Cancer Awareness

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How to establish a cancer fundraiser

Cancer and its associated treatments can rob patients of their energy and enthusiasm for daily activities. But cancer also can prove taxing on a person's finances.

Depending on an individual's health insurance coverage, treatments can be costly and out-of-pocket expenses numerous. Those incapacitated by cancer also may find they are unable to work, resulting in lost wages.

Some cancer fundraisers aim to provide funds for families or individuals in financial peril as a result of their diagnoses, while others hope to raise money for cancer research. Millions of dollars are raised annually both by national foundations and individuals.

Successful cancer fundraisers follow the same guidelines of any successful fundraising effort, with dedication of time and devotion to the cause playing a key role. With dedication and commitment in tow, the possibilities to raise money for a worthy cause are endless.

* Establish your cause. Set the fundraising objective, which will include how the money will be raised and how it will be spent. If you are raising money for a specific type of cancer, it may be easy to pair up with an organization that already works toward that cause, such as the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Canadian Cancer Society, or CureSearch. Of course, you can start from scratch, but donors may be more inclined to give to a charity that has already established itself.

* Make it personal. It's much easier to stand behind a cause in which you have a vested interest. This is why many cancer fundraisers are so successful. Many people start a fundraiser in the name of a friend or family member battling cancer or someone who has lost his or her battle, and that personal connection can be a motivating force as you raise awareness for your cause.

* Establish a fundraising team. Fundraising is more manageable when there is a team of people working together to raise money and organize how money is spent. Assign responsibilities based on personal skills and areas of expertise. For example, a person with accounting experience can handle the bookkeeping work, while someone familiar with marketing can work to raise awareness for the cause and any fundraising events.

* Solicit community attention. Getting the word out about your organization and fundraiser may require the help of others in the community. Find out if you can join a school-sponsored "Relay for Life" event or have an information booth at the entrance to supermarkets or other high-traffic businesses.

* Maintain transparency. The success of fundraising may revolve around how much potential donors trust your efforts. Make every attempt to be as open and honest with people as possible. Be willing to share information about charitable organization documents, funds raised, distribution of money, and administrative costs.

* Establish a website. A website enables you to continue spreading the message of your charitable efforts after hours. Donors can look up your charity online and learn about the story behind your fundraising efforts. Promptly return any phone calls or emails from people interested in more information. Frequently update the website so the public has reason to come back for more information.

* Personally thank donors. Send a letter or place a phone call to thank donors for their contributions. This establishes your charity and fundraiser as one that cares about its cause and the people who help that cause. It also puts a face to your efforts.

Cancer fundraisers are quite popular and relatively easy to establish. It takes a group of people willing to devote time and effort to a worthy cause.