The Oral Cancer Foundation
August 1, 2009
I am a dental professional that is very familiar with the oral cancer issue in the US, including the reasons that the disease is too often found late, and the impact of this fact on both survival and treatment related morbidity, as well as long term quality of life issues for patients. I have watched this small organization from its inception, and am amazed at how much it is able to accomplish with a mostly volunteer based staff, significant lack of funding, and significant obstacles in its path that are both political/professional related and science based issues. Many of the impressive list of achievements that OCF has racked up, are the result of innovative use of technology platforms that are effective and cost efficient, combined with highly creative approaches to accomplishing its mission and tasks by the management of the organization. The behemoth cancer organizations that take in hundreds of millions of dollars a year could learn something from this micro funded non profit. My guess is that if someone matched end result metrics dollar for dollar between OCF and any of the large organizations, they would become supporters of this entity as the best opportunity for their philanthropic investments.
I have, before writing this, reviewed several organizations and the many comments made about them. One thing seems obvious to me. The 150+ reviews of this organization at the time of my writing come predominantly from people who have been served by OCF, and when looking at other larger organizations, volunteers, donors and staff dominate the reviews. That tells me a lot, and why I decided to take the time to write this review. These guys are in the trenches with those in need, and get the job done. The postings from those served are decidedly heartfelt, and as passionate as OCF itself.
I have attended a lecture given to research professionals, in which OCF's founder was one of the presenters. I was impressed with his grasp of the complexity of the science of the viral etiology of the disease. I was even more impressed that his depth of understanding allowed him to speak without notes or the crutch of a PowerPoint presentation for two hours, but none of that compared to his passion. To a room full of scientists and researchers he brought the too often missing human component to the presentation, in a manner that was the combination of patient insight and a tactful "call to action" to those in attendance. Imagine my surprise after listening to someone delve the complex nature of oncoprotein messengers ability to alter cellular function, to find out that he was a lay person with a high school diploma.
What this organization lacks in infrastructure it makes up in the development of strategic alliances. What it lacks in raw dollars to get their message out, it makes up for in creative and innovative approaches, often convincing celebrity spokespeople to deliver its message. What it does not lack in, is a true passion to serve the needs of others.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
pushing the dental profession to be more engaged in the early detection process, and championing a little noticed viral connection to a relatively unheard of disease, into the public spotlight
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
hope that I could do as much with so little
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
watching their ability to effect change in the professional sector
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
knowledgeable and passionate
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
it would be unstoppable
Ways to make it better...
could not have been
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
getting on the radar of an corporate sponsor, philanthropic organization, or donor angel that will realize what potential there is within them
One thing I'd also say is that...
The big guys should try to do it this well.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Professional with expertise in this field & Provided introductions within the scientific community, and have been a donor.