Brand-Building for a CUREKristin Connor | Georgia Nonprofit NOW, Winter 2015
At CURE Childhood Cancer, we have never wavered in aiming big; our mission is no less than to cure childhood cancers in our lifetime. This ambitious mission demands constant, cutting-edge and expensive research. Mobilizing our supporters, we realized, would require a similarly ambitious communications effort.
Beginning in 2006, we undertook a rebranding effort and launched a cross-platform mass marketing campaign, which has included:
1. Adopting a professional, intense solutions-focused tone, not unlike a competitive, for-profit organization, to effectively tell our story to larger donors, corporate officers, and grantmakers.
2. Positioning CURE as the leading children’s cancer charity in the state of Georgia.
3. Continuing our investment in storytelling online, sharing our clients’ important stories, our impact on children today, and the hope for children moving forward.
4. Building significant partnerships with and investing in key media partners (like WXIA TV 11Alive, iHeartMedia, and CBS Outdoor) to reach new audiences through print ads, billboards, and public service announcements.
5. Investing in sustained marketing programs with measurable results.
The investment has paid short-term dividends, including a loyal, passionate, and rapidly growing online community. In 2006, CURE had a close-knit following of about 5,000; now, we count more than 200,000 followers and supporters across our two locations. This has allowed CURE to increase our research investment by more than 600%, to $2.5 million annually in research grants. That means, in 2015, fully funding three oncology fellowships and 16 separate research initiatives, including three human drug therapy trials, two of which represent the first of their kind for pediatric patients. At the same time, we’ve also grown and sharpened our support of patients and families through our direct-service programs.
Kristin Connor is executive director of CURE Childhood Cancer.