Recession-Born Nonprofit Grows into Third Birthday Shoes, Primed to Make Footprint in Healthy Cancer Survivorship Awareness

CancerForward just passed its third birthday, giving a nod to the milestone but taking little time to celebrate. As the day approached and went, there was too much work to be done. Our plate was piled high with opportunities for the future and the need to keep our body growing stronger. You’re not seeing crocodile tears of martyrdom here; there’ll be time soon for ice cream and cake. We’re absolutely thrilled just being in the moment.

In three years, CancerForward has become increasingly valued for its nonprofit mission. We have been and are being funded as budgeted. We’re churning out 80 cents of every dollar in direct programs for cancer survivors. Thankfully – and I do mean we are grateful — our frame was built by caring hands, loving hearts and minds steeped in entrepreneurialism and conservative nonprofit management. Insightful vision anticipated the emerging healthcare needs of 14 million cancer survivors and how we can help serve them with the support of a new demographic of donors.

In part, CancerForward owes its success to the fact it was created in the dawn of a recession. There was plenty of time to think quietly in 2009. We were painstakingly thorough, some say intense, in drafting and re-drafting business plans and governing policies. We all pitched in to hire preeminent professionals in nonprofit organization. Conservatism was our watchword. Millennial-responsive processes drove transparency and efficiency into operations that we insisted have meaningful, measurable results. In deliberating every decision, we queried: “is it in highest stewardship of our donors’ intentions?”

We didn’t hobble out of the starting gate. With donated resources…no bricks and mortar overhead…operating through volunteers and a cast of committed corporate partners, we came out strong.

There’s no universal size classification system for nonprofits, and the term “small nonprofits” is often used to describe orgs with average annual revenues below $500,000. The definition comprises about 70 percent of all nonprofits in the U.S., including us — The Foundation For Cancer Survivors — whose average annual revenue is just a hair away from a half-million dollars.

We are small, but we never use our size as an excuse for being less than professional. We are volunteer-driven, but we don’t perceive that as negative. Without question, we would not be here without volunteers, their generosity, their wisdom. We follow a blueprint that’s not status quo. We’re proud that our largest asset is not a building, but a web-based platform where we educate and connect cancer survivors. And, we’ve expanded our mission by using social media mechanisms to reach a population increasingly reliant on smart phones and tablets. If you’ve heard we’re “just a website,” we need to work harder to help you become better acquainted with us – we need you with us to get the job done!

If you asked most three-year-old nonprofits what gift they’d want on this birthday, I bet they’d say “next year’s annual funding” or “our first capital gift.” I’m not nearly as excited about those prospects as I am the induction of our second class of governing board members who I’m confident will fulfill our wish list of expanded services.

For the first time, the three co-founders of CancerForward serve on its board. With modesty I think I can say few people outside those three better understand what a powerful agent CancerForward can be in helping maintain the health and wellness of what will be 18 million cancer survivors by 2020. The co-founders and three others complete the executive committee of a governing board that is slated to double in size this year. There couldn’t be a more credentialed team to guide the particular entity known as CancerForward at this time in its life. Background and experience aside, they are knowledgeable, passionate ambassadors, engaged leaders and responsible servants of the trust placed in us.

We are primed to make a footprint in healthy cancer survivorship awareness. We are moving forward with CancerForward. We can move faster with your help. Please donate to CancerForward today. We’re growing into bigger shoes!

Category: Cancer

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