Keeping our eyes and ears open…..

Tag Archives: cause competitivness

How Do You Spell Chutzpah: Komen

Title: How Do You Spell Chutzpah: Komen

Author: Barbara Brenner

Publication: Healthy Barbs blog

Publication Date: July 28, 2011

Yiddish is a very expressive language, a blend of Hebrew and German used by Jews in Europe when they lived in shtetls. One of my favorite Yiddish words is chutzpah. The word has taken on some positive connotations, but I’m using it here in the sense of the Hebrew source word, where it means someone who has overstepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame.

Chutzpah has the benefit of being both expressive, and relatively easy to pronounce, (unless you’re Michelle Bachmann). It is also a very apt description of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s recent move to sponsor October as Breast Cancer Action Month.

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Cause Competitiveness: Keep Your Eye On The Prize

Title: Cause Competitiveness: Keep Your Eye On The Prize

Author: Estrella Rosenberg & Geoff Livingston

Publication: Geoff Livingston blog

Publication Date: March 29, 2011

If the last two marathon weeks of cause-related conferences are any indication, competition isn’t just something the for profit sector is thinking about – the cause community is too. How do we compete for market share? How do we compete for visibility? How do we compete for more money? Much has been said about competitiveness in the for profit sector, but what is the right role of competition in causes? Is there a right role?

Some would have full on competition, while others would have singular causes or coalitions within each sector. Are either of these right? They both are in a way. Competitive spirit definitely has its place: Finding the fastest, most efficient, most impactful way to resolve the problem the cause addresses.

Non-profits are not in business to make money. They are a business to be sure, but unlike a for-profit, which seeks to dominate markets and yield profits, a cause or social enterprise seeks to provide a solution. When a for-profit business is successful, it keeps its doors open for years and expands and keeps looking for more market share. When a non-profit is successful it should close its doors because its business – or mission – has been completed.

Are you competing just to raise the most money? Competing in the sense that a cause seeks to beat out its competition helps no one. It actually hurts the cause space by creating distractions and wasted resources.

Consider Komen for the Cure’s use of $1 million spent to legally enforce its rights to term “for the Cure.” How does that help anyone resolve health or larger issues? Worse, last year during The Cause Marketing Forum, Komen for the Cure proclaimed that it was their mission to reclaim the pink ribbon from other non-profits in the breast cancer space – organizations that they themselves support with grants! Imagine if that money and energy went towards finding the most innovative way to discover the most impactful solutions in breast cancer?

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Marketing Breast Cancer in America: What Role Should Corporate Sponsorship Play in Health Activism?

Title: Marketing Breast Cancer in America: What Role Should Corporate Sponsorship Play in Health Activism?

Author: Lisa B.

Publication: Serendip

Publication Date: December 21, 2009

What would happen if corporate America no longer invested in breast cancer? The role of corporate marketing support for breast cancer activism has been criticized ever since corporate sponsorship began to visibly increase in the 1980s. Corporations that support breast cancer interest groups believe that the purpose of a cause-related marketing relationship is to associate their brand with funding for breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment. But who determines whether a corporation involved in such an enterprise is beneficent, corrupt, or simply medically ineffective, intertwining useless marketing gimmicks with effective information about breast cancer treatment? Governmental oversight must play an important role as a guardian of public safety by evaluating the information underwritten by corporate sponsors for false claims. Failing stricter governmental regulation, the cause-related marketing relationships that developed in the breast cancer movement may begin to mirror the free-for-all market in other sectors of the medical economy, such as erectile dysfunction drugs, where the pharmaceutical companies provide most of the treatment information to the public.

The emotional significance of breast cancer as a women’s health issue has established a competitive market with large economic stakes for research, treatment, and screening equipment. Breast cancer affects 1 in 11 women, affects women in all demographic groups, and currently has a variable response to medical treatment. It kills 40,000 women a year in the United States and is the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 40 and 59.[1] This may explain that although the current leading cause of death in U.S. women is heart disease, more money is raised per year for breast cancer research because breast cancer activists are able to tap into this strong emotional issue for women.[2] Because breast cancer is so pervasive among women, the symbol of support for breast cancer awareness, the pink ribbon, has become ubiquitous in the United States. This visibility attracted the attention of medical corporations, such as DuPont and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, who considered this a co-marketing opportunity, simultaneously marketing their brand to the public and their products to the medical profession. Breast cancer activists have worked together with corporations in the 1990s and 2000s to influence medical research, particularly emphasizing earlier cancer detection and less toxic therapies. Other non-medical corporations, such as Yoplait, have shown that co-marketing with the pink ribbon can be a successful strategy to improve their corporate image and visibility while increasing funding for breast cancer research.

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A cancer crusade turns contentious Some say the breast-cancer ‘industry’ has become too much of a good thing.

Title: A cancer crusade turns contentious Some say the breast-cancer ‘industry’ has become too much of a good thing.

Author: Marie McCullough

Publication: philly.com

Publication Date: September 30, 2004


In the coming days, Philadelphia’s LOVE Park fountain and the Center City skyline will turn pink.

New York’s Times Square will display a 70-foot-tall ribbon made of pink Post-it notes.

Honolulu will have contests featuring giant sculptured-fiberglass geckos, one sporting a pink lei.

And from sea to shining sea, Americans will buy things – M&Ms, bras, toilet paper, cars, you name it – knowing that a portion of the proceeds will go to “cure,” “kiss goodbye,” “target,” or otherwise conquer breast cancer.

But behind the festive fund-raising events and confident rhetoric that mark October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the fight against breast cancer is increasingly contentious and splintered. With at least 1,000 registered nonprofit breast-cancer organizations in the United States, there is competition – even occasional legal battles – for trademarks, sponsors, alliances, and the clout to shape political and research agendas. Some groups feel the breast-cancer movement has become too popular – a cuddly, commercialized, cash-laden crusade that is nowhere close to solving the mysteries of the deadly disease.

This week, one such group is launching a chain e-mail campaign urging Americans to “think before you pink” during what it calls “Breast Cancer Industry” month.

The e-mail, signed by feminist author and breast cancer survivor Barbara Ehrenreich, is the work of San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action, a group calling for better coordination in funding research.

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