At the 2014 World Cancer Congress in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Issarang Nuchprayoon participated in a Master Course on the topic of ‘Effective financial management of NGOs’. In a short interview below, he shares his experience and how it played a role in the cause-related marketing (CRM) campaign that his organisation subsequently participated in. Dr. Nuchprayoon is a paediatrician specialised in haematology-oncology and a scientist with expertise in molecular genetics. He is a Professor at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and founder of the Wishing Well Foundation*.
The Wishing Well Foundation was one of four paediatric cancer organisations in the South-East Asia region that was approached by a regional travel insurance company as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme. They offered a donation of US$0.10 per policy they sold for one month from March-April 2015. The other beneficiary organisations included the National Cancer Society of Malaysia* (NCSM), Indonesia Care for Cancer Kids Foundation, and the Cancer Warriors Foundation* Inc in the Philippines. The organisations were asked to contribute by providing visibility to the campaign through their websites and social media channels and were invited to Malaysia to participate in a press release at the end of the campaign. The campaign raised over US$ 73,000 (through the sale of over 730,000 policies). The corporate partners rounded up to US$ 100,000 and awarded US$ 25,000 to each of the four NGOs involved. All organisations committed to using the full donation amount to help children fight cancer via treatment or rehabilitative equipment. See the local press release here.
*UICC Member Organisation
1. Was the topic covered by the Master Course new to you or did you have a basic level of knowledge regarding the content? What was your motivation to choose this particular course?
The topic of financial management was totally new to me. As a university professor, I did not have to consider these issues. Having started the Wishing Well Foundation, I wanted to understand the subject I have to deal with and to get the international perspective of charitable organisations for cancer. We have been passive about fundraising but I started to realise that to increase coverage for the whole country, my organisation would need a sustainable way of financial management.
2. What is the key thing you learned and took away from the course?
I learned that finance is everyone's business, even though we would like to focus on the work we do for children with cancer. Trust and especially ethics are of utmost importance. Find multiple sources of income for the organisation is imperative as the future is unpredictable. Unrestricted funding support is most preferable, but donations to specific causes can also be accepted. Including administrative costs to each project is crucial, as this is the reality when running an organisation.
3. How did you apply the knowledge you gained upon returning to your home institute? Were you able to share it with colleagues and peers back home?
I became more comfortable with my role at the organisation. I was no longer shy to have conversations about soliciting funding support. I am more confident when interacting with my peers who are more familiar with financial management as we now have a similar level of understanding.
4. How did the Master Course and its trainers contribute to the cause-related marketing campaign you launched?
I had no prior knowledge of “CRM” [cause-related marketing] so I did not know what to expect, how to negotiate, or what might have been the potential pitfalls when I was approached to sign off an agreement for such a campaign. So I decided to consult one of the Master Course leaders, H. Fred Mickelson, for guidance. He was a very helpful mentor and shared his vision and experience with me. We considered the deal and participated and things went well. We received an appreciable amount of support and we hope the trend continues.
In summary, I appreciate very much the initiative of UICC in providing Master Courses. It was helpful beyond my imagination.