Why have MS organizations been unable to raise the desired awareness?

Issue #1: Compassion Fatigue

  • Busy world, short attention spans: too many competing causes have made the media and the public numb not only to MS, but most causes.
  • A good cause is not enough to get people's interest. Media has to produce content they believe is interesting for audiences and will capture their attention.
  • Unable to make MS interesting: MS organizations identified awareness as a top priority, but they failed to attract the interest of the media, the gatekeeper of public opinion, to raise above the many other causes competing for airtime.
"The challenge MS faces is compassion fatigue: there are too many good causes, and there are 2,000 awareness days every year. MS is not new, and journalists want different, relevant stories, NOW!" – European MS Platform
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"We would not cover an MS event, but this is cool"

- London TV journalist

Issue #2: Fundraising Stuck in a Cycle

  • MS organizations focused on fundraising: funding is critical for the activities MS organizations, which generally are non-profit, self-funding entities, relying on public donations
  • Fundraising does not increase awareness: fundraising tends to target the same pool of people, year after year, the people that already understand the case and are likely to donate. Therefore, fundraising efforts do not generate new interest and support for the cause
  • Fundraising success leads to fear of change: fundraising is very difficult. So, if you are successful, as the larger MS organizations are, you are very reluctant to change for fear you'll damage what works. This makes most MS organizations unable to reach new audiences.

"We are very impressed by how imaginative your effort is and by its ambitious scope. Frankly, we have tried to put on a global show, but have not been able to." – U.S. National MS Society (the NMSS raises over $200 million each year and has 800,000 members)

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Delivering keynote speech at the NMSS annual convention to energize the Society's over 1 million volunteers

More reactions from MS organizations » Reactions from people with MS »

Issue #3: Donor Base Limitations