Organising an event to raise awareness of breast cancer is hugely rewarding. It’s an opportunity to educate, raise vital funds, and celebrate the lives of people affected by breast cancer. We’ve created this in-depth guide to help you with your event preparations. From planning suggestions to marketing tips, we’ll show you how to host a breast cancer awareness event that everyone will remember.

What is the aim of breast cancer awareness?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and although rare, men get breast cancer too. The good news is that the earlier it’s diagnosed, the better the chance of survival. Checking breasts, knowing what to look for, and attending regular screening services is the best way to ensure problems are detected early.

How can we raise money for breast cancer awareness?

Promoting breast cancer awareness requires money and an event is a great way to fundraise. Maybe you’re thinking of an outdoor event, like a fun run or sponsored walk, or a community-based initiative like a bake-off or dinner and auction. Or why not host a karaoke night or talent contest and ask a local celebrity to act as a guest judge? The sky’s your limit. Promoting your event, recruiting local businesses, and getting creative will help make your event a sell-out success.

How to plan a breast cancer awareness event in 10 steps

Planning a successful breast cancer awareness event is easier when you follow an effective strategy. We want to show you how to promote breast cancer awareness in a way your audience will find positive and uplifting. These tips will help you get on track.

1. Identify the goal of your breast cancer awareness event

Clarifying what you want to achieve will help you decide your approach. To raise money, you’ll want to encourage people to donate or buy tickets. If your goal is raising awareness of breast cancer signs and symptoms, focus on education and improving uptake rates of breast screening services. Do you want an event that promotes a healthier lifestyle, honours people affected by breast cancer, or gives people an opportunity to reflect and remember?

2. Choose a type of event

As long as you’re sensitive to your guests’ needs and align your event with your overall goal, the number of ways to promote breast cancer awareness is almost endless. Think a sponsored abseil, art exhibition, car boot sale, coffee morning, clothes sale, golf day, treasure hunt, race night, or Zumbathon – there’s a stand-out event to suit every budget and potential audience.

3. Will it be open or closed?

Your event can be open or closed. An open event doesn’t require an invitation, and anyone’s eligible to attend. It lets you raise money by selling tickets or charging an admission fee. Examples could be concerts, festivals, conventions, live performances, networking events, or award ceremonies. A closed event is not open to the public. Maybe your event is in a business or corporate setting, college, or institution. Decide whether an open or closed event helps you achieve your primary objectives. Then you can think about your budget and venue.

4. Set your budget

Set your budget before you plan your event – and be realistic. Determine essential costs and look for ways to stretch your resources, like partnering with local businesses or recruiting volunteers. Many charities can help with promotional materials or marketing. Once venues know the purpose of your event, they may offer a discounted hire cost or reductions on refreshments, entertainment, or merchandise.

5. Plan the time and venue

The timing and venue of your event will affect who can attend. Weekends work well for most audiences, but don’t hold your event too late if you want to attract families with children. Similarly, hosting an event on licenced premises excludes younger audiences and certain cultural groups. Don’t forget the venue should be fully accessible and easy to reach on public transport. Clashing with other events or holidays might be a problem, too, so check to see what else is happening locally. Hosting an event in October as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great way to tap into a nationwide movement.

6. Check permissions

Check the permits and permissions you need and make sure your insurance is fully inclusive. If there’s music, you need to check copyright, royalties, and performance rights, and you may need a permit for excess noise. If you need to erect tents, scaffolding, or podiums, contact your local authority. There are also permit requirements for serving food and alcohol, holding a raffle or lottery, or letting off fireworks. And if you’re organising a sponsored run, walk, or outside event, you’ll need permits for road closures, obstructions, and access. Health and safety is a crucial aspect of your event, so make sure everything is in order.

