When you get the news that you or somebody that you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, you’re likely to feel a range of emotions from helplessness to worry, and face immediate stress. You may not have the power to make yourself or that friend or family member better in terms of physical health, but you probably feel compelled to do something. Giving emotional support, or getting help financially are some of the primary ways you can make a difference when you are not a medical professional. Even for patients with great health insurance, treatment for serious conditions add up quickly and between the treatments and the bills it can be overwhelming. There are medications, medical bills, and even travel expenses to cover while also managing the stress of active ongoing care. Many patients as well as their primary caregivers also miss time from work, leading to missed wages adding to the already substantial financial toll.
Assisting in fundraising for someone you know that is facing these kinds of challenges, including yourself, can help ease the burden. Doing it the right way can also provide emotional support, grow the support team, and really make a difference in the outlook of the patient.
You can collect donations from those you know, such as friends, family, and professional colleagues, but also even loose acquaintances and strangers. Do this for many different causes associated with the disease, including:
Cancer Treatment: When someone has to undergo chemotherapy and radiation, the costs can be rather high. If someone needs help paying for their treatment, you can help out. Tell their story, upload images, and share the campaign with anyone you know.
Research: Researchers, doctors, and scientists are always on the lookout for anything that will fight cancer, alleviate it, manage it, or even cure it for good. Help them out by raising money.
Awareness: If you or someone you know or love has gone through cancer, share the experience and impact it has had on your family and life. Do this to encourage others to make donations to your cause.
Childhood Cancer: Any cancer is unwelcome news, but childhood cancer is especially painful and heartbreaking. Give the young a chance to live their life.
Recovery/At-Home Care: Sometimes those who need help are the ones that beat cancer. Even if they beat the disease, they might have recovery therapy sessions or be in such rough shape that they can’t resume a normal life yet. Help them every step of the way back.
Crowdfunding for a fundraising campaign can be an effective means of generating donations from a broad audience without a lot of the hassle involved with a physical fundraiser. To start this, you choose a platform and then start up a campaign page. Your page should include elements like an image collection, a pragmatic goal, a compelling title, and detailed brief covering why you are seeking donations.
Crowdfunding has quite a few advantages. First of all, it’s low-maintenance, which is crucial if you’re running it for yourself during treatment or are helping a patient you know with theirs. Also, your only needed resources are a computer with an online connection. It can also raise a lot of money in a tight timeframe. The only real essential is generating momentum. which is best accomplished through an active social network.
As many as 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, meaning most Americans know at least one woman or more that have been diagnosed at some point. That makes breast cancer fundraising very prevalent.
One idea you might do specifically for this is to host a ‘pink party’. From decorations and food to what people wear, you can raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, all done in the color of pink.
Walkathons are often done at a community level and are common in many towns and cities. Participants can raise funds, inspire communities, and get fit while doing it. Those that can’t walk can still commit to pledges.
Haircut parties are another way to go, since many breast cancer patients lose some, if not all, of their hair while undergoing treatment. Get a salon to participate and even host the fundraiser. Hair that gets cut can be donated to wigs for cancer patients.
Deciding to do cancer fundraising can seem like a simple choice. Picking the specific one you want to do may not be so easy. Consider the following as just some of the many possibilities:
Karaoke Nights: This is a classic idea where you partner up with a local eatery or bar for hosting a karaoke night where you charge a cover fee for donations.
50/50 Raffles: These are simple to set up and they don’t cost much. Just get a roll of raffle tickets, which you can buy online or in many office supply stores. Then set up an event where attendees buy tickets and you hold a drawing. The winner gets half the pot, and the other half goes to the cancer patient, organization, or research.
Product Fundraising: From Etsy to 3D printers, it’s possible to source products easier than ever before. Find anything that will sell, make sure it is the signature pink, and then sell it for donations.
Checkout Charity: How often does a cashier at a store or restaurant ask you if you’d like to donate a dollar to a specific cause? You might tune them out because you hear it so often, but these efforts generate cash with minimal effort and expense. All you need is to find a local business willing to take checkout donations or just let you place a donation jar near their register. Donors already have their purses open or wallets out, and breast cancer awareness and treatment is hard to say no to.
Lantern Release: For something to do at night, consider a lantern release, especially if your particular fundraiser is rather emotionally charged. Invite attendees to come to a ceremony where you can charge per lantern or just take general donations. Releasing the lanterns coupled with a powerful story is a wonderful way to bring people together.
