The 2016 Social & Community Investment Awards: L.E.K. Consulting

LEKL.E.K. Consulting

Type of Work: Pro Bono Client: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

L.E.K. Consulting has a long-standing relationship with The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), a world-renowned leader in cutting-edge cancer research and treatment based in Boston that continues to make a significant contribution to the global fight against cancer. The firm is celebrating its 10th year of sponsoring an employee cycling team in the Pan-Mass Challenge, raising a cumulative total of $1.4 million to date—with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to DFCI.

It’s no surprise then, that when DFCI was looking for assistance in developing a strategy that would drive this merchandising program to reach its true full potential, it turned to L.E.K. Consulting.

The organization relies on substantial recurring donations to support their $1 billion in annual operating expenses. As a way to diversify income beyond donations and create a more stable base of recurring support, DFCI created a retail-merchandising program, selling gift items to donors, patients, and visitors around the December holidays with a portion of proceeds directly benefiting the organization.

However, the program has been an opportunistic effort without significant resources dedicated to its growth, which has resulted in stagnating revenue and contributions. It was looking for a way to create a meaningful and stable recurring income stream to provide critical ongoing support for the organization, says Chris Randall, Managing Director at L.E.K. Consulting.

“Not only does L.E.K. have deep expertise in consumer retail strategy development,” Randall says. “But we have a long-standing relationship with the organization.”

DFCI engaged L.E.K. Consulting on a pro-bono basis on a six-week engagement in January and February of this year. L.E.K. performed a detailed diagnostic of the current program, conducted significant consumer research of both retail and corporate customers, and defined best practices from comparable non-profit retail merchandise programs.

The result was a revitalized strategic vision, which refocused the program on the critical levers of growth and support needed to make key strategic investments designed to maximize the program’s potential, Randall says.

“It was a strategic growth initiative around analyzing their business and coming up with key recommendations for Dana-Farber,” he says. The solution had several components. A fully redesigned e-commerce platform will increase online consumer engagement and conversion. Lastly, a dedicated focus on the significant corporate customer opportunity will leverage strong brand resonance, especially among the greater New England professional community.

L.E.K. developed specific, detailed, data-driven recommendations around each component of the strategic growth plan, which was instrumental in helping DFCI confidently move forward with strategic investments.

With this moderate investment, L.E.K. estimated that the retail merchandise program can maximize its potential and deliver 7 to 8 times current revenue levels as well as net contributions, thereby having a significant and lasting impact on the organization, Randall says.

“Cancer research and cancer treatment impacts everyone,” Randall says. “We take great pride in being DFCI’s partner.”

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