The Canadian Cancer Society: Consolidating Canada’s Cancer Charity Sector

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CASE STUDY. In October 2016, a merger between the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) was announced. This merger between the two charities was the largest in Canadian history.

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The Canadian Cancer Society: Consolidating Canada’s Cancer Charity Sector

The Canadian Cancer Society: Consolidating Canada’s Cancer Charity Sector is a case study by Tanya Giannelia and Serge Poisson-de Haro.

In October 2016, a merger between the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) was announced. CCS was the largest cancer charity in Canada (revenues of $184 million in 2016), offering support programs and information services to patients and their families throughout Canada. CBCF was a large site-specific cancer charity (revenues of $36 million in 2016) and Canada’s third-largest charity funder of cancer research. With declining donations and increasing administrative costs, both charities were facing financial challenges.

This merger between the two charities was the largest in Canadian history. The leadership of both organizations hoped it would solve their financial problems by helping them to gain operational efficiencies and increase market power. Students are asked to decide whether the merger made strategic sense for both organizations. The answer lies in how well it addressed the financial, leadership, and brand awareness challenges facing each organization, while enabling them to remain relevant and impactful in an increasingly competitive market.

Teaching objectives

The purpose of this case is to help non-profit managers and managers-in-training understand the issues and key success factors to be considered when contemplating a merger in this field. In addition to financial issues, these include strategic objectives, organizational positioning, operations and human resources, and – most importantly – how the organization carries out its mission and makes an impact. By examining a major non-profit merger and conducting an internal and external strategic diagnosis of the organizations and their environment, students will learn how to critically evaluate strategic options and ensure the success of such projects.

Main themes covered

  • External and internal analyses

Concepts and theories related to the case

  • External and internal analyses

Additional information

Teaching notes are available for teachers only. Please contact the HEC Montréal Case Centre.

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