ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Relay For Life Fundraising Ideas

Updated on October 27, 2020

Fight Back Against Cancer In Your Community With These Relay For Life Fundraising Ideas

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a community based fundraiser that happens in neighborhoods across the globe. If you're reading this page, you probably already have an idea about the Relay experience. You've signed up your team, gathered your friends and family to help, now comes the hard part - raising money! This lens will give you tips about how to raise money for your Relay For Life team. Remember, every dollar you raise goes directly to American Cancer Society programs, so get going early with these fundraising ideas!

Why We Relay for Life: Your Personal Story is Most Important

The most important thing to remember when fundraising is to share your personal story! That's what will compel people to donate to your cause.

My family started Relaying the year after my grandmother died of cancer. We didn't know much about Relay, but we had heard there was a cancer-fighting event in our hometown, so we went to the park the night it was being held and checked it out. It was such a fun, uplifting, hopeful event, and we decided that we would form a team and participate next year. Our first year, we didn't know what to expect, but we ended up being one of the top fundraising teams for our Relay!

What's your personal story? Sharing your motivation when you ask for donations is key, so decide what you might share.

Let's raise some money to fight cancer! - Set a goal!

Having a goal will help motivate you in your fundraising efforts. I recommend having both an individual goal for your own fundraising as well as a team goal for your entire team. A little bit of friendly competition between team members can help spur on fundraising and donations!

What is your personal fundraising goal?

See results

1. Use the American Cancer Society's online fundraising resources.

Click your way to cash!

After you sign up for Relay For Life, your community Relay organizers will probably tell you about the online fundraising website for your team.

Once you locate your page, fill out your profile. You can put up a photo of yourself, your team, or the person who you are Relaying in honor of. You should also fill out the box where it asks why you are Relaying, and explain your reasons for getting involved. The more of your personal story you can tell, the more engaged the readers will be, and the more likely they are to donate.

After your profile is complete, you can write a note, and email it to your friends and family through the website. Follow the easy to understand directions, and send the link out to everyone in your email address book. Be sure to follow up in several weeks.

If you use social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post the link there and encourage your contacts to donate!

Don't forget to download the ACS app to fundraise from your phone!

2. Write a letter to your family and friends.

Many people find it hard to ask for money. BUT, did you know that a direct ask by someone you know is one of the most effective ways to raise money? So put aside any shyness and get started on a letter to your family and friends.

Your letter should have some basic components -

- Opening paragraph explaining that you are participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, when and where, and a brief explanation of what Relay For Life is

-Middle paragraph about your personal motivation and reasons for Relaying. For example, you might explain that losing a relative or friend made you want to do something to help find a cure. Make this paragraph personal.

- Last paragraph that asks for a donation. Be sure to include where people should send their donation (mailing address for checks, your online profile's website for online donations).

Be sure to thank your donors after the Relay and give them a total of your fundraising!

Of course, you will probably find email letters the easiest, but don't discount the joy of finding a written letter in the mailbox!

3. Guess how many Jellybeans!

This fundraiser is best suited to teams associated with workplaces or schools. Find a large glass jar, and fill it with jellybeans. (May I suggest the Relay colors of Purple and White, or your team's colors?) Sell tickets for a chance to guess how many jellybeans are in the jar. The week of Relay, count the tickets and award the winner with the jar of jellybeans!

4. Sell food!

We all need to eat, so food sales are always a hit. Charge a small admission fee or cost per item, and put the money towards your fundraising goal. For extra profit, shop at warehouse clubs like Costco or get some food items donated by local restaurants.

These can take a lot of different forms, for example -

pancake breakfast a church

pizza night at the community center

dinner party at your home

bake sale in the cafeteria

BBQ in your yard

5. Clean cars for a cure!

The car wash is one of the oldest and most effective fundraising ideas and has been used for decades. Gather a group of people, preferably energetic pre-teens or teenagers, some water, cleaning supplies, hoses and put them in a parking lot. Be sure to put up signs advertising the car wash around the neighborhood, and don't forget to tell your family and friends!

