How a Typeform quiz helps save lives

4 min read

To raise awareness for stem cell donation, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan asks you to go fact yourself.

4 min read

In 1974, three-year-old Anthony Nolan needed a bone marrow transplant. But no one in his family was a match, and there was no system in place to turn to.

To help people like her son, Anthony’s mom, Shirley, set up the world’s first register to match donors with people in need. Although not in time to save little Anthony, it was the start of hope and new life for thousands of people.

Today Anthony Nolan is the UK’s largest blood cancer charity, with over half a million potential donors ready to help. Their altruism provides that life-saving match for three people a day—over 1,200 people last year.

Anthony Nolan with his mom Shirley

It’s great news, but not nearly enough. Why?

Because in the UK, blood cancers cause more than 12,000 deaths per year, with a new case diagnosed every 20 minutes.

And the most important donor group—young men—is way underrepresented on the register.

It translates into a common problem: How do you engage a target audience who’s already got a gazillion things competing for their attention? How do you get your message through?

Jon Ware and Ed Reeve head the digital content team at Anthony Nolan. Together they tapped empathy and humor to develop a digital solution to lifesaving that every charity can afford.

How to wake up sleeping heroes

Do you know any males between the ages of 16-30?

How many of them wake up in the morning and think, “I wonder if my blood could save someone’s life today?”

This is the first challenge. Like any organization, charities need to promote their cause to be effective. Here’s Jon on the problem:

Right now, young men provide over half of all transplants, but they make up just 15% of the donor register.

Like anywhere in the world, young men in the UK have lots going on. So Anthony Nolan needed to wake them up:

We know this demographic doesn’t always respond to earnest, emotional calls-to-action. So here we give them a little info about donation, surrounded by cheeky fun to keep them entertained.

Cheeky fun that appeals to young men? Yup. Think sex, sports, and scandal, with some tech and gadgets thrown in for the nerds.

Just imagine finding the questions to answers like these:

How did they come up with their quiz questions?

Seriously—how did they convince a cancer charity to put out a quiz asking about Ancient Egyptian contraception, Napoleon getting attacked by rabbits, and the number of people killed in London’s 1891 beer flood?

Because they know that behind every donor is a human being. And human beings sometimes need a thunderclap to get them out of their seats.

We wanted to ensure that we were using quiz categories that would appeal to young men, but also connect back to our cause in some way.

Um, Jon, how are sex and scandal connected back to blood cancer?

Sex may just seem like a naughty, eye-catching topic. But your mum and dad’s DNA has a massive impact on who can donate stem cells to you, so it’s relevant as well!

Convinced? Doesn’t matter.

What matters in an information-inundated world are clever ways to hook fish-like attention spans.

And all the better when you make it happen on a tight budget.

Saving lives on a shoestring

We’re a charity, so it’s vital that we conserve our funds, especially when we’re trying something off-the-wall.
Jon Ware, Digital Content Lead at Anthony Nolan

How did they pull all this together?

Ed was already using Typeform for various tasks—from internal polls and info gathering, to prototypes for complex UX journeys. But could it also work for a quiz?

“I’d been looking for an excuse to use Typeform for this project, but I wasn’t sure if it would work for a quiz. I was wrong. It looks and functions great, and it saved us a small fortune in development costs. As a charity, I can’t overstate how important that is.”

To get it done, Jon and Ed split the duties. Jon did the research and wrote the questions—seven categories, six questions each.

Ed took care of the technical implementation. Technical? Actually it was pretty easy. Logic jumps tell respondents if their answer is correct or incorrect, then the calculator totals up the score up at the end.

The result? The Quiz That Saves Lives. Go ahead, fact yourself:

Did you notice the custom design? They told us that was easy too.

The design is distinct from our own brand, but with some key tie-ins. We removed the Typeform branding to give ourselves a greater sense of ownership.

So, they had an engaging quiz aimed right at their target audience. Next step? Get it out through the right channels.

Since we’ve saved funds on the creation, we’ve been able to put some money into mobile marketing, to target young men and drive them towards it.

How does it get people interested in their cause?

Once users complete a round, they can play the quiz again. Or they can head to our website to find out more about stem cell donation.

And is it working? It’s still early, but Jon’s optimistic:

Fingers crossed, but so far it’s been going well!

And Ed told us there’s more to come:

We have a lot of large medical forms here which we’re redeveloping. Typeform allows for rapid prototyping of these with the benefit of actually being able to collect data.

I asked Jon and Ed if they had any advice for others looking to create a quiz with Typeform:

It’s a very simple tool, don’t be afraid to start mucking about with it!

If “mucking about” with Typeform can save lives, imagine what it can do with something much simpler—like event signups and lead generation.


How did Anthony Nolan do it?

Do you need a clever quiz to reach your target audience—to spark their interest, to generate some leads? Here are some things Jon and Ed did to put their quiz together. Or get started right away with these Typeform templates.

1) Customize your background to fit your brand

You can customized your typeform to match your brand, evoke emotions, or just to make it look sharp. Learn how to customize the look of your typeform.

2) Use Logic Jumps to customize the screens people see

Give respondents instant feedback on their quiz answers with Logic Jump.

3) Keep a running total of scores and costs with Calculator

Calculator lets you keep track of a quiz score, show the total score at the end, and classify respondents based on their scores. Find out all the things you can do with Calculator.

4) Remove Typeform branding to make it your own

Need your typeform to reflect your brand? No problem. Here’s how you can remove Typeform branding.

5) Customize the Thank You screen

Need a link at the end of a quiz to redirect someone to your cause? Then consider customizing the Thank You screen.

Start creating