Panel Communities: Research of Low-Incidence Groups

Macmillan developed an online panel community to improve their insights program and help them connect more effectively with their audience.


About Macmillan

An invaluable resource for all those affected by cancer

Macmillan Cancer Support care for millions of patients living with cancer, their careers, families and friends. Whether the charity is funding nurses, providing grants or fighting inequality, Macmillan changes lives.

Although best known for its provision of medical, financial, practical and emotional support, Macmillan works equally hard in another critical capacity: campaigning and influencing key stakeholders to secure a better deal for cancer patients.

Macmillan wanted to encourage more open communication between health professionals and cancer patients, greater emotional support and a more positive recovery.


The Challenge

Create a dialogue with cancer patients whilst minimizing research costs

For any Macmillan campaign to succeed, a strong evidence base is paramount. Without evidence, the charity has no way of influencing government or achieving media coverage – How can this be achieved? Research.

Macmillan, like many other charities had no easy task; it needed to discuss sensitive issues among a hard-to-each audience – quickly, easily and cost- effectively.


The Toluna Difference

Identifying and communicating with cancer sufferers: quickly, easily, cost-effectively

Against this backdrop, Macmillan approached Toluna – a leading global provider of online market research respondents and survey technology.

Their proposed solution was PanelPortal™, a hosted online research panel and community management platform. Using PanelPortal, Macmillan would be able to recruit its target audience into a bespoke online panel. From here, the charity could conduct online surveys quickly, easily and cost-effectively. Moreover, a custom online panel would meet Macmillan’s need for a convenient and non-intrusive way of researching respondents (patients) who could complete the survey whenever and wherever they wanted.

The panel has grown to become a sophisticated research tool with a strong sample size, providing an easy means of asking difficult questions in an accessible and anonymous forum.


The Results

A fast and cost-effective way to discuss sensitive issues and achieve maximum results

  • Ability to tap into an engaged and open forum, receiving more honest opinions on sensitive issues due to respondent anonymity
  • Shorter time frames from launch to completion and marginal costs per survey
  • Costs per survey are negligible versus traditional market research costs – maintaining invaluable responses
  • High levels of panelist engagement, with up to 13,000 responses per survey
  • The portal enables Macmillan to build a strong evidence base around the sensitive issues facing cancer patients and to base campaigns on hard facts


To read more about the Macmillan Cancer Support campaign please visit


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