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Email is the main way we get people to make donations. It’s our strongest digital channel for fundraising. Without Emma, there’s no way we would have been able to get as many monthly donors as we do.


With over 70 chapters across the country, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. Bringing people together through community events, annual fundraisers, and research efforts, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation relies on Emma to communicate their mission and gain support in the fight against CF.

Between the national headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, and local chapter offices all over the United States, the CF Foundation uses Emma HQ to keep the CF community aligned on current campaigns, upcoming events, and fundraising opportunities.

With the ability to share templates and lock branding, they can spend less time on recreating messages for each chapter and more time on providing individuals with CF the opportunity to find support and connect with others who have CF.

Emma HQ unifies and empowers each and every local chapter.

When Patrick Hackett, Field Marketing Manager, began working at CFF in 2016, they had over 70 individual accounts with Constant Contact. It quickly became clear this process wasn’t working, so they began searching for a better solution. “We looked at 10 different ESPs in our decision process,” said Hackett. “Emma was significantly more affordable than the others, but also lightyears better in functionality. It’s easy-to-use and fits our team structure perfectly.”

Day-to-day, Hackett’s role includes being a liaison between the CFF’s national office and the 70+ local chapters. Because his peers in the local offices don’t always have marketing experience, he can easily share templates, brand assets, and even campaigns from other locations, for them to customize and send on their own. And if they need support, Emma HQ’s tiered account structure means he has complete visibility into all of the subaccounts.

“With our last email platform, it wasn’t possible to have oversight into what the individual chapters were doing, so having them all under one umbrella is really significant to us. Just being able to provide support, jump into the account, see the email, and help with any issues they may be having makes a huge difference,” Hackett said.

But it was important to the CFF team that, while the parent account has oversight of messages subaccounts create and can grant approval if necessary, they also wanted local chapters to have autonomy, following a core value they call, “Unity, not uniformity.”

The ability to share assets between accounts fosters an even stronger sense of unity and working together toward the same goal. “Through Emma HQ and the ability to share across subaccounts, we’re able to give a lot more pre-built templates and campaigns to our team members in different locations,” said Hackett. “It’s fostered the ability to share within regions, learn what best practices are, what’s working for other chapters, and then replicate that and share it across subaccounts.”

Email powers all of the nonprofit’s donation-driving events.

Traditionally, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is known for hosting a number of successful fundraising events—everything from walks and climbs to hikes and galas. Events are their biggest revenue drivers, and local chapters and participants always look forward to their annual fundraising walks each May.

“A lot of our events are peer-to-peer driven. The two biggest factors in how we get people to join our events are the word of mouth, which we don’t have a lot of control over, and email marketing, which we can control,” Hackett said.

Wine & Rose Gala

But in 2020, things went a little different than planned. COVID-19 hit, and in-person events were no longer an option, especially since individuals with cystic fibrosis are considered high-risk.

“We started off the year with our normal approach to business, as far as bringing the community together for events, but in March we had to cancel our events through the rest of the year,” Hackett shared. “We had to make a major pivot to hosting online events, and Emma was crucial for communicating the changes.”

In a matter of weeks, the CFF team canceled 70 in-person events, paused fundraising asks, and replaced them with a virtual event for each chapter, each leading up to a nationwide virtual pep rally. Hackett said they used Emma for everything from raising awareness for the events, to helping participants register and sending schedule reminders the week-of.

After the event, they launched a giving campaign through email that matched all donations within a certain period of time. “Every time we send an email, we often see an uptick in action that day based on the ask, whether it’s registering for an event or making a donation to support the CF Foundation’s mission” said Hackett on the relationship between email and engagement.

Augusta Event

Before COVID-19 and the uncertainty of 2020, the CF Foundation’s fundraising goals revolved around in-person events, but after all their events moved virtual they made a goal to gain 250 new monthly donors from their virtual event. Thanks to a successful virtual event and the complimentary Emma campaign, they met that goal and increased membership in their monthly giving program by more than 30%.

“Email is the main way we get people to make donations. It’s our strongest digital channel for fundraising. Without Emma, there’s no way we would have been able to get as many monthly donors as we did,” said Hackett about the 2020 virtual events.

Emma helps the CFF stay connected to those who matter most.

It’s clear that between all of the local chapter subaccounts, there are a lot of subscribers on each list. But, through email list segmentation, the CFF is able to create contact groups within those large lists, allowing them to personalize sends for each recipient. For example, they’re able to send specific resources to individuals with cystic fibrosis or invite them to special events.

BreatheCon is an event that is run by and for people living with CF. For this type of event, CFF needed to segment their list to specifically invite people with CF. By filtering their list using “connection to CF” they were able to quickly ensure the right audience received the invite. The CFF team also uses Emma’s segmentation tools when following up on event invites, such as the BreatheCon invite, to target people who did not open or click on one of the previous event invites to send a follow up email encouraging them to sign up.


Because the CFF is the leader in news about cystic fibrosis, they also rely on email to release updates on drug approvals, current research, and other significant advancements in the effort to find a cure. As well to effectively communicate internally across the organization.

Nonprofits make a difference with Emma.
When asked about his team’s favorite Emma feature, Hackett replied, “The enterprise feature of being able to share assets from parent to sub-accounts and across chapter accounts is our favorite feature by far. Having a tool like Emma has been so helpful in not having to recreate the wheel with each chapter while still making sure they all have the same look and feel.”

We hear this a lot from large organizations with multiple departments or chapters, and that’s exactly why we created Emma HQ—to make collaboration easy and effective. But if you’re a smaller nonprofit with different needs, we also have features that will feel custom-built for your organization. In fact, there are several reasons why thousands of nonprofits trust Emma for their email marketing.

From the drag-and-drop builder that’s easy for any marketer to use to seamless integrations with apps you already use and love, Emma has a solution to help your organization achieve your fundraising, event, or whatever-you-can-dream-up goals. To see how Emma can work for you, request a demo.

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