How to grow your patient advocacy group

Nov 27, 2019
How to grow your patient advocacy group

Everyone has to start somewhere – even today’s biggest and most influential patient advocacy groups were once start-ups.

Here, HealthyWomen Chief Executive Officer Beth Battaglino, RN, and Director of Marketing and Communications Lisa Meindel, share their Hints and Tips for growing your organization’s reach and community engagement.

1. Be creative

We began as a three-person organization, so know what it’s like to start small. When you have a small shop and no marketing budget, you have to use your creativity, whether it’s creative marketing or creative communication.

It’s a cliché but it’s true: you have to think outside of the box and never take “no” for an answer.

2. Partner up

Partnership is a big win for smaller organizations. Align yourself with groups that are similar, but not completely alike, and where you can both add value to each other.

When developing a program, think about what other groups it would make sense to bring into the mix. The objective is to accelerate awareness and increase distribution opportunities.

Bring partners in at the initial stages when they can help provide some input on the direction of your program. You can also incorporate their name and logo on materials, which will acknowledge the partnership and their investment, while at the same time strengthen your relationship with them as you continue to grow.

3. Recruit experts

Even smaller nonprofits need medical advisors who are vested both in the organization and the therapeutic focus area.

Start building a health advisory board of experts who can contribute to your programs and initiatives, and who can serve as spokespeople for media opportunities as they arise. Having a range of experts from various fields in the health and wellness space on hand who can offer their expertise when needed is a huge asset in building your organization.

4. Recruit ambassadors

Do your research to find potential ambassadors for your organization who share a similar mission. Look for online personalities or bloggers in your focus area and initiate relationships with them. They already have a built-in audience you want to reach.

5. Work with the media

Working with print, online and broadcast media to share women’s stories and experiences has really helped us increase our brand awareness and educate others about our site and the health and wellness resources we have for women. It helps show that your group is a player in your space, and that you have something to offer.

It’s key to work closely with experts in women’s health. That way, media outlets know they can always come to you for a comment, resources or insight, and that builds your profile. Remember to have your experts’ bios and specialty areas on hand.

How to grow your patient advocacy group

Beth, who is the Chief Executive Officer at HealthyWomen, brings a unique combination of sharp business expertise and women’s health insight to her leadership of the organization. Beth has worked in the health care industry for more than 25 years helping to define and drive public education programs on a broad range of women’s health issues. She launched and has expanded the HealthyWomen.org brand. As a result of her leadership, HealthyWomen was recognized as one of the top 100 women’s health web sites by Forbes for three consecutive years, and was recognized by Oprah magazine as one of the top women’s health web sites. HealthyWomen now connects to millions of women across the country through its wide program distribution and innovative use of technology.

Beth is responsible for the business development and strategic positioning of HealthyWomen. She creates partnerships with key health care professionals and consumer groups to provide strategic, engaging and informative award-winning programs. She serves as the organization’s chief spokesperson, regularly participating in corporate, non-profit, community and media events. She also is a practicing nurse in maternal child health at Riverview Medical Center- Hackensack Meridian Health, in Red Bank, NJ

In addition to her nursing degree, Beth holds degrees in political science, business and public administration from Marymount University.

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