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By now everybody recognizes the pink ribbon as the emblem of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Starting in 1985, October has been the designated month to educate women and the entire population on the seriousness of breast cancer and the necessity of early detection.

Breast cancer affects many Canadian women; about 26,000 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and approximately 5,000 of those women die from it. In fact, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canadian women. Based on these numbers, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 34 will die from it.

The good news is that mortality has decreased about 40% since the mid 80s when the campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer started. Breast cancer screenings are now commonplace and research has contributed to better treatments. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has made a difference!

Why is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so Successful?

There are a few components that make Breast Cancer Awareness Month spectacularly successful at increasing public awareness, especially compared to other campaigns targeting common cancers such as prostate or lung cancer.

Notably, Breast Cancer Awareness Month does a great job at inspiring non-medical industries and influencers affected by breast cancer, to get involved and spread the word. The pink ribbon acts as a rallying symbol of strength and survival to galvanize efforts.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month empowers individuals and organizations to take on the cause and use their own networks to expand its reach exponentially. Large breast cancer charities often provide multiple resources available on their website to guide individuals and businesses that wish to fundraise on behalf of the cause.

Peer-to-peer fundraising on steroids

Basically, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month has harnessed the power of a sort of peer-to-peer fundraising. But, while the momentum is already built, it is still best to give it a push once in a while to build your donor base and maintain interest. Not only does peer-to-peer fundraising work to raise money for your charity’s cause, it also engages your donors, which builds commitment and a strong relationship with your charity. People generally love to be able to help in multiple ways — not only by donating cash — to promote causes they believe in. The main work of the nonprofit is to reach existing and potential supporters and donors, inspire them, and provide the resources they need so they can fundraise on your behalf.

Building Your Donor Base

Even peer-to-peer fundraising needs to start with a seed donor base. There are a few ways to grow this list.

  • Look to your base of volunteers and board members and encourage them to contact their network, perhaps setting up their own fundraising events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • Look to donors of similar nonprofits, or donors to nonprofits that might be obliquely related — nonprofits that go to bat for other medical, or social conditions that affect women for example.
  • Use a brokered donor list to garner contacts that are interested in helping causes such as breast cancer. Donor brokered lists can be narrowed down to hone in on your ideal donor, screening by demographics, geography, affluence and causes they support.

Inspire Donors to Fundraise on Your Behalf

If people realize their efforts really can make a difference, they will already be inspired. Highlighting past successes and their positive impact will drive the point home. Emphasizing the aspects of fighting this breast cancer together and celebrating the strength of survivors are also potent motivators.

Beyond the foundational motivators, donors may need some help with specific fundraising ideas. There is an important role for the nonprofit to set the timeline, goal and theme for the campaign. Providing some ideas or tips to brainstorm for ideas will set your donor’s creative juices flowing. In the past a wide range of breast cancer awareness fundraiser ideas have been used, from marathons to talent shows to pink tea parties.

Provide Resources

Peer-to-peer fundraising may sound organic, but there is still much organization and varying degrees of technology involved in its organization and implementation. The nonprofit should take the lead on providing resources to help donors wherever possible. This can involve:

  • Tips on how to successfully organize and market their fundraiser
  • Help with setting up websites and social media channels
  • Information on technology such as setting up QR codes so people can easily donate, using or linking to your CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) so donors can keep track of donations and donors or using a dedicated peer-to-peer software for larger fundraising endeavours.

Here’s to a Productive Breast Cancer Awareness Month

When people work together, miracles can happen. The breast cancer awareness month has been and continues to be a model for health-related fundraising. The funds that have been raised over the decades have helped change the trajectory of this disease from an outright killer to more manageable.

Reaching people who can fundraise on your behalf is a critical part of the breast cancer awareness month’s success. If you need help with your initial donor list, give us a call. Our experts can help.