By Carol Cone and Alana Burns

A couple of weeks ago at the Page Annual Conference, we led a discussion on what it takes to create a movement. And the consensus was unanimous: it’s not easy. It’s especially challenging around the issue we were dealing with, lung cancer in women. Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women, so you might think it had attention. Yet we discovered it is top-of-mind for only 1% of women.

This was a difficult place to start, but as the American Lung Association, we knew we had a responsibility to reverse this situation and lead the fight against this disease in a big way.  We knew we wanted to create a new cause initiative as a vehicle to do this, but how could we build a cause to really spark a national movement?

Through intensive research and with the framework of the New Model, the answer we came to was this: we had to focus equally on two key stakeholder groups – women and companies. Women, as both our participants and beneficiaries, were of course essential. As for companies, they could be the critical multiplier effect to amplify our message, our dollars and our mission.

Only by successfully engaging both stakeholder groups could we ever achieve advocacy at scale. This was exactly what we did with our new cause initiative, LUNG FORCE. We created separate calls-to-action for each and corresponding engagement opportunities that resonated with both audiences.


For women, the call-to-action urged them to learn, share and care:

Learn: First, we needed to help women understand that anyone – not just smokers – can get lung cancer. To do this, we created a variety of educational tools and convened local LUNG FORCE Expos to educate patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals on the latest breakthroughs.

Share: We wanted women to have the opportunity to not only own the cause, but to share it through their on- and offline social networks. One of the ways we did this was by creating an annual iconic event in May – the LUNG FORCE Turquoise Takeover – to give women the chance to communally celebrate their power to make a difference.

Care: Giving was also an important way we wanted women to engage. We created a range of opportunities, from fundraising for LUNG FORCE Walks to participating in a National LUNG FORCE Call-In Day, to advocate for increased federal funding for lung cancer research.


For companies, the call-to-action asked them to educate, engage and invest:

Educate: We provided companies with health education information to help them arm their customer and employees with the knowledge they would need to face lung cancer and their lung cancer risks.

Engage: For companies interested in customer and employee engagement, we created specialized corporate volunteer and fundraising opportunities including cause marketing promotions, workplace fundraisers and corporate LUNG FORCE Walk teams.

Invest: Finally, we created a spectrum of sponsorship opportunities to allow companies to become part of LUNG FORCE to reach their stakeholders and make a direct impact in the issue.

By taking this dual approach, both women and companies gained the flexibility to make the LUNG FORCE cause their own. Each could take actions to fit their needs, increasing the likelihood they would come back and take a second action, leading to long-term engagement and, ultimately, to advocacy at scale.

Alana Burns, National Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, American Lung Association

As National Senior Vice President at the American Lung Association, Alana leads a nationwide, multi-disciplinary team to increase the organization’s ability to deliver on its mission. She leads strategy, marketing, communications and branding efforts to increase the Lung Association’s relevance to a broader audience, create engagement opportunities for corporate partners and individuals, and enhance and diversify fundraising capacity. Most recently, Alana has led the development, launch, management and advancement of LUNG FORCE, a national movement launched in May 2014 to unite women in the fight against lung cancer.

Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair, Business + Social Purpose, Edelman

Carol leads Edelman’s CSR, sustainability and citizenship offering worldwide, providing strategic counsel to clients including the American Lung Association, Unilever,  Southwest Airlines, Exelis, Wrigley and PNC. From 1980–2010 she was the founder and CEO of Cone, Inc., where she led the development of signature initiatives including: Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, PNC Grow Up Great, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women and P&G’s Live, Learn and Thrive. These programs have raised more than $1.5 billion for social causes. Carol is a requested expert around the globe, and has been called “arguably the most powerful and visible figure in the world of cause branding” by PRWeek.