RFL Training Plan: Florida International University and ACS CAN

Guest Blog: Florida International University

Recently, the Relay For Life of Florida International University had a record number of signups for ACS CAN memberships. Read about how Michelle Juarez, the Logistics Director of FIU RFL, and her team accomplished this record, and take some ideas back to your event!

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1. How did you incorporate mission and get people excited about ACS CAN?

Our community manager first introduced it to our executive board and explained the mission to us. We were encouraged as a board to take a decision and incorporate it into our efforts. The way that we were able to incorporate and get people excited was by starting with our committee who was able to hear from a survivor who works directly with ACS CAN to come and explain it to all members. We thought that it was a good way to have each member then be able to communicate that message to others and understand what ACS CAN stood for. We then got our committee to each meet a goal of people to sign up and then also incorporated it into our pre events and our gala in February.

2. How did you encourage people to register for ACS CAN? What did that process look like?

Because the registration was $10, college students were put off by signing up however this is why educating our committee with a speaker really helped because some of them were able to convey a smaller and condensed version of the speech to regular students. Also when we incorporated it into our pre events there was someone walking around campus and a lot of emphasis was placed on how this would help ACS and all those affected by it later on. We had a competition for a while with a neighbor campus and who could raise the most amount of subscribers to ACS CAN and that really motivated our population of students to take part as well. When we had our gala to crown new campus ambassadors, we offered it to contestants taking part in the competition as a way to get extra points and that helped as well. We designated one eboard member to be the one in charge of the ACS CAN efforts and it helped also because she was able to keep others accountable and she made everyone start with their friends and then that way talking to random students was easier as time went on. We also had some forms the day of the event.

3. Do you have any other thoughts or suggestions you'd like to share?

Overall, I think that getting a speaker really helped and it started within our own committee having them sign up too then our friends and relative and then starting moving to the general population. It was getting used to advocating for a program instead of just going up to people and saying to donate to ACS/Cancer Efforts but more so what the program could do to be able to get the $10 donation. The big help too was finding ways to incorporate it into pre events because it was taking advantage of people that come to our events and care for the cause to learn about something new that they could contribute to. 

RFL Training Plan: Love Letters to Graduating Seniors

*sentimental music*

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Dear Seniors,

Please don’t leave us. We don’t know what the Relay movement on our campus is like without you. You’ve been with us every step up of the way, encouraging us, guiding us, answering our ten million questions, and trying to pass down your four years of wisdom at the same time. Please don’t leave us!

Love, Everyone Else

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Graduation season got you feeling a little sentimental? And not because your beloved seniors are graduating but because they’re leaving you behind? Yeah, we all know the feeling. But wanna know a secret? The best way to keep your seniors coming back and retain their support as alumni is to send them off with a bang! Celebrate them, their work, their achievements and let them clearly know how significant they’ve been towards the Relay For Life movement on your campus!

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If Greek Life is big on your campus, I imagine Senior Send-offs are too. But why should we get left out of the fun?  Host your own Senior Send-Off party for your graduating seniors. Cater some food or have a potluck, collect some old (maybe embarrassing) photos and videos of the people you’re celebrating, and ask the rest of your committee to come with hand written thank you letters for each senior or ready to share their favorite memory of each senior! It’s a sweet and sentimental way to let your seniors know exactly how important they are and how much their continued support will mean to you!

If your campus loves to show off graduation cords and stoles consider purchasing purple American Cancer Society graduation cords for graduating seniors. With this small gesture your seniors will be able to show off their ACS pride during a life-changing moment and they’ll be sure to thank you! It can become a time-honored tradition within your committee - something for each member to look forward to as they graduate. Your staff partner can place an order for the cords here.

Finally consider making your own, brand new tradition to recognize seniors - something that is unique and relevant to your campus! Maybe a certain type of cuisine that’s eaten at a get together every year or a specific activity that’s played together every year? No matter what you do, don’t forget to thank your seniors. They’ve spent many hours working their butts off to make your event successful and their continued support as alumni can help your event continue to grow! A heartfelt thank you and small celebration goes a long way towards ensuring their continued dedication - and they won’t reaaaaalllly leave you if they’re still supporting your Relay, right? Problem solved!

RFL Training Plan: Transition

There are a couple life changes where large numbers of amazing Relay For Life participants stop volunteering for the American Cancer Society. 

One, is the transition from high school to college. Some people think that there won’t be enough time to continue volunteering for the American Cancer Society, while some say that they want to explore other volunteering opportunities in college.

