How do you feel about the imminent change starting in the Madison Gilda’s Club organization to the Cancer Support Community? To me, it feels a little like someone not interested in explaining their brand and instead choosing a name that is more SEO-friendly. But I could be wrong.
Language and word choice is very important to the folks at Gilda’s. I worked with them for many wonderful years when I was a full-time non-profit professional and remember when they shared with me the document that explained the very specific terminology they used in all Gilda’s Clubs programs. One big difference from my employer’s terminology was that folks at Gilda’s Club staff and volunteers avoided the phrase “battling cancer.” They didn’t like that phrase because a battle implied that someone might lose.
The official explanation is that young people don’t know who Gilda Radner was and they want as many people with cancer to find them and utilize their support services.
Here’s a comment from Lannia Stenz, Executive Director:
Like many of you, I have been a fan of Gilda and SNL throughout my life. However, Gilda’s Club Madison is part of a larger organization, the Cancer Support Community. After a great deal of discussion and deliberation our local board of directors chose to make the change for a number of key reasons:
1. In 2013 we are beginning the outreach process to offer education and support programs to outlying areas. Our service area is a 14-county region in SW Wisconsin. Our new name incorporates the entire region.
2. Our parent organization, Cancer Support Community is now the parent agency of all Gilda’s Clubs and Wellness Communities. As of this year, all of the Wellness Communities have changed their name to Cancer Support Community. Gilda’s Clubs across the county are beginning to follow their example.
3. There will be no new Gilda’s Clubs created in coming years because Gilda’s Club Worldwide is now Cancer Support Community.
4. By incorporating what we do into our name we are eliminating confusion and will be able to more effectively raise awareness about our programs.
Finally, although the name is changing, our mission remains the same. The spirit of Gilda’s Club will stay alive in the clubhouse. We have one goal: to ensure that all people affected by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.
It is my sincere hope that our community will continue to support our work through this challenging change and cheer on our efforts to provide emotional support, cancer education and hope to men, women and children who are impacted by cancer. As an organization we have a great deal to celebrate and we hope you will join us as we move forward.