission…

A ‘brand’, not just a charity

CoppaFeel! is branded flawlessly, across all its channels, so much so, it really comes across much more as a ‘brand’ than just a charitable organisation – and rightly so. The psychology of that likely goes beyond the rules of Marketing 101. Take a look at any teen or young person’s online presence. Young people don’t just consume big brands, they understand how to brand themselves in this way too – it’s not uncommon for regular teens to have colour schemes, grid patterns and many other self-branded elements on their personal Instagram accounts, for example, along with thousands of followers who go well beyond their schoolyard mates.

If you want to appeal to a younger audience, charity or otherwise, you must be branded to a T. Along with consistent design choices (e.g. fonts, colours palettes, uniformity across channels) it’s equally important to consider your organisation’s ‘voice’ through written language choices.

CoppaFeel, for example, uses a very contemporary, fun and almost ‘flirty’ tone, which gives them a sort of social ‘street cred’. Upon visiting the charity’s website, visitors are greeted with an instant chat pop-up which reads: “Hi! Want the low-down on getting to know your boobs or pecs?”

It also is a big champion of diversity – targeting not just woman but men, non-binary individuals and people of various backgrounds and ethnicities.

Whether you’re a charity, a local authority or any other organisation in the realm of social good, you can take a leaf from Coppafeel’s book when it comes to developing a really solid brand.

Socially-savvy content

As mentioned, social really is key. One great social media post, and a little budget behind that, can trump thousands of physical flyers shoved through postboxes or handed out to often unresponsive residents on the high street. CoppaFeel! has almost 125,000 followers on Instagram; more than 66,000 likes on Facebook; 44.5K Twitter followers and around 6,000 LinkedIn devotees. For a smaller, newer charity, these figures are astounding. How does it manage it? Content that is completely socially-savvy, click-worthy (therefore sometimes a little cheeky or risque!) and always on-trend.

It’s also worth mentioning that the charity’s social media team do vary content across channels to keep each account engaging on a stand-alone level. For example, short captivating text posts are commonly used on Twitter, there are lots more videos on Facebook and Instagram is all about uber attractive visuals, celeb shoutouts and plenty of bright block colours.

We love some of these posts in particular:

Private sector partnerships

The private and public and third sectors no longer co-exist in completely separately spheres, this we know. Coppafeel! is a fantastic example of how the two sectors can work together towards common goals to achieve both social good goals and increase exposure and revenue.

To promote its cause, the charity has joined forces with the likes of The Sun newspaper, ASDA, Avon and even some smaller, more niche businesses such as MYGA Yoga in Birmingham. Coppafeel! is also no stranger to influencer marketing. It has teamed up with members of pop band Little Mix, comedian Russell Kane and performer Ed Sheeran, to name a few.

A new model charity model?

There are a few other factors that make CoppaFeel!, in addition to some other newer charities and social good organisations hitting the scene, relatively unique, including:

  • It employs just 15 staff members: lower overheads, a more personalised approach to strategy and comms, presumably strong team morale and collective vision.
  • It was founded by Kristin Hallenga, along with her twin sister Maren, when she was just in her early 20s. This fact no doubt contributes to Coppafeel’s extremely savvy approach.
  • Its story is extremely personal. Kris founded CoppaFeel! Following her own diagnosis with being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at age 23, a condition which is uncurable. Supporters of the charity, therefore, feel closely connected to its cause. Case studies are another way in which Coppafeel! and other charities can resonate with their intended audiences in such a manner.
  • The co-founders actually stepped away from the charity in 2017 to become part-time ambassadors, handing over control to new director Natalie Kelly. Ms Hallena stated: “Founder’s Syndrome is real”, and that she understands “how a founder can prevent a charity from breathing and growing..I want what’s best for this charity, and that is no longer me leading it. Founders need to be aware of their strengths, and although I think I have worked hard to be the credible CEO I am today, it’s not what the charity needs now.” An interesting and insightful move.
  • Its mission is simple and specific. Coppafeel! simply wants to encourage young people to check their breasts in order to save lives. The message can’t be lost because it’s direct and impactful.

What lessons could other charity, third sector and public sector organisations in the realm of ‘social good’ take from Coppafeel’s approach? We think there are many. It’s definitely some worthwhile food for thought.