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Members of Team CIBC with Canadian Cancer Society CEO Andrea Seale (5th from the left) at the 2019 CIBC Run for the Cure.supplied

In a crowded and competitive environment, Canada’s non-profit organizations must find creative ways to achieve their goals. The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is redefining the cancer charity arena by forging a path of collaboration and consolidation in its mission to end cancer.

“Canadians are relying on us for the cancer research and support that saves lives. We need to question how we work every day,” says Andrea Seale, CEO of CCS. “Donors tell us that they are concerned that there are too many organizations doing the same thing. We are listening. We see opportunities to make those dollars go further.”

To this end, effective February 1, CCS and Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC) have amalgamated to strengthen cancer research, advocacy and education, and support those dealing with the disease. “This means we’re going to have an even greater impact on cancer,” says Seale. “The two organizations have so much synergy. By coming together, we can reduce duplication in administration and fundraising, and provide more support to Canadians.”

“Charities need to think differently about how we raise money and serve our communities,” adds Peter Coleridge, president and CEO of PCC. “We can do so much more with CCS in terms of fundraising and outreach. We’ve been doing a lot separately; just think how much we can do together.”

Over the last 25 years, PCC has performed critical work in fighting prostate cancer – the most common form of cancer among men. This work has helped reduce the death rate by 50 per cent. And if prostate cancer is detected early – through a simple prostate-specific antigen or PSA blood test – the survival rate is nearly 100 per cent.

“It’s incredible progress,” says Coleridge. “But one in nine Canadian men still develops prostate cancer in their lifetime, and we currently lose 11 men a day to this disease. By joining forces with CCS, we can take a broader approach through CCS’s infrastructure across the country and have a bigger impact on patient outcomes moving forward.”

CCS has a successful precedent in place – it merged with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) in 2017. That was the first merger of its kind between two large non-profit health charities, and already, the benefits are evident with a 28 per cent year-over-year reduction in fundraising expenses and an increased investment in its mission.

Canadians are relying on us for the cancer research and support that saves lives. We need to question how we work every day.

Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society

Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Imagine Canada, an organization mandated to support the charitable sector, agrees that it’s critical for charities to work together. “In a time when Canada is experiencing a social deficit – the gap between rising demand for services and the ability of society to pay for them – organizations need to think creatively about balancing the delivery of services and financial sustainability. This merger is a wonderful example of organizations finding new ways to ensure that critical services can be provided long into the future,” he says.

Fundraising partners also see the value of likeminded charities integrating. “The merger [between CBCF and CCS] has only solidified our partnership,” says Veni Iozzo, executive vice-president of communications, public affairs and workplace transformation at CIBC, which has been the title sponsor of the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure for 23 years. It started with a few CIBC staff members participating in support of a fellow staff member and has grown to 15,000 employees taking part. The run is now the largest single-day, volunteer-led, fundraising event for breast cancer in Canada.

“CCS is really an innovator in its field,” says Iozzo. “It’s been very collaborative working to ensure that we create greater impact and efficiency. From our perspective, great things happen when teams come together for a common purpose, and the merger between these two powerful organizations just demonstrates that.”

CCS shows how consolidation leads to greater efficiency in its work of funding life-saving research and making life better for people affected by cancer.

“We’re the only cancer charity that supports all cancers across the country,” says Seale. “We have a responsibility to do so in the most impactful way possible.”

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.