Stand Up To Cancer is like no other cancer research organization. It's a groundbreaking initiative that encourages leading scientists to collaborate – not compete. The result? Acceleration in cancer research, getting new therapies to patients quickly and to save lives now.
Every summer since 2010, Mastercard has partnered with Stand Up To Cancer. How? Every time a cardholder dines out and pays with their card, Mastercard donate a portion to SU2C, up to $4MM.
We're proud of our partnership, and of the role we and our cardholders have played in this extraordinary organization. But this year, we decided to up the ante: could we use our annual platform to make a meaningful difference to those living with cancer?
Our objectives were simple:
As in past years:
•Increase top wallet behavior for dining spend among Mastercard cardholders.
•Raise awareness of Mastercard's partnership with SU2C.
•Meaningfully impact those living with cancer.
Most programs in this space are focused on those fighting cancer. Which is only right. They deserve recognition and cheering on.
But that route risked fading into the woodwork.
In our research, we were struck by this fact: one-half of men and one-third of women are likely to develop cancer in their lifetime, which means every one of us knows someone who will be affected by cancer.
Here's the problem: most of us don't know what to do or how to help. We're awkward at best and paralyzed at worst, so we revert to the usual - fundraiser runs, donations to cancer research, maybe company at chemo.
Yet talk to those living with cancer, and you'll immediately see that the smallest gestures have an outsized impact on their wellbeing. Not the expected acts. Small, nurturing, personal efforts that might seem tiny at face value.
Some people are superstars at this. Their instinct – or trial-by-fire experience – means they have something to teach the rest of us. We teamed up with SU2C to find these superstars.
Using TV, radio, digital, email and social, we captured them, side-by-side with their loved ones. Mom beside son, husband beside daughter, friend beside neighbor. Talking about cooking a favorite meal, wearing a bandana on chemo day in solidarity, bringing a dog for a visit, even watering their garden.
And where TV offered a :30 glimpse into their stories, social gave the caregivers themselves the platform to show how they #StandUpForThem.
Our results are the story of a fundraiser turned support group.
Yes, we successfully hit the $4MM donation goal through cardholder spend at restaurants within the six week timeframe. Since 2010, Mastercard has donated nearly $40mm to SU2C.
And yes, we also built upon our longstanding partnership with SU2C by raising the profile of their efforts in the cancer research space. Need data.
Both were great, and important.
Yet what happened next was the most gratifying:
We started a truly unusual national conversation.
Of course there were the usual "thanks" for highlighting an important topic. But what stood out was that our Twitter, FB and Instagram comments areas became self-contained, impromptu support groups for survivors and caregivers. Caregivers shared the small, impactful ways in which they helped loved ones during the fight. And those living with cancer shared the unexpected gestures that just hit home. Most importantly, they all encouraged those who felt awkward, and gave ideas to those who felt paralyzed.
In total, our Stand Up To Cancer social program generated 16MM engagements (shares and comments), a 10X increase over 2016.
This was humble effort, prompting us each to make our own difference, one gesture at a time. We were proud to provide a space that fostered that sharing, ultimately encouraging those who felt helpless in the face of cancer to just do what felt right.
Because standing up for those who stand up to cancer is priceless.