Supporting a cause that’s close to your heart can be a great deal of work – in addition to giving you the opportunity to pay it forward and contribute to something that has tremendous impact on the world, you’re also committing to the time, effort and money it takes to be all-in.
Cancer research and treatment is a cause near and dear to everyone’s heart – no matter how many organizations on a national and local level arise to support the cause, there can never be enough. If you’re currently looking for ways to support a local cancer organization in your community, there are many ways to get involved depending on your personal budget and availability.
Whether you’re helping to facilitate large-scale fundraising events or fundraising on the ground by selling baked goods, candles or custom lapel pins, you’re playing a role in an incredibly important initiative that could save someone’s life. There is no wrong or “less important” way to get involved with your local cancer organization, and there are so many ways to show your support that don’t require writing a big check or devoting multiple hours a week. Here are just a few ways to start your journey:
Volunteer To Give Patients Rides to Appointments
The American Cancer Society has a program called “Road to Recovery” that matches safe drivers with patients who need rides to treatment and check-up appointments. Offering these patients a free, comfortable ride to an appointment that is already uncomfortable and scary can make a world of difference in their treatment experience.
Even a quick 5-minute drive can help patients feel more secure in their ability to seek treatment and more at ease when on their way to their appointments. When someone is getting treated for cancer, they can never have enough support around them.
Help Raise Money For Local Organizations
Cancer organizations are always in need of support and donations. Most larger organizations or chapters will organize at least one big event a year, such as a walkathon, charity concert or gala, and they’re always looking for volunteers to help run the event, gather interest and champion the cause.
However, large-scale events aren’t the only way to get involved with large cancer organizations. Depending on where you live and what the needs of your local organization are, you may even have the freedom to facilitate new ideas or run smaller-scale fundraising activities that are more hands-on. If you have your own business or work for a company that’s open to new philanthropic partnerships, see how you can collaborate with the organization to raise funds through your work. For example, if you run a local boutique, designate a special shopping day where a certain percentage of your sales go to the organization.
Remember, you don’t necessarily need to go through the organization itself in order to raise money for it. Sometimes the most accessible way to raise money and awareness is to loop in something you’re already doing and the current community you’ve built up.
Set Up a Meaningful Event
One popular method of fundraising is a tree planting event. When it comes to raising money for a cancer organization, it’s important to recognize the delicacy of the situation – after all, many people who get involved with fundraising are either survivors or have personally lost a loved one to this brutal disease. Organizing an event that offers these people a chance to pay their respects to those they’ve lost is an incredibly thoughtful touch that can be therapeutic for everyone involved.
A tree planting event is just one of many ideas you can run with, and it’s not very difficult to organize. Once you’ve locked down a location, set up a table full of saplings and have people pay to choose some and plant them. They don’t need to plant these saplings at the location you’re selling them – they may choose to take them home and plant them there. For an extra thoughtful touch, offer small cards for them to write a message if they’d like to dedicate the sapling to someone.
Support With Awareness and Kindness
At the end of the day, money isn’t the only way to show your support for your local cancer organization. Ultimately, the funds they’re looking to raise are also dependent on how aware the community is that they exist in the first place.
You can also support this organization by reaching out to them and seeing how you might be able to support patients on a more personal level. For example, if it’s a children’s cancer organization, perhaps you can rally your coworkers to create handmade cards and drawings for you to send to the kids. Or maybe you can raise funds within your company to donate gift cards or meal delivery kits to families of people who are in treatment.
The most important thing to remember when getting involved with a local cancer organization is that the heart work must precede the hard work. No matter what your budget is or how much time you’re able to commit, your involvement in and of itself is raising the awareness and support that we need to finally beat cancer once and for all.