10 Fresh Fundraising Ideas for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to raise awareness and funds for treatment against the leading disease-related killer of children in the US. According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, more than 15,000 kids and teens will face a cancer diagnosis this year, and more than 1,500 will lose their lives to the disease. 




The Importance of Fundraising for Childhood Cancer

Some types of childhood cancer have seen great improvements, but many have not. And most children who survive cancer also suffer from long-term health problems or life-threatening conditions because of the harsh treatment protocols. That’s why we need more research to find better ways to treat and care for children who go through the unimaginable.

And since (1) childhood cancer receives less than 4% of federal cancer research funding, and  (2) a childhood cancer diagnosis is super expensive for the family (sudden medical bills for treatments not always covered by insurance, lost income, travel costs, childcare costs, and other expenses)— 

It’s clear the fundraising that pediatric cancer nonprofits tirelessly do is vital when it comes to filling in the funding gap to help families and progress research for treatments that can save more kids’ lives.

To that end, we've pulled together these innovative and effective childhood cancer fundraising ideas for raising direly needed funds during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September and beyond. 



What are the 10 Fresh Childhood Cancer Fundraising Ideas?

Gold is the color that represents Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Whenever you notice a gold ribbon bumper sticker/magnet, tattoo, or profile picture on social media, for example, you should know that whoever’s displaying the gold ribbon cares deeply about supporting this cause. So, you can expect to see a lot of fresh, golden childhood cancer fundraising ideas—

💡Adding a silent and/or live auction to any of these childhood cancer fundraising ideas is a stellar yet simple way to raise more funds, no matter which path you choose!


Golden Gala

Galas are a fantastic fundraising event option to raise funds during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Not only can you bring in a lot of money through ticket sales and donations, but you can also easily add a silent and live auction to the event to bolster your fundraising impact even more. Here are some of the theme ideas  to consider:

Heart of Gold Gala:

Every supporter who attends surely has a golden heart to match the children's hearts that they help raise funds for. (This theme is also great to host in February as a Valentine’s Day fundraiser if you’re looking for a unique and important fundraising twist on the “holiday of love.”)

    • Decoration ideas: Cocktails made with gold champagne, Goldschläger, or Smirnoff Gold (include heart-shaped ice cubes!); tablecloths with gold heart patterns; gold, heart-shaped balloons; gold streamers; flowers like sunflowers or yellow roses (often associated with childhood cancer awareness month) as centerpieces; gold ribbons for special touches on napkin rings, etc.

Reach for the Stars Gala:

Gold-ribboned children are like stars, and we should make a wish for every one of them to continue burning bright. And when supporters attend your Reach for the Stars gala, they’re backing up their wishes with funds to make them come true.

    • Decoration ideas: Strings of gold, star-shaped lights; gold, star-shaped balloons; star-shaped ice sculpture with gold-leaf flecks throughout; star projector to cast star constellations on the ceiling; telescopes by windows so guests can take moments to stargaze throughout the evening. 

Dream Big Gala:

The message here roars loud and clear through the “funding fog” as guests support families and their children in the dream of a cancer-free future. 

    • Decoration ideas: Dreamcatchers made of golden thread; dream journals as gifts with your nonprofit logo plus the name of the gala on the front; dreamy food like elevated dream bars, pie, and tea.

Walk or Run Fundraising Event

Walk-a-thons and 5ks are super popular fundraising events when it comes to “moving” supporters for childhood cancer awareness. In fact, peer-to-peer fundraising is an all-around excellent event choice  since they directly involve the community, and finding a cure for childhood cancer is a cause most people in most communities feel passionate about.

Check out the different walk or run event ideas for your fundraising event:

Superhero Walk or Run:

Everyone loves superheroes, and kids battling cancer (the most sinister villain of all) especially relate to what it means to embody superhuman strength every day of their lives. Ask supporters to dress up as their favorite heroes for the race and give out prizes in categories like “Best Dressed” and “Fastest Hero.”

💡Encourage participants to raise money for their teams by saying on social media (along with a link to their donation fundraising webpage, “Whoever donates the most by [X Date] will get to choose my costume/character for the day of the race!” 

Color Run:

Color runs have gained popularity over the years because they’re versatile, inclusive, and so much fun! What sets color runs apart from traditional races are the volunteers stationed around the route or course who throw clouds of highly pigmented colored powder as participants run past. Who wouldn’t love running or walking in billowy clouds of gold, after all?

Race Back to the ‘80s:

With an ‘80s-themed race, you guarantee that participants will have a blast dressing up in all their neon, mullet-rocking, scrunchy-wearing glory, but at the same time, you can use the bright, high-energy theme to bring awareness to the fact that most childhood cancer treatments haven’t progressed much since the 1980s due to the lack of federal funding for life-saving research. This race theme works on multiple levels for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! 


Charity Golf Tournament

What can make a day on the green even better? Golfing for a worthy cause like childhood cancer awareness! 

Planning a successful golf tournament fundraiser has a lot of moving pieces, so you want to give your team plenty of time to get everything in place. And when done well, you have an opportunity to bring in a huge amount of funds through registration/ticket sales (for both the tournament and the post-event festivities), sponsorships, day-of competitions on the green, and more. It’s no wonder why many nonprofits raising funds for childhood cancer have an annual golf tournament in their yearly fundraising event repertoire! 

