Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO Breast Cancer Now delivers Dean's Lecture at Cass

Baroness Morgan shared key experiences during the merger that created the largest breast cancer research charity in the UK.

Cass welcomed Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO of Breast Cancer Now, to give the first Dean's Lecture of the academic year. The event was sponsored by the Centre for Charity Effectiveness and the M&A Research Centre.

Baroness Morgan shared some of the lessons learnt from the merger of two charities that created Breast Cancer Now, making it the largest breast cancer research charity in the UK.

"Mergers are not common in the charity sector," said Baroness Morgan. In 2015, when Breast Cancer Now formed, there were over 6000 mergers in the commercial sector compared to only 61 in the charity sector.

Before Breast Cancer Now

Breast Cancer Now was formed when Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer merged in 2015. For more than 25 years, both charities grew out of different research funding traditions, but both shared a common goal: a commitment to the very best in breast cancer research across prevention, diagnosis, treatments and secondary breast cancer.

Why merge?

The merger discussions highlighted the possibility that a unified breast cancer charity would provide:

  • Better and quicker improvements in outcomes for people affected by Breast Cancer
  • Greater share of voice and more co-ordinated research with better data sharing
  • Reduced ‘pink fog’ and reduced need to focus on our differences
  • Reduction in cost base which could be re-deployed for future impact

Branding a new charity

"Creating a new charity meant creating a new brand," Baroness Morgan recalled. "We had to be brave and bold, because to start out with a new brand, is to start with zero brand awareness. We had a strong commitment to keep our legacy research commitments ongoing, while also making sure our new brand had impact."

The vision was to create a 21st century brand that was the go-to charity for breast cancer research by:

  • Building on the strengths of both Breakthrough and Campaign, but creating a fresh marker of strength and collaboration
  • Positioning research as the way to make a difference and breast cancer as the cause for support
  • Facilitating the coming together of organisations and cultures
  • Creating a contemporary benchmark for third sector branding

The future

Breast Cancer Now has a bold ambition that by 2050, all those diagnosed with breast cancer will live - and live well. Baroness Morgan concluded, "We are stronger together."