How Michael Haughton Helps Research Foundations Attract, Grow, and Retain Large Donors with Kernls

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In this episode of the podcast, we dive into the world of medical research fundraising, guided by the insights of Michael Haughton from Kernls. This episode explores the heart of innovation at the intersection of technology and medical research. Haughton, with his profound personal connection to the cause and his groundbreaking work at Kernls, opens up about the challenges and triumphs in this niche yet crucial domain.

“Connecting donors with the tangible impacts of their contributions is not just a job; it’s a mission,” Haughton shares.

Who is Michael Haughton?

Michael Haughton, founder of Kernls, is a Toronto native. His life experiences shaped his path, leading to the founding of the Pancreatic Cancer Foundation of Canada. But Haughton didn’t stop there. He saw a gap in the way medical research foundations connect with donors and set out to bridge it with Kernls.

Kernls is an innovation in the medical research fundraising landscape, transforming how donors engage with and understand the impact of their contributions.

Follow Michael on Linkedin to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey.

Summary of the Podacst

How Michael Haughton Helps Research Foundations Attract, Grow, and Retain Large Donors with Kernls

Timestamp: [00:00] – [05:49]

Michael Haughton, representing Kernls, shares his personal journey influenced by his father’s battle with pancreatic cancer and his mother’s gallbladder cancer. This experience led him to work in medical research and establish the Pancreatic Cancer Foundation of Canada.

Haughton highlights the challenge of connecting donors with tangible impacts of their contributions in medical research. He compares this to other charitable sectors, like clean water or animal welfare, where the impact is more directly visible to donors.

Kernls addresses this gap by facilitating medical research institutes and independent research foundations in engaging donors with the tangible impacts of their contributions, thus improving donor retention and encouraging organic referrals. This approach helps increase the pipeline and volume of donations, offering a significant value proposition to these organizations.

Company Building and Market Approach in Medical Research Space

Timestamp: [06:59] – [11:09]

In this segment, Haughton discusses the unique challenges and strategies in building Kernls in the medical research space. He emphasizes the importance of earning trust from large institutions and ensuring compliance with regulatory environments. Kernls initially adopted a marketplace approach but later pivoted to a SaaS model to integrate more seamlessly into the workflow of their clients.

Haughton underlines the significance of understanding client workflows and adapting the product to fit into their operations efficiently. This shift was crucial for scaling and achieving the desired impact in the medical research fundraising space.

Growth Strategy and Future Vision for Kernls

Timestamp: [18:27] – [23:52]

Haughton outlines Kernls’ growth strategy and vision for the future. The company aims to deepen integration with client operations and leverage its platform to understand donors’ interests and intents better. This approach will enable larger organizations to target their communications and efforts more effectively, reducing inefficiencies and enhancing donor engagement.

Haughton envisions Kernls becoming a key part of the technological stack that aids organizations in understanding and catering to specific donor interests, thus driving more targeted and effective fundraising efforts.

Final Thoughts and Online Presence

Timestamp: [23:52] – [24:57]

In the concluding part of the podcast, Michael Haughton invites listeners to visit the Kernls website for more information. He acknowledges his limited presence on social media, prioritizing family and business over maintaining a strong online social profile. Haughton’s focus is on the substantive work of Kernls rather than on personal brand building on social media platforms.


In this thought-provoking episode with Michael Haughton of Kernls, we uncover the intricate layers of medical research fundraising and the innovative solutions Kernls offers. Haughton’s journey and the work of Kernls remind us of the power of technology and human resilience in the face of health crises.

This podcast is a source of inspiration for anyone looking to make an impact in the medical world. For a deeper dive into this compelling story and to grasp the full spectrum of insights shared, tuning into the full episode is a must.

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