Giving Compass' Take:

• Jon Kent, who has spent decades working for cancer organizations of all scope and sizes, offers some advice for donors looking to make a difference in this sector: Mainly, give directly to research institutes and explore local cancer-related charities.

•  Kent's advice on being patient with the methodical nature of research is useful, and testing the waters with smaller organizations seems like a good idea for those getting started with cancer funding.

• How can new technology help in the fight against cancer? This article explores the topic.

When charities like the American Cancer Society or the Susan G. Komen Foundation raise money for research, it is to provide supplementary funding to the same scientists supported by the National Cancer Institute. Their aim is to jumpstart new lines of inquiry, support young investigators who are navigating the career hurdles of academic medicine or spur other special research initiatives. Because research funding from private charities represents such a thin slice of the cancer research pie, these organizations must be highly strategic in how they leverage this investment. In 2017, the American Cancer Society contributed $151 million to cancer research — a mere drop-in-the-bucket relative to the NCI.

Does this make your donation to cancer research pointless? No. Your money can make an important difference, but you, too, have to invest strategically. My advice is to contribute directly to the source. Invest where the research is actually happening — the research universities and private research institutes themselves ...

And here’s why even small gifts to academic cancer centers can have big payoff. While funding from the NCI may be robust, it is also highly restrictive. When a scientist has a bold, new idea, she typically cannot pursue it if it is outside the scope of her federal research grant. Discretionary funds — the kinds of dollars individual donors like you provide — are a precious commodity for academic researchers. These funds can be leveraged in many interesting ways, like fueling proof-of-concept work — preliminary data — that later attracts big dollars from the NCI.

Read the full article about how to choose a cancer charity by Jon Kent at Medium.