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Jul 22 2008

Forming New Associations – Start up Capital and Value Proposition Design

Some years back MCI was approached by a client to form a new association which became the International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA). It was led by a group of eminent liver cancer specialists from several scientific disciplines to address the scientific and clinical needs associated with the increasing incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma.

The plan was, within one year, to hold a first annual conference under the auspices of a non-profit association dedicated exclusively to multidisciplinary liver cancer research and to offer professional networking and other member benefits. All these activities were to be coordinated through an international headquarters.

MCI offered an “all in” solution, providing the expertise and services needed to establish ILCA as a non-profit legal entity and to launch its conference series.
From the onset, ILCA as a concept had the interest of about 160 liver cancer experts from various disciplines from around the globe. However, it did not yet have an established legal structure, nor a branding and web or other presence in the medical community. Moreover, while the plan was to hold the association’s inaugural conference within a year, ILCA did not yet have the funding from sponsors necessary to achieve this ambitious goal.

The first step was to set up a Global Headquarters from MCI Brussels with a core team poised to collaborate closely with leadership to translate their vision into reality. Another priority was to create a website as a main platform to promote and manage ILCA’s First Annual Conference, including abstract submission and registration, and to inform potential members about ILCA’s vision, mission, benefits and the membership application process. Simultaneously, we assisted leadership through the process of legal incorporation and trade marking of the ILCA name and logo, and helped develop and execute a fundraising strategy. To help secure appropriate funding, we conducted research to establish a database of companies with potential interest in liver cancer, prepared comprehensive sponsorship packages and, working closely with leadership, contacted and followed up with all potential sponsors. Finally, MCI provided the marketing /communications tools and PCO expertise needed to promote ILCA and its first annual conference.

Within 4 months, ILCA had established a web presence, developed a detailed conference plan, produced promotional materials for both the conference and the association, and started recruiting new members. Within 6 months, ILCA had raised about 50 % of its first year’s funding needs and put in place a structure for legal incorporation. It is expected that ILCA will fully achieve and exceed its first year’s objectives of launching an innovative series of annual liver cancer conferences and becoming established as the first association dedicated specifically to meeting the needs of the liver cancer research community.

About the author

Peter Turner

As MCI's Senior Advisor, Global Development Strategy, I help associations build and execute global growth strategies. Over the past 30 years I have served three associations (ASAE, MPI and IEEE Computer Society) as a leader of business, product and partnership development.

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