Affinity Strategies

Pioneering Ways to Support Clients’ Objectives with David Lee

Lauren Shaffer
February 16, 2023

In his 18 months at Affinity Strategies, David Lee has served as the Executive Director of the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI) as well as Senior Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Fundraising, leading a team supporting fundraising and partnership development approaches for Affinity’s full client base.

Lee is no stranger to non-profit management, as he started this work in the early 1990s.

“I have worked in the health care field for over 30 years (mostly on the non-profit side, including running and working to set up and manage multiple cross-sector public-private partnerships at organizations like the Foundation for NIH and National Bone Health Alliance),” said Lee. “I have also worked in industry, having spent four years on the bone health global marketing team at Amgen, so have unique experience in both the non-profit and industry health care sectors.”

He noted that while the management and fundraising work have not undergone drastic changes, there have been significant differences in technology.

“The COVID pandemic certainly forced non-profit organizations to rapidly pivot to offer fully virtual or hybrid live/virtual annual meetings and workshops. I think we learned during the COVID pandemic how important live interactions are to foster scientific exchange and partnership, and it has been refreshing to have an opportunity to attend a number of live annual meetings over the last year,” Lee stated. “Fundraising and industry partnership has also changed, with a desire to go from ‘transactional’ sponsorships to more substantive and interactive partnerships (to leverage not only industry’s investment but also their expertise).”

Affinity Strategies has been at the forefront in establishing virtual working teams as many staff members work outside of the Chicago-based company, which has enabled Lee to work in various locations across the country (currently New Orleans).

“This openness to identifying team members from across the country has made Affinity an attractive place to work (with more options as new roles open up) and we have figured out ways to ensure connectivity regardless of our location. Now that meetings and events are starting to open up, we do make sure we have face to face touchpoints and interactions both within our staff team as well as with our clients and external stakeholders. It is great that most annual meetings and congresses are now back to being fully in person after a few challenging years,” said Lee.

In his work with USBJI, he noted they reflected on key initiatives and strengths of the organization and how to best move forward meeting their goals.

Lee said Affinity Strategies received high marks from the participants of the USBJI Young Investigator Initiative workshop held in October 2022 (designed to help clinician/scientists be more competitive in seeking grants support from the National Institutes of Health and other key funders).

Some of these testimonials included:

  • “This was an incredibly valuable weekend – the amount of knowledge and passion in this group of people was amazing. I connected with some other amazing new investigators and got to network and get advice from some of the leading musculoskeletal researchers across the country.”
  • “The YII workshop helps you build an individualized roadmap to obtain grant funding regardless of your experiences as a new investigator. The faculty are well-versed in the intricacies of the grant writing process and provide personal feedback to your research and career goals.”

In regards to Affinity’s overall fundraising strategy, he and his team have helped develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy to help support clients.

“We have helped to build the infrastructure and capacity to better support our clients to more effectively raise funds and execute key programs that not only help their organizational bottom line but also impact patients and their health care professional membership,” said Lee.

Lee looks forward to continuing to serve Affinity’s clients effectively while bringing on additional clients to help them serve their mission.

“Working through an association management company enables clients to receive more targeted support and capabilities as needed as well as benefit from economies of scale (as it relates to organizational digital tools and resources),” stated Lee.

As technology evolves, Lee sees this benefiting associations to offer more streamlined processes, including administrative work as well as more effective communication using Microsoft Teams and Slack.

“The COVID pandemic forced the health care industry to figure out how to make virtual meetings more effective (and more like face-to-face interactions), which will continue to pay dividends and are here to stay even as we ease back into face-to-face interactions,” added Lee.

Lee noted that what makes Affinity unique is that there is not a one-size fits all approach. There is a diverse set of skills so clients have the ability to utilize what serves them best. Some of these services include governance and financial management, fundraising and partnership development, annual meeting and congress management, public policy and advocacy, member engagement, website and podcast execution, market research and social media strategy and execution.

“Do not hesitate to explore how working through an association management company can make your association more organizationally and financially efficient and impactful (through both economies of scale as well as allocating small percentage of staff expertise which would not be possible to obtain in a traditional self-managed association setting),” encouraged Lee. “There is also an opportunity to scale staff and financial resources as needed, which can be particularly helpful for smaller organizations that are in growth mode.”

He noted that a key misconception is that it is a more costly solution than independent management—which is not the case, it is just a different approach.

Lee stated he looks forward to a great year on behalf of our clients, and ultimately, patients!