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Helping DKMS save lives


DKMS is an international charity dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.




  • Re-engagement and refer and friend
  • Data analysis
  • Creative development
  • Direct mail and email

The challenge

Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer – it is the third most common cancer death. In the UK, international blood cancer charity DKMS has recruited 300k potential stem cell donors but where donors are ‘matched’ there is a strong likelihood of attrition – largely due to lack of engagement, old contact information or physical inability to donate. It was therefore critical to begin directly re-engaging the supporter base.

We followed up our re-engagement campaign with ‘Refer a friend’ activity, to boost the donor base further using leveraging the awareness and advocacy of existing registrants.


The solution


BURN devised a highly emotive direct mail pack and email, aimed at reigniting interest and initiating regular communications with DKMS ‘lifesavers’ (the registered donor base in the UK). They key message ‘Please don’t forget’ was concise and pragmatic and underlined by the key visual of a swab tied in a knot - the object most likely to be remembered from when the donor initially registered and did a swab test.

Refer a friend

We devised a suite of comms including direct mail, email and social posts to help current registrants refer others.DKMS_IPADS-1



The campaign has surpassed all its initial targets and achieved nearly 30k address updates, an average open rate of 45% for email and a whopping click-through rate of 84% (which compares to the charity sector average of 4.31%).

Refer a friend

This activity has so far driven nearly 10,000 new registrants/contact detail updates.DKMS_MOBILES-1