Oklahoma University Relay For Life event raises over $54,000 in one day

Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a big opportunity for Relay For Life events nationwide to capitalize on a national focus on philanthropy. The University of Oklahoma did just that, and raised over $54,000 on Giving Tuesday. According to the OU Event Leadership and their American Cancer Society Staff Partner, they were able to raise so much by planning ahead and focusing in on relationships and relevance in fundraising to drive revenue on Giving Tuesday.

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Planning ahead and engaging the entire event leadership structure at OU Relay For Life was major component of their success. Taking part in fundraising on Giving Tuesday wasn’t a last minute push or a minor focus for the event. The Relay For Life at OU laid the foundation for Giving Tuesday weeks in advance and worked with committee members to set personal and team Giving Tuesday fundraising goals. The University of Oklahoma’s ACS Staff Partner Sam Detrick said that the most important part of setting these goals was the shared sense of purpose - the mission of the American Cancer Society. Sam said about the ELT, “They raise the money because they know what it is going for.”

One of the two most popular - and successful - fundraisers for OU Relay For Life on Giving Tuesday was partnering with fraternities and sororities to fundraise for Relay For Life. The OU Event Leadership worked with the Team Captains of the fraternity and sorority teams to encourage competition between the teams, causing a snowball effect: once one team got on board, even more were interested in competing. One of the main strategies used by these Greek Life teams was phone (or text) banking, calling and texting their family and friends to ask for donations, all the way up until midnight on Giving Tuesday.

This partnership was made even stronger when many of the fraternities’ and sororities’ local leadership chose to match the fundraising efforts of the participants from their organization. These matching donations alone made up $19,000 of OU Relay For Life’s impressive Giving Tuesday total.

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On Giving Tuesday, the the second of the two most successful fundraising tactics was a “Box Challenge” fundraiser on social media. This fundraiser, posted most often on an Instagram story, Snapchat story, or on Facebook, encourages social media connections to donate to Relay For Life. When doing this Box Challenge fundraiser, Relayers post this image to their social media along with their Relay For Life fundraising link, encouraging their network to “buy a box” by donating the amount within the box. Participants would then re-post the graphic with the donor’s picture or name over that box to indicate it had been “sold” and for donor recognition.


The participants and teams at OU Relay For Life had a growing sense of competition throughout Giving Tuesday to become the number one fundraiser supporting the mission of the American Cancer Society on Giving Tuesday. Furthermore, the OU Relay For Life Event Leadership Team found a way to make the Giving Tuesday fundraising even more competitive: with a prize of AirPod headphones for the top Giving Tuesday fundraiser and a raffle for 4 Oklahoma City Thunder tickets for all participants who raised over $100 on Giving Tuesday.

Fundraising Ideas: Basketball Challenge

KSU Knock Out Cancer

Relay For Life of Kansas State University started off the year with a major setback, but with amazing leadership and great ingenuity they still made a big impact. Relay For Life of K-State was combined with the Riley County Relay. Relay For Life of K-State wanted to host an event on campus to garnish support and help raise awareness for the event, so they created Knock Out Cancer, a knockout basketball tournament. To play, everyone had to register online through a website called crowdrise.com.

The event did an amazing job of incentivizing people to join the tournament with multiple give away contests and tabling events.

At the event there was a lot of food and a wide variety of prizes donated to the event from local vendors for participants to enjoy. In the end, the event raised close to $2,400 and brought a new way to fight against cancer to their campus. This event is a great idea for a fall fundraiser to engage your campus early in the year!

If this event sounds interesting to you, please contact Karen Rubenstein ACS Youth Ninja. for more information or resources. Also check out the ACS Play Basketball webpage.

Relay For Life Global Celebration

Have you heard the news? The American Cancer Society is hosting a Relay For Life Global Celebration at the Mall of America on August 19th and 20th and YOU are invited to participate! 

If you are able to join in person, there will be many activities both Friday and Saturday afternoon including guest performers and art installations. If you aren't able to travel to Minneapolis for the celebration, we invite you to tune in to the live telecast on August 19th at 8pm EST. Details on how to join  the telecast can be found here.

At the event, there will be a three story art installation composed of stars from Relay participants across the globe. You can dedicate a star to someone who has fought or is battling cancer by following the link above. 

Not only is this a celebration of the progress we have made in the fight against cancer, but it is also a call to action to continue the fight. We hope you join us in this global kickoff for the 2017 Relay For Life season!