Other great ideas include art shows or sales, walk-and-paw-a-thons where pets are involved, selling flower bulbs to represent health and new life, planting trees, and selling calendars.
One crucial aspect of any successful cancer fundraising is to give the effort a compelling name or title. Your title needs to tell your story clearly, so that others can easily find it when they look. A great title with good fundraising ideas can generate quite a bit of donations, shares, and attention.
A great title should do four things. First, it needs to garner the attention of the public at large. Second, it should describe specifically who the fundraiser is intended to help and why it needs to happen. Third, the title should set the tone or feel for the fundraising story. Fourth, and for the digital age, make sure your title has good keywords in it.
Run every title you think of by the following criteria:
-Does your title stand out among the crowd?
-Is the title easily searchable, clear, and distinct?
-Does it tell your story? If not, does it hint at a story?
-Is it understandable without effort?
-Does the title make someone eager to learn/read more?
-If the fundraiser is for a specific person, does the title include their name?
-Does the title inspire action?
-If you were to see the title, is it something you’d want to pass on and share?
Now that you know different ideas you can use for a cancer benefit or fundraiser, you need to know the specific structure of this undertaking. The crowdfunding approach might not need all of these steps, but it’s still useful to know them all.
Your fundraiser is only going to be as successful as your planning committee. Many people might want to chip in, but what you really need to start with is a tight group with power over planning. Don’t turn away other volunteers, but delegate other project aspects to them. Committee formation needs to happen early so you can find indidivuals that know how to make things happen and give them time to do it. Anyone with prior benefit experience is helpful, as is anyone who has connections to discounts, sponsors, and influencers or media figures.
While many ideas have already been bandied about in the previous paragraphs, the general rule of thumb is that you should decide on an event that suits the person or organization you are raising money for. Other factors that narrow down your list include how much lead time you have and your available resources.
While your goal is raising money, fundraising also often costs money. Whenever possible, host it at a residence or house of worship to save money. Consider crowdfunding as a cost-efficient means of fundraising, since it takes place online most of the time. If you do a physical event, you might have to account for many different costs, including but not limited to food, servers, furniture rental, tents, security, parking, advertising, entertainment, prizes, decorations, and more.
Do this to keep the fundraising legitimate. Not only do you want to make sure all the money gets to where it’s supposed to be, but you might also need to do this for legal reasons too. At a minimum, establish a distinct bank account for the fundraising, and have one person who can be trusted to manage that account. You might need a patient’s social security number and other personal information in order for the bank to be willing and able to transfer the funds. Clarify legal and tax implications with an attorney or CPA first, as state income tax laws may vary; generally speaking, fundraising like this is considered a personal gift, which means donations aren’t tax-deductible for donors, but recipients should be able to avoid income tax. However, if a bank account earns interest, that might be taxable.
You need to set a date, time, and location for your event. Pick out any partners or vendors that you need, and make reservations. Your early committiee should pick individuals to head up each part of a fundraising campaign or event, and then more volunteers can be given single tasks along a group timeline.
If you want donors, you need to let people know what you’re doing. Your committees and volunteers are where you need to start. Print flyers and advertise in local media. Use technology by starting up a Facebook page and then creating hashtags for Instagram and Twitter.
Contact area merchants for donations or any contributions they can provide. Make sure they know why you’re doing your fundraising or benefit, who it’s for, and how they can help. Keep it short and sweet, but make sure you finish with how this can help them. Make sure that their sponsorship or contributions will be highlighted through yoru event or fundraiser so they get great publicity.
Once everything seems like it is done, it’s not. You need to send out thank-you notes to everyone. That’s not just your donors and participants, but also your volunteers and any businesses or organizations and house of worship that lent a hand. This isn’t just good manners but also possibly a way of forming relationships you can tap into again for future benefits. Hopefully, you’ll even make a few friends and even professional connections along the way.
Now that you’ve read all this, you know what cancer fundraisers are for, specific ideas you can try, how to organize one, and how to take advantage of crowdfunding, among many other essential pieces of information and ideas. Cancer patients frequently struggle financially while they are ill or going through treatment, which means they are grateful for any and all assistance they can get from friends and family. Make your own fundraising efforts count, as you can extend the circle of support for cancer patients you know, or in honor of someone a survivor or someone you lost.
MedGift Advocacy Services, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization, classified as a public charity and is registered in the State of Georgia under EIN 81-4017965.