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RFL Training Plan: Succession Planning

How did we get from this man there to this cute grandma here? A SUCCESSION PLAN!!!

A solid succession plan works to make sure that the work you’re doing this year lasts for hundreds of years (okay, maybe a little less than that) after this one event. One problem a lot of campuses face is tied to the nature of being a campus event: graduation.

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RFL Training Plan: Recognition

It’s easy to wrap up your fundraising season after your event, calculating final fundraising numbers and updating leaderboards. Forgetting to plan for the next fundraising season immediately is a common oversight. However, by thanking all of your donors, like big corporate sponsors, or recognizing smaller donations from friends and family, we can ensure future support and donations.

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RFL Training Plan: Leadership Under Pressure

RFL Training Plan: Leadership Under Pressure

Just a few short months ago I was in your shoes - managing a Relay For Life to-do list of about 34 million tasks, struggling to maintain my other commitments like school and work, and steadily losing the interest of my ELT. There’s a lot of pressure on you as a leader - get everything done, do it well, and do it on time. It’s nearly impossible to be successful - key word nearly. It can all be done, done well, and done on time - you just have to ask your team to give 10000%. Consider these tips for your own stress relief and then share with your ELTs!

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RFL Training Plan: Team Fundraising

RFL Training Plan: Team Fundraising

This blog is going to dive into the benefits of team fundraising from a few different perspectives. 


From a ELT member's perspective:
Team fundraisers benefit ELT members in many ways. First and foremost, it's an extra boost in fundraising with minimal work from your leadership team. A win win in my eyes, less work but more money! Additionally, team fundraisers will create greater awareness around your campus. The reach of a team is going to be different than you general fundraiser. A team will promote it on their social media pages and to their group of friends which can potentially generate their interest in joining the fight. 

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RFL Training Plan: Finding $0 Participants

Each year on your campus before Relay season, a group of heroes gets together and talks about the plan for the coming year. What do we change this year? How do we fundraise more for the American Cancer Society?
Every year, a group of zeroes shows up sometime around the event, pays the registration fee and enjoys the awesome event experience you’ve spent so much time creating. I call them zeroes, because that is exactly what their impact on your event is - $0. With many campuses having over half of their participants (and some above 80%) not fundraising, the impact on our Relay For Life movement is huge. 

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RFL Training Plan: Accessible Fundraising

Does your general participant have everything they need to fundraise? Let’s check!
Do they have a set personal fundraising goal for the year?
Do they know how to use their dashboard correctly?
Do they know how to ask for donations through social media and email?
Do they have personal fundraising tactics (i.e. selling t-shirts)? 

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RFL Training Plan: Make it Meaningful

Have you noticed a lack of diversity within your campus Relay? 

While unintentional, if you look through your lists of past and present participants, you might notice that certain populations are very well represented while others are not at all. Notice who comes to Relay and more importantly, who does not. 

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RFL Training Plan: Make it New

RFL Training Plan: Make it New

Change is inevitable. But change can also be really, really good. After a conclusion of a Relay season, you should debrief and find things to change. Maybe this was your best event in recent years (congrats!), but there is always something to improve. This change may be something behind the scenes like your committee structure or more external like your entertainment. 

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RFL Training Plan: Northwestern University Event Launch

Guest Blog: Northwestern University

In November, our training plan focus is all about "Bring the People" and event launches are a big part of getting your campus excited about Relay! Recently, the Relay For Life of Northwestern University had their event launch and it was a big hit with the campus. Read about the event below and take some ideas back to your event!

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RFL Training Plan: USC Event Launch

In November, our training plan focus is all about "Bring the People" and event launches are a big part of getting your campus excited about Relay! Recently, the Relay For Life of USC had their event launch and it was a big hit with the campus. Read about the event below and take some ideas back to your event!

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RFL Training Plan: Diversify & Include

Have you noticed a lack of diversity within your campus Relay? 

While unintentional, if you look through your lists of past and present participants, you might notice that certain populations are very well represented while others are not at all. Notice who comes to Relay and more importantly, who does not. 

Read More

RFL Training Plan: "Thank you, and"

Treating donors like customers has proven to be a successful way to ensure that donors and volunteers come back for another great experience. By ensuring that we say “thank you,” we make sure our customers feel appreciated. Recognition is a hugely important aspect in leadership, and feeling appreciated for your work is invaluable. Special ways of saying “thank you” can include social media spotlights, handwritten notes, or even just individual emails or text messages. Taking the time out of your day to thank someone else, whether it be long enough to shoot a text, to create a unique social media graphic, or to say “thank you” in person, can mean a lot to our customers.

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