7. Consider sponsorship

Sponsorship can give you the resources you need to run effective, positive breast cancer awareness promotions. But it’s crucial to choose the right sponsors. A tobacco manufacturer, alcohol business, or fast-food company would be misaligned, while a bra manufacturer, organic food supplier, or pharmacy would be perfect. The benefits are mutually beneficial if the company’s goals align with your event’s objectives. Having a sponsor means you can enhance the audience experience with freebies or special guests and potentially raise more money.

8. Decide how to collect donations

Making donations needs to be easy. It could involve dropping money in a closed bucket, clicking a button on your website, or following a link to a Just Giving page. Decide what suits your audience and, wherever possible, use all the options at your disposal. Millennials are a new generation of givers who jump at the chance to make a difference. Their enthusiasm for social fundraising means they are likely to donate to events advocated by their friends. You can even encourage people to form fundraising teams. The competitive element of groups motivates people to raise more money.

9. Recruit volunteers

Your events might need volunteers to help everything run smoothly. Unless you have a large budget, or help from sponsors, paying staff can leave a big hole in your budget. Think about all the areas you need help with and don’t forget issues like setting up, registration and ushers, selling merchandise, and cleaning up. Your list of attendees, the local community, and your social media contacts are good places to start recruiting. Ensure you provide suitable training and follow all the rules for employing volunteers.

10. Include the community

How can we promote breast cancer awareness at a community level? Partner with local businesses and groups. Think about what you need. Do you need auction donations or lottery prizes? Or goody bags containing health education and cancer awareness information. Perhaps a local hairdresser, beauty salon, or gym could offer its services. You want your event to be as inclusive as possible. Including prominent community members will help promote your event to your whole community.

How to market a breast cancer awareness event

Effective marketing extends your reach and helps ensure your event is more successful. The more attendees you attract, the better the chance that your event will make a difference. Luckily, there are different channels you can use to get your message out there.

Promote your awareness event on social media

Build anticipation of your event using social media. Most platforms are free, and focusing on your goals helps get the right messages to the right people. Identifying your target audience means you can think about the social media platforms they use.

Find the right platform

Facebook allows you to create event pages and integrate with Eventbrite to promote your event and sell tickets. It has a wide reach and access to a broad cross-section of users. Meanwhile, Twitter builds a buzz, and an event hashtag makes it easy to keep followers up to date. To attract younger attendees, use Snapchat or Instagram, and reach professionals on LinkedIn.

Update your social profile pages

Your social profile page needs to be eye-catching. Use bold headings, images, and photos that are linked to your event. Keep your bio clear and concise, and only include the essential details. Use your event hashtag, and make it easy for people to buy tickets by linking to your website or Eventbrite page. Did you know that using keywords puts your event page higher up in search engine results?

Create the right content

To make your posts count, you need people to like, repost, and tag them. Videos work well, as do eye-catching illustrations and photos. Sharing photos of people living with breast cancer gives a more personal angle.

Use online tools

Social media management tools help you plan, organise, and schedule your event. They’re excellent for measuring social media activity and let you review engagement rates. Your Eventbrite event report shows how many sales are driven by each social media channel.

Encourage your online community to share

You need allies to help you get the word out about your event. This is where your online community comes in. Each time they promote or like your event, you gain access to more potential attendees. Just be sure to ask them to use your hashtag when posting about your event.

Partnering with local influencers is mutually beneficial too. They gain content for their social media posts, and you get access to their followers. These can be people who have recovered from breast cancer, people living with breast cancer, or others whose lives have been personally affected by breast cancer. The health community can help as well. Many influencers are keen to raise awareness of breast cancer detection and prevention.

Use local marketing

Local marketing strategies are perfect for charity and fundraising events because they provide a personal touch. To get people to attend your event, you need to make them feel connected – an in-person promotion or personal invitation works wonders.

Flyers and posters are a cost-effective way of advertising your event and are easy to distribute. Local businesses, community centres, and venues will be happy to help. Materials need to stand out and have a strong call to action. Make sure they’re accessible and engaging for the people you’re looking to attract, and use language that feels personal rather than corporate. Think about where local people hear about events and choose the best medium to engage with all the different sectors of your local community. Remember: breast cancer can affect anyone.

