You have colon cancer. Nobody is ever prepared to hear these four words, but once you -- or a loved one -- is touched by this horrible disease, it’s natural to want to do everything possible to make sure nobody else has to hear these words again. In our line of work, we see patients, survivors, caregivers, and advocates that adopt colon cancer prevention as their personal mission, and we know that with a few tips and Colon Cancer Alliance resources, anybody can fundraise if they put their mind to it.
Here are our top 5 tips to keep in mind as you embark on the planning process:
1. Team work makes the dream work: This old saying is especially true when planning fundraisers. Yes, it’s possible to do it alone, but if you take a divide-and-conquer approach, you’ll be able to mitigate stress and enjoy the fundraising experience with your co-workers, family or friends.
2. Put your strengths to the test: Set yourself up for fundraising success by playing to your strengths. Take the time to assess your strengths and resources as individuals and as a group. Are you an especially athletic bunch? Create an Undy 5000 team. Are you all good at cooking? Sounds like the recipe for a bake sale. Are you a group of strong writers? Organize a letter writing fundraising campaign. Whatever your strengths are, leverage them to fundraise while simultaneously pursuing an already established passion.
3. Reach out to your community: Whether or not it’s something you’ve actively thought about, you’re probably a member of many communities, and now’s the time to engage them and welcome them to join your efforts. Take a minute to brainstorm how you know who you know. Think about the people you interact with -- the owner of your local pizzeria, your college roommate who you occasionally chat with on Facebook, or even your cousins that live across the country -- and ask yourself if they might be interested in getting involved too. Once you’ve compiled this list, you can start to get a feel for if you have potential sponsors, excited volunteers, or a even a group willing to make donations.
4. Spread the word: In the past year we’ve seen people like Kris Saim and Leave It on the Road lead their fundraising initiatives to remarkable success because of their communication efforts. If you know your audience, you’ll be able to evaluate how to best communicate with them. Are you hosting a golf tournament? Send personalized invitations. Do you have hundreds of Twitter followers and Facebook friends? Spread the word via social media. Are you planning a bake sale in your community center? Advertise in the local paper or hang signs downtown. If you know your audience, you can reach them where they are. Thus, they’ll be more likely to participate.
5. Do your research: If you’ve never before planned a fundraiser, it’s never too late to learn how to do it. Be patient, peruse some best practices, brainstorm ideas, and read up on the ins and outs of getting started. And if, after all your efforts, you can't find anybody that's executed your idea in the past, be a pioneer. If you believe in your idea, don't hesitate to pave the ways for future fundraisers by creating your own campaign, event or initiative.
Check out our Fundraising Toolkit and other fundraising guides and contact us at (202) 628-0123 if you'd like some one-on-one advice -- we're here to help!