In the end, all we do for the American Cancer Society revolves around…... MISSION.
As Relayers, everything we do, everything we fight for, everything we believe in, stems from the heart and soul of the American Cancer Society’s mission statement. “Save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer” is the common goal that we’re all working towards.
Every American Cancer Society (ACS) volunteer is directly supporting the mission of the organization, and we should be proud and eager to speak freely about the ways ACS carries out its mission. When your participants understand how their donations are being used, they’re much more likely to fundraise. Familiarize yourself with the graphic below that explains exactly how ACS uses donor dollars:
Our role as ACS volunteers is to be able to integrate mission into everything we do, so that we bring the heart of the organization to the forefront of our participants’ mind. Mission can range from several different concepts that we may not recognize as mission at first. Because mission is so versatile, there are many ways we can think of mission and incorporate it into our Relay endeavors throughout the year. Here, I'll give ideas on ways you can integrate mission more on your campuses so that you can educate your campus about the heart of ACS.
- Mission Moments: at your committee meetings, kick things off by reminding your board/committee what ACS is all about. This can be done in several different ways. One easy way is to share cancer statistics pertaining to the cancer of the month, or sharing anything relevant happening in the cancer world such as breakthroughs in research or new facts. This information can be found on www.cancer.org or on the ACS YouTube channel as well! Another great and extremely personal version of Mission Moments is sharing our own stories with cancer in our lives. Have a committee member start a meeting off by explaining why they Relay and what this organization means to them. Not only is this a tangible and relatable way to understand what Relay means to someone else, but it also induces team bonding and brings Mission to the forefront of the meeting to start with!
- Mission in Canning: A great way to integrate mission into canning is by using facts and statistics in a unique and clever way. One way is to wear neck signs that you make yourself to promote statistics. One could read “⅓ women and ½ men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Ask me how we can make that 0/3 women and 0/2 men” or another could read “I can't take off this sign until I raise $500, ask me why!” These are attention grabbing signs that'll bring people in to talk to you, which will give you the opportunity to share the mission of ACS and talk about why you Relay! Be sure to go canning wherever you can, be that in front of local businesses, in your dorm building, or anywhere on campus!
- A clever way I've seen a friend fundraise is to can with a guitar! For every $10 raised for ACS, a Road to Recovery ride can be funded! So for every $10 he raised, he'd perform a song! This is a cool way to draw in attention while adding in an aspect of mission, which in this case is Road To Recovery rides! If you aren't as musically talented, see if you can bring a talented friend with you to tag team this approach, having one person perform while the other talks about Relay and ACS’ mission!
- “Why I Relay Wednesday”: While social media can often be seen as distracting for the plethora of memes to be seen online (guilty), it can also be a pretty amazing plug for Relay promotions as well!
- One phenomenal way to promote Relay is to join the “Why I Relay Wednesday” movement! Every Wednesday, you post a picture or status or tweet explaining why you Relay! It can be for a loved one, for more cancer research grants, for a certain statistic (I Relay so that testicular cancer survival rates go from 95% to 100%), for a cancer free future, or literally anything at all! At the end of the post, you use the hashtag #WhyIRelayWednesday, so that nationwide we see a collection of pictures and posts all connected by this hashtag, bringing together the Relay world while promoting mission on social media. This is a great way to share the mission of ACS and your personal story to your social media followers who may not be as familiar with Relay as you are, while having the opportunity to create an international network of Relayers who share their love for this organization!
- Use the Cancer Ed Toolkit to your advantage: The Cancer Ed Toolkit is filled with tons of creative and fun ideas to bring to your campus in order to raise awareness of specific types of cancers! Be sure to check out this month by month guide for a detailed list of mission related ideas to bring to your campus!
- An important distinction between Relay and other cancer fighting events is how the money raised is used in two important ways. Relay dollars invest in a future without cancer by funding research, but they also help cancer patients who are battling right now. Highlight the various programs offered by ACS to support patients and their families: Many participants aren’t aware of the various programs that are offered by the American Cancer Society to support patients and their families. On social media, through committee meetings, and through events and programming, be sure to highlight these important programs so that people learn the mission goes beyond saving lives through research, but also through supporting lives through these programs!
- Road To Recovery:
- 24/7 Cancer Hotline:
- Hope Lodges:
- Look Good Feel Better:
Remember that isn't an end-all-be-all list of things you can do on your campus! This is just to get the gears turning and to provide kickstarting ideas of how to smoothly integrate mission into everything you do on your campuses to really bring the heart and soul of Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society to the forefront of your campaign!
List of online resources