Thoughts from Kenny Kane

Kenny Kane, Nonprofiteer of the Year 2013, rep'ing Stupid Cancer.

Kenny Kane, Nonprofiteer of the Year 2013, rep'ing Stupid Cancer.

Being selected as the YNPN-NYC Nonprofiteer of the year was a tremendous honor and my first professional award beyond our organizational accolades. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed, and that we’re approaching May 2014! 

For those of you who may not know me, I’m a Co-Founder and EVP Mission at Stupid Cancer. We are the nation’s largest support community for young adults(15-39) affected by any type of disease. We host a weekly radio show, survivor meetups, two annual conferences, and have a TIMES best 50 website(’07) full of resources for survivors.

I’ve spent most of the past year building out our ecommerce platform into a more sustainable and robust platform within Stupid Cancer. It’s a great way for our constituents to rally around our brand and has become a viable revenue stream, along with individual donations and grants. I recently attended my second eTail West conference, which not only discusses selling online, but also email marketing best practices, as well emerging web technologies. I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned there and implement it across the board at Stupid Cancer.

Another goal for 2014 is to convert our social media followers into mailing list contacts. Through various tactics, like sweepstakes and giveaways, we’ve now able to have direct contact people who were previously at the mercy of Facebook’s algorithm.

When we think about the daily challenges we all face as non-profit professionals, it’s usually a matter of bandwidth. The task of balancing your existing responsibilities with new ideas, or micro-crises that pop up along the way is not always easy. I just wrapped up a 12-day/12-city road trip, which brings attention to our cause. The road trip leads into our annual conference in Las Vegas. At the conclusion of this trip, I will have been away from home and the office for 23 days.

Despite the long hours, the “non-profit salary,” and making the most out of limited resources, we all do this for one reason: we love it. As I approach the 4.5-year mark in the non-profit sector, I look back on successes and failures. You will have peaks and valleys of excitement, frustration, reward, and gratitude along your journey. I would encourage anyone just starting out, or established in his or her position, to keep an open mind, challenge antiquated organizational practices, and fill the needs of your mission.

We’re all ultimately working for a greater good. Some days will feel like another day at the office, but make sure to balance them out with days where you take a step back and look at the impact you are making on your constituency.