Driving the success from new nonprofit to national recognition
- The Wakeman Agency counseled ChemoCars, a recently established organization dedicated to providing transportation to treatment for cancer patients, on developing strategic corporate and community partnerships.
- We helped ChemoCars gain national renown through media exposure that included segments on “CBS Evening News” and “Inside Edition.”
- As media attention created awareness, the number of rides provided increased by 20% in two months.
We then guided ChemoCars to leverage this coverage to expand services beyond their home city—a key goal of the organization’s founder.
The Wakeman Agency Drives the Success of ChemoCars: From New Nonprofit to National Recognition
How does a newly established nonprofit receive the recognition and funding support to geographically expand its services with limited resources? This was the challenge for ChemoCars when they retained The Wakeman Agency.
Strategic Planning for a New Nonprofit
ChemoCars was launched in March 2017 as the first and only on-demand service in Charlotte, NC to offer cancer patients 100% free, reliable car service to treatment. The concept was fresh and brilliantly simple: ChemoCars couples Uber and Lyft with live customer service to book, monitor, and pay for rides for patients in need. It’s the perfect marriage of technology and old-fashioned personalized customer service.
When The Wakeman Agency started working with ChemoCars in November of 2017, the organization was operating exclusively in Charlotte providing rides to local residents, but had a vision of supporting the hundreds of thousands of patients around the country in need. The goal was to scale the model and expand the service to multiple cities.
The organization’s founder, Zachary Bolster, had been approached about a partnership with a global corporation that had an interest in this audience. Our experience with partnerships and sponsorships, enabled us to analyze this opportunity and look at the bigger picture for our client. Our counsel then helped Zach determine how to structure a collaboration that would better support the organization’s long-term goals of expansion and corporate sponsorship.
“CBS Evening News” Coverage Creates National Recognition
Of course, in addition to providing strategy and counsel—we also love getting clients great media coverage!
When crafting pitches and press announcements, we look for the aspects of an organization’s story that will elicit an emotional connection. With ChemoCars, this was clearly Zach Bolster’s story. He had left a career in finance to found and run ChemoCars after his mother passed away from cancer. The Wall Street hedge fund manager who left the bright lights and big city behind to do good was an angle that captured the attention of the media. His sincerity and heartfelt desire to build a nonprofit organization as a legacy for his mother were also evocative.
The media response was organic and a cascade of opportunities developed. Following a profile on People.com, numerous TV, radio, print and web media outlets expressed interest in ChemoCars. Since Zach was also running the day-to-day operations of the organization, he was overwhelmed by the many interview possibilities. It was our task to analyze and prioritize. We determined that a proposed segment on “CBS Evening News” was among the influential media opportunities and worked closely with producers to bring it to fruition.
Since Zach was new to the nonprofit sector, the media training we provided was crucial to prepare him to tell his story in a compelling manner. Getting his message across to a wide audience—and doing it quickly—was a new skill he mastered with our guidance. We created key messages that defined his organization’s accomplishment and goals, while also maintaining his unique voice. Then we provided him with coaching on how to optimize his delivery and make the most of every interview.
CBS flew a crew down to Charlotte and the resulting segment on ChemoCars was not only broadcast on the prestigious “CBS Evening News,” but also on “CBS This Morning” and “Inside Edition.” Coverage ensued on the web sites of Fortune, Forbes, Time, The Mighty, Babble, NowThis and others. Within weeks, a formerly unknown, local organization had national visibility and renown.
We also knew it was crucial to elevate the organization’s profile specifically in its home base of Charlotte, where many current and potential funders resided. Keeping in mind the importance of growing the core support, we arranged interviews for Zach on Charlotte’s local television news stations.
The awareness generated resulted in a 20% increase in rides provided to cancer patients in two months.
Leveraging the Media Attention to Grow the Organization
This media recognition was instrumental in capturing the attention of key influencers and stakeholders that were interested in supporting the organization. Healthcare institutions and others approached Zach Bolster about ongoing partnerships. Zach was also contacted by an organization that wanted to partner with him to establish ChemoCars in a Texas city.
In less than a year, ChemoCars went from serving one city to two, providing a critical service to cancer patients. The organization achieved national recognition through top-tier media coverage and notably expanded their base of funders and partners. ChemoCars is now moving quickly toward establishing a new paradigm for transportation to treatment and helping thousands of cancer patients on the road to recovery.