How to Make Your Relay For Life a Success

Since Phi Theta Kappa began its partnership with the American Cancer Society 15 years ago, more than $3.8 million has been raised through chapter participation in Relay For Life events.

The Beta Kappa Chi Chapter at Cerro Coso College in California has only been participating in Relay For Life events for two years, but they’ve learned a lot about fundraising and engaging chapter members. Chapter officers led an educational forum on this topic at PTK Catalyst 2017 — here are a few of their tips.

Start Early

“We really wanted to commit to create change, and we wanted to actively participate in an event that was reputable and successful,” said chapter co-president Gloria Middleton. “Relay For Life is all of that and more.”

While engaging with others working on Relay For Life, she and the other chapter members were inspired to contribute to the fight against cancer — especially when they learned that the amount of money they raised would allow one additional patient to participate in an experimental study that year.

Gloria advises chapters who want to participate to get an early start.

“March is the time they reset the calendar year and the website,” she said. “So plan ahead and start fundraising now!”

Think Big

Jenna Daugherty, the chapter’s services and fellowship officer, encourages groups not to stop at the chapter level, but to involve the entire campus in their Relay efforts.

“Our chapter was very successful because our entire school supported us through donating, walking at the actual event, and helping to spread the word,” she said. “It was incredible to see how the many faculty members, student organizations, and students came together to make our Relay team such a success.”

Jenna added that communication is also key, including the use of Facebook posts, emails, and collaboration with the college’s public relations office.

Reach Out

“Our chapter wanted to amplify our efforts by doing some pre-Relay fundraising as well as activities at the event itself,” added co-president Alejandro Tellez. “The college has an added incentive to participate in the event because it sends a positive message to the community, one that encourages many walks of life to unite and help support a good cause.”

Alejandro recommends that chapters reach out to everyone for help, including local businesses.

“You’d be surprised how many businesses are willing to contribute to your cause,” he said. “The more you can get businesses to participate in any small way (donating food, paper plates, etc.), the less money the chapter has to spend in gathering resources for fundraising.

“This helps the chapter focus more on executing a successful fundraiser.”

Alejandro also suggested that chapters can get members and fellow students engaged by pointing out that cancer affects everyone, whether first-hand or not.

“This event has a great deal of communal meaning to a large number of people,” he said. “Our town has a lot of survivors and victims of cancer, so the Relay event sheds a bit of light and optimism to those affected by this horrible disease.”

Learn more about Relay For Life and report your chapter’s participation.

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