Engagement with nonprofit partners requires a second look

Industry-advocacy relationships are changing. Gone are the days when “partnership” implied only a grant check for one-time projects. Today, both companies and patient advocacy groups...

Industry-advocacy relationships are changing. Gone are the days when “partnership” implied only a grant check for one-time projects. Today, both companies and patient advocacy groups can and do want more from their partnerships. As communications counselors, we can play a crucial role in shaping the future of influencer relations.

First, we can counsel our clients on the benefits of engaging patient advocates earlier on in the process – during Phase I of drug development – and with continuity. As noted in my last entry, advocacy partnerships can provide a broad spectrum of support, not to mention assistance with brand milestones (need a champion at your ODAC hearing?). But to achieve these goals, they require a seat at the table and something in return – transparency, information, and innovation.

Second, there are rules of engagement that must be adhered. Specifically, to be successful, we as practitioners must identify the right advocacy partners, engage them early, set expectations upfront, and promote transparency across all interactions.

Don’t fall into the trap of bringing in advocates too late and then trying to make it right through a charitable contribution – there are some things money can’t buy. Nonprofits are key influencers and deserve your consideration.

Carrie Jones, principal and MD, Jones Public Affairs

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