How to start a community fundraiser for breast cancer

Oct 31, 2012, 8:46 a.m.
Bake sales, bowling parties, walks for cancer prevention and other activities are just a few more ideas that might work for you.

With invasive breast cancer affecting nearly one in eight American women, both national and local fundraisers have contributed tens of millions of dollars to breast cancer research, treatment and prevention. Whether breast cancer has touched your life or that of a friend or loved one, there are steps you can take to raise money to support continued work toward the eradication of this most dreaded disease. Much of the money already raised through the years has helped over 2.6 million women become breast cancer survivors in 2011 alone. Perhaps you'd like to contribute your energy to the battle.

Here are some community project ideas and advice on how you can organize a community fund raiser.

Organize a team. Getting people to help you is the first step in any fund-raising effort. They might be people at work, people in the neighborhood, at church or any other group with which you're associated. Business connections can be an especially rich source of team members. For example, most business people know about 250 other business people. They include customers, prospects, friends and the many whose business cards they've collected over time.

Choose your event. The people at breastcancer.org offer dozens of time-tested ways to raise money. You might talk to your manager or HR department at work and ask them to charge $5 per person to support breast cancer research to come to work in blue jeans or other comfortable clothes rather than the usual "business attire." Bake sales, bowling parties, walks for cancer prevention and other activities are just a few more ideas that might work for you. Another interesting thought: Approach a local judge in your home town and talk to her or him about sentencing people to community service hours in support of breast cancer. You'll find that most judges are "regular folks" and are glad to listen to new ideas on how to reform the people that appear before them.

Get the word out. Ask your team members to talk to their contacts about the event. You're tapping into the "power of thousands" when you ask your 10 or 20 or 50 team members to spread the word. For example, you might have arranged a discounted dinner event at a local restaurant whose management has agreed to serve a free glass of wine with each dinner and donate a portion of the dinner revenue to your cause. People like freebies and when you ask your team members to reach out to their personal contacts you multiply the impact of the event. Who knows? You might find that the restaurant is filled to capacity on that special night.

Submit the money. When your event is complete, collect the money and submit it to the people at breastcancer.org. For additional help and information, be sure to download their Community Fundraising Guide.

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