Contact local media

Local and community newspapers are a tried-and-tested way to advertise local events. A breast cancer awareness event is usually a cause that local journalists will be eager to promote. Include stories about why you’ve organised your event and how people’s lives have been affected by breast cancer.

Not everyone accesses information digitally. And local media gets you into the heart of the community. Consider reaching out to local newspapers, radio, newsletters, community publications, hospital radios, podcasts, and TV stations. Check how much it costs to advertise your event – it may be more expensive than online ads, but there are usually different rates you can go for depending on your budget.

Hosting a breast cancer awareness event

Stick to your event schedule

Your event schedule means things happen on time. Everyone is clear about where they need to be at the right time. But one thing COVID-19 has taught us is that plans can change. That’s why you need a plan B and maybe even a plan C. If the weather turns, can you move things indoors? If some people can’t attend your event in person, can they join virtually? Try to have an event schedule that has a degree of flexibility.

Follow through on your goal

Tracking goals such as the number of attendees, amount of money raised, or information provided enables you to measure success – invaluable when reporting back to sponsors or local partners. Metrics matter when you’re planning future events.

If you want to raise money, clarify how you’ll deliver the funds. All beneficiaries need to be kept informed. If your plan was to educate, record the number of visitors and how much information was shared. Perhaps your goal is to engage people by volunteering their time or money. In that case, monitor how many signed up to help or made donations.

Thank your attendees and volunteers

People will have given their time and effort to make your event successful. Don’t forget to show your appreciation by thanking attendees, volunteers, members of the local community, and anyone else who has helped. Breast cancer awareness events can be emotional occasions, and your gratitude will make people feel valued. Consider offering a small gift or keepsake, and ask sponsors or local businesses for donations. An appreciated volunteer is more likely to offer their help again.

How can we promote breast cancer awareness positively?

A positive approach to breast cancer awareness shows support for people affected and is the best way to make people receptive to your health education messages. Examples include:

Helping people contribute to their health and wellbeing – for instance, arranging an exercise session run by a local instructor, a breast exam demonstration by a practice nurse, delivering information on the national breast screening service, or advice on nutrition, or safe alcohol limits.

Using creative ways to raise awareness – how about a bra-decorating exhibition, a pink fashion show, or a meet-and-greet session with people who have survived breast cancer?

Making events fun but meaningful – a fun event provides an opportunity for some much-needed release. Just don’t forget to keep it respectful and be sensitive. Include elements that allow people to remember those lost to breast cancer, such as writing their names on postcards, lighting candles, or posting their pictures on a virtual memory wall.

What else can we do for cancer awareness?

There are also ways to raise awareness about breast cancer outside of your event. These include:

  • Using social channels to promote awareness, not just when hosting an event
  • Sharing stories of loved ones and survivors
  • Wearing a pink ribbon year-round
  • Partnering with local charities and health education organisations for future events
  • Promoting breast cancer charities in marketing materials
  • Volunteering at other events
  • Committing to organising regular fundraisers

How do you honour breast cancer survivors?

Breast cancer is a prevalent disease, and receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is devastating. Thankfully, with improved detection and treatment options, more people are surviving. That’s something to celebrate.

It’s important to consult with breast cancer survivors and ask them directly what they would like before you tailor any event. This way, you can plan toward their preferences. For example, providing access to free massages or pamper sessions for those who ask for it is a nice touch. You may also want to put on a firework display to celebrate how far they’ve come if they’re comfortable with that.

Survivors may want to share their personal stories to help others. As well as posting online, a video or photo booth at your event could capture those emotions. A noticeboard where people can pin messages of support and stories of loved ones is another way to honour your special guests.

Promote breast cancer awareness

Promoting breast cancer awareness is an opportunity for you to raise money for valuable research and services, and help educate people about the importance of early detection. And once you know how to plan a breast cancer awareness event, you can then focus on adding your own special touches and create an event that makes a difference.

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