Mission Breast Cancer Awareness and Eradication
BCA Fights to Set Itself Apart
May 2, 2006
By Abny Santicola, editor, FS Advisor
What do you do when your organization's No. 1 funding challenge is differentiating itself from the hundreds or even thousands of other organizations, larger and smaller than yours, with the same mission?
With a mailing list of 16,000, half of which are donors, San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action is smaller than organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation but larger than the many local breast cancer organizations out there.
Getting people to distinguish BCA from other organizations is tough. Executive Director Barbara Brenner says it's important not to suggest that the work you do is somehow more important than that of other organizations. A large part of BCA's efforts involves helping people understand what it does, how it relates to what other organizations do and the overall importance of its work, the goal of which, Brenner says, is to find a cure for breast cancer and put itself out of business.
BCA's mission statement lists the organization's mission as carrying "the voices of people affected by breast cancer to inspire and compel the changes necessary to end the breast cancer epidemic."
"A lot of breast cancer organizations say 'we want to end the epidemic,' and it's true; everybody wants to end the epidemic. But we're doing two things that are a little bit different, and it's in our mission statement. We carry the voices of people affected. People call us here and they tell us what they're experiencing. So we know the issues that people are dealing with now. That's what carrying the voices means," Brenner says.
"And when we say 'inspire and compel the changes necessary to end the epidemic,' you know, I think it conveys that we're not pulling punches," she adds. "We ask very hard questions here. And people know ... our donors certainly know and appreciate that about us."