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Innovation Index Case Study: Breast Cancer Network Australia

Not-for-profit organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of stakeholder-centricity. As individuals’ access to personalised services becomes a societal norm, much stronger responses are being achieved from approaches tailored to the needs of stakeholders than from traditional one-size-fits-all approaches. Stakeholder-centricity is about understanding the needs of service users, donors and other stakeholders and meeting those needs in new and innovative ways.

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) are among the top five most innovative not-for-profits in the 2017 Innovation Index Report.

“Everything I’m trying to do is about the concept of being person-centred”
Christine Nolan, CEO Breast Cancer Network Australia

BCNA has made stakeholder-centricity a central tenet of their organisation. “A really big theme for me, that underpins everything I’m trying to do, is the concept of being person-centred” says CEO Christine Nolan. The name of the organisation, itself, is stakeholder-centric. BCNA staff are employed to support, connect, inform, and represent the interests of the network of almost 130,000 members who have been affected by breast cancer. Christine says “We the organisational arm of BCNA exist to support the Network. Our real value as an organisation lies in capitalising on the experience, diversity and strength of our members in order to assist the 17,700 Australians who will hear the words this year “You have breast cancer”.


Empowering Individuals

In 2016, BCNA ran the innovative fundraising campaign “I Am Not Breast Cancer, I Am Me”. The motif of the campaign was the stakeholders’ need to assert that their illness did not define them. The campaign could have been run using a traditional approach – by directly asking the donor network for funding, as Christine calls it, “the boring way”. Instead, BCNA took a stakeholder-centric approach.

Rather than speaking in generalities on behalf of all who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, BCNA empowered their network of women who had experienced breast cancer to post and share their unique, personal journey.

“This campaign was about being person-centred and reaffirming breast cancer survivors’ sense of personhood” – says Christine.

BCNA gave a needed voice to each stakeholder and, as well, by tapping into the need of stakeholders’ families and friends to support their loved ones and celebrate them as individuals, BCNA enabled diverse, relevant, impactful messaging which led to increased exposure, a stronger sense of community and a fundraising campaign that was much more significant both emotionally and financially.

Today, the tools and technology are available to put stakeholders at the centre of initiatives. Through genuine collaboration that addresses their underlying needs, stakeholders can be empowered not only to donate with a real sense of purpose and satisfaction, but to participate in advocacy and in creating a giving community from their own networks.


About The Innovation Index

Australia’s not-for-profit sector takes on the toughest social and environmental challenges we face as a nation. It is the innovators who are continually collaborating to identify shared value opportunities who are leading the transformation of not-for-profit organisations to unlock the next wave of social and economic prosperity.

Australia Post, Westpac and the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and are proud to support the 2017 GiveEasy NFP Innovation Index to help the not-for-profit sector adapt, embrace new ideas and celebrate the opportunities that innovation creates for all Australians.

View the Innovation Index Key Insights Infographic 

Download the 2017 Innovation Index Report

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