1000 members celebration

A UICC membership army to lead the cancer fight

10 August 2017
© UICC 2016 | Isabel Mestres

Isabel Mestres, Members and Partners Development Director
Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

In May 2017, UICC proudly won an award recognising its successful work in strengthening membership engagement. Our Members and Partners Development Director comes back to UICC’s community growth and shares advices on how to successfully engage with members.

For over 700 years, the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria has been the documented seat of power in the country, first hosting the Hasburg dynasty and, today, the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. Three months ago, on 3 May, the Royal Palace bore witness to the Union for International Cancer Control’s own coronation, as it was recognised with the International & European Association Award for Membership Engagement.

UICC membership has grown drastically over the last years, from 458 members in 2011 to over 1,000 member organisations across 162 countries at the end of 2016. This achievement is due to the work to establish a strong strategy for increased and improved membership engagement.

For us, growth doesn’t mean anything if we are not able to translate it into reducing the global cancer burden, promoting greater equity and integrating cancer control into the world health and development agenda. Just like country leadership is nothing without its citizens, UICC and its purpose relies on its growing, engaged members.

The membership growth was a natural result of an in-depth exercise UICC conducted in 2010 while developing a long-term roadmap to respond to the needs of the international cancer community. Since then, improving the understanding of UICC members has been an ongoing process, involving the whole UICC staff and Board of Directors. We tend to say we have created an army of staff and members working together for the greater good of cancer control.

Our army works to advance three priority areas, all of which have seen success in the last year:

  • Convening: In 2016, UICC reached out to members to become active participants in the design and delivery of the World Cancer Congress in Paris. They participated in committees that guide the programme content and benefitted from travel grants and speaking opportunities, among other exclusive offers on site. 
  • Capacity building: In 2016, UICC surveyed its members’ capacity building needs to develop offers fulfilling specific regional needs. In Paris, a new CEO Programme was launched alongside a suite of French language services, both proving highly successful with Congress delegates.
  • Advocacy: UICC continued to build its CAN25by25 Advocacy Network of committed members dedicated to global agenda setting. With this network’s support, we saw the milestone adoption of a 2017 cancer resolution at the World Health Assembly, and now strive to translate these global commitments into national action.
Membership Engagement Award
UICC won the International & European Association Award for Membership Engagement in May 2017.

When members feel engaged and enthusiastic about UICC’s plans, they benefit from convening, capacity building and advocacy opportunities, and are able to share best practices and showcase their work on UICC platforms as well. Through this mutual exchange, UICC has a better knowledge of its stakeholders and can better respond to their needs. These responses include technical assistance in country; a tailored World Cancer Congress to meet the needs of its delegates; a rich set of translated, interactive materials on World Cancer Day; a global platform to share national leadership and achievement around the world; and strengthened national, regional and global ties to transform the cancer control landscape.

Strong engagement from members is the foundation of UICC’s success in the global fight against cancer. It was because of the full strength of this membership army and UICC staff that we won the Best Membership Engagement award, and we look forward to soldiering on in our convening, capacity building and advocacy, with the hopes of continuing to engage new members, partners, supporters and funders along the way.

If you’re interested in joining UICC's community of members in the global fight against cancer, visit www.uicc.org/who-we-work/members.

About the author

Isabel joined the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to develop and lead the business development strategy in October 2010. She launched UICC’s first major fundraising campaign and helped UICC develop high-value partnerships with a broader group of members, corporate groups and foundations. Since 2014, she is also responsible for increasing UICC’s membership globally, engaging members across UICC key activities in the areas of advocacy, capacity building and convening. 

Last update: 
Friday 1 December 2017