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Damon Runyon Cancer Research

Breaking Out of the Non-Profit Mold

Faced with increasing competition for press and donor attention, a 70-year-old cancer research organization is on a mission to differentiate its approach and connect with a broad range of stakeholders.

Challenge

Distinguish the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation from the sea of other cancer-related charities by promoting its unique mission: identifying and investing in the best young scientists to prevent and cure all cancers.

Solution

Promote the groundbreaking research Damon Runyon supports and the wide array of people it benefits—from scientists and doctors to cancer survivors and their families—in conjunction with a variety of cultural events that show how cancer impacts people from all walks of life.

Result

Stories of real people, famous and not, bolster Damon Runyon’s press coverage and help engage would-be donors. The Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium gives voice to cancer survivors and their families, amplified by a nearly 10-fold increase in press coverage. The organization’s affiliation with Broadway takes center stage when Marin Mazzie delivers the keynote at the annual fundraising breakfast and announces an “Ambassador Program” with New York’s theater community that generates significant press attention.

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