6. Grocery Store Days

For this fundraiser, you'll need to partner with your local grocery store. Stores will assign your group certain days where if you bring in a coupon, the store will donate a percentage of your grocery bill to the team. Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods are two chains who do this in the Midwest, so check with your local area.

7.Yard Sale / Garage Sale

Here's a way to clean out your closets and clear out your basement while raising money for the American Cancer Society at the same time! Choose a day or days and time, make sure you have enough tables to put things out on, advertise in your local newspaper, and start making sales! Tell your customers that all of your profit will be going to your Relay For Life team, and maybe they'll let you "keep the change"!

8. Casino Night / Bingo Night

Who doesn't love a good game of chance? You can do this fundraiser big (get your church to let you use their hall for Bingo night) or small (ask your regular poker game buddies to donate their winnings). Entertainment, fun, and money for the team!

9. Bowl for a cure!

There's a few ways you can do a "bowl for a cure" fundraiser. The first is to work with your local bowling alley on setting up a "candlelight bowling event", where you sell tickets for an evening of bowling, snacks and drinks for a set amount, and the profit goes to your team. The second is to simply invite friends and family to a bowling alley on a weekend afternoon and ask them to give you a certain amount of money for each pin you knock over in a game!

10. Raffle, raffle, raffle!

Raffles are also a tried and true fundraising method. All you need is a roll of raffle tickets and some prizes. Prizes can be anything people would want to have. Large prizes can be donated by local businesses, such as a television, hotel stay, or theatre tickets. Smaller prizes can be handmade, such as baskets of food, quilts, or gift certificates for services like manicures or car washes.

11. Dress down for the cure!

This fundraiser works best when your school or business is involved in Relay. The principal or boss gives permission for a "denim day" to all students or employees who donate money to Relay. If your school or workplace is large, you can raise a lot of money!

Why not make it even more interesting - come up with a theme! Teachers wear jeans with crazy patches, students wear their favorite historical figure's costume, employees dress as they did in the 80s, or anything else you can think of!

12. Chili Cook Off For A Cure

Few dishes inspire such pride as chili - and chili cook-off contests are always a lot of fun! Ask contestants to donate $25 as their entry fee, and have your audience tasters donate $5 entry. Be sure to provide a prize for the ultimate chili chef! Mmmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

13. Cigarette Vending Machine Demolition

This is a symbolic and fun way to raise funds! Search for an old cigarette vending machine - try eBay or bars in towns that recently went smoke-free. Charge people $1 to take a swing at it with a bat! (Be sure to use safety goggles and other precautions.)

14. Easter Egg Hunt

Most Relays happen in the summer, so fundraisers that tie into the springtime are a great way to kick off your team's funds. Organize an Easter Egg Hunt in a local park, or even in your own backyard. Charge a few dollars for each child who participates. For extra cash, you can sell coffee to mom and dad!

15. Flower sale!

Who doesn't love getting flowers? This fundraiser can work for all the holidays (Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day, Mother's Day) or just any old day you want to show someone you care. Purchase flowers in bulk (Costco often has bargains) and divide them into small bouquets. Sell them at your school, workplace or religious institution, and put the money towards your team's goal!

16. Ice Scream For A Cure!

Those hot summer days call for a cool treat, and even better if it helps raise money for a cancer cure! Work with a local ice cream parlor to rent the shop for a day, or buy ice cream bars in bulk and sell them at the park or beach. Delicious!

17. Karaoke Against Cancer

Organize your stage-loving friends for a karaoke outing at a friendly bar, or hold a karaoke party in your home. Charge a dollar for every song that is sung, and award a prize to the winner at the end of the night!

18. Movie Night

Invite your friends and family over for a special movie night. Provide popcorn and candy, set up a DVD in your living room, and sell "tickets" to the show!

19. House Party

Open your home to your friends and family for a house party! Provide some snacks, explain what Relay is and why you are participating, and pass around a donation bucket. You may even be able to get a short video from your Relay organizer to show. You can have any kind of party - dinner, drinks, dancing, discussion... whatever floats your fancy!

20. Massage For A Cure

Find a massage therapist willing to donate part of his or her profit to your team, and arrange for them to come to your workplace, school, or another location and do short fifteen minute chair massages. That's a feel good fundraiser!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)