Event tips:

  • Offer special discounts to players who sign up as a foursome and offer discount packages that include the price of the post-tournament award ceremony, dinner, and auction tickets.

  • Get creative with sponsorship possibilities and entice businesses with the chance to put their logos on: the event webpage; golf balls and pin flags; signage around the course; banners at the check-in counter, auction table, refreshment stands, and award ceremony stage; swag like on the back of t-shirts, towels, pens, keychains, and drink tumblers; throughout social media posts; pamphlets, course maps, score cards, and other printed materials. 

  • Include additional mini activities and competitions that players pay to enter and win special gifts: Hole in One Contest, Longest Drive Contest, Pay for a Mulligan, Gimmies, Putting Contest, and 3 (of 5) Card Poker. 

👀 Sneak peek at one—of many—fantastic tips from Dan McGuane (a lead organizer for the annual golf tournament that raises hundreds of thousands of funds for the For Kids’ Sake Foundation): Schedule your charity golf tournament on a weekday. People tend not to want to use their weekends but are more than excited to have a great excuse to take a day off to play golf at a great event for an even greater cause.


Grab this free peer-to-peer event-planning template!


Tournament-Style Fundraising Event

Everyone loves a little friendly competition, and when all the entry fees go toward childhood cancer research, every participant is a winner. Tournament fundraising events are easily family-friendly and provide an opportunity for kids to participate and learn how they, too, can enact positive change for their peers who need more funds to beat cancer. Also, tournament fundraisers are incredibly versatile and don’t have to cost too much—anything’s possible, from a cornhole competition in someone’s backyard to a community-wide battle of the bands at an elementary school gymnasium.

To make this style of fundraising event even more successful, it’s best to set up different age brackets and award prizes for winners of each one.

Also, consider creating “jerseys” for individuals or teams to purchase with registration. Online apparel printing companies, like the Global Sourcing Group, are fantastic for not only saving money but also helping you raise more through registration. Plus, these uniforms are a great memento for supporters to wear for years to come. 

💡It’s easy to make any tournament-style fundraising event into a peer-to-peer event by encouraging individuals and teams to raise money leading up to the tournament on your nonprofit’s behalf. 

Event Ideas:

Goals for Gold:

All you need for a successful soccer (football) penalty-kick shootout fundraiser is a goalie net. As one of the most popular sports for kids, this event will have families with kids of all ages psyched about participating and showing off their foot skills. 

💡If your community is less into soccer but more into basketball, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, or football, it’s easy to adhere this premise to any sport that revs up your city or town!

Golden Gaming Extravaganza:

Weather is unpredictable and can put a damper on even the most well-planned outdoor fundraising event for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Fortunately, adults and kids alike love video games and are always down to take part in friendly competition indoors, where weather isn’t a fundraising issue. Reserving rooms, television sets, and gaming systems at a local school or library can provide optimum space for all the supporters who will jump on the chance to take part in a video game tournament. 

💡 Depending on how many age groups and skill-level brackets you choose to include, consider reaching out to your donor base through social media or your current donor management system to ask supporters for “temporary” in-kind donations of the video game system and copies of the video games you choose to use for the tournament so you have enough of everything you need for the number of participants on golden game day.

Community Talent Show:

Everyone has a hidden talent, and what better way to show them off than raising money for childhood cancer research on stage in front of the community? Community theaters and parks are ideal locations for this event that uncovers amazing feats in honor of saving kids’ lives. There’s a lot of flexibility here when it comes to creating talent categories (Best Dance Routines, Singing, and Pet Trainer, for example), awarding winners in each category, and even deciding on an ultimate Best in Show out of all categories. 

💡 Since talent is usually a matter of opinion, who better to invite as judges than local childhood cancer patients and survivors?


Check out these 150+ unique community fundraising ideas!


Examples of Successful Childhood Cancer Awareness

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One Mission receives continuous support for Buzz Off for Kids with Cancer program, where people raise money to shave their heads on the organization’s behalf:

  • $14.6 million raised since 2010
  • 36 thousand families and patients helped

*Proceeds from Buzz Off for Kids with Cancer fundraising go to supporting many of One Mission’s other programs, all centered on bringing “joy, hope, comfort, and support to patients and their families.”

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For Kids’ Sake beat their fundraising record during their 13th Annual 5k/10k Race to Crush Childhood Cancer this year: 

  • 144% above fundraising goal
  • $122 thousand raised  in net revenue   for research and families in need

*Proceeds For Kids’ Sake raises go directly to cutting-edge life-saving pediatric cancer research as well as families struggling with a recent diagnosis. 

Learn more about For Kids’ Sake’s fundraising from this on-demand chat with its cofounder, Megan Jusczyk— 


Watch the Goodbye "Ask" Shyness Discussion Here!


How to Take Fundraising Efforts During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (and Beyond) to the Next Level with FrontStream

As the aunt of a beautiful, kind, whip-smart niece who died of relapsed neuroblastoma cancer right before her 15th birthday this summer, it’s an understatement for me to say that fundraising for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is incredibly important to families with kids who are battling cancer now, have battled cancer in the past, and will, unfortunately, start their battles tonight, tomorrow...next week, and beyond. 

I am so honored to work for a digital fundraising company that helps all sorts of causes—especially those centered on pediatric cancer awareness—engage donors and raise more funds. FrontStream’s mission is your mission in this endeavor, and we only succeed when you succeed. 

If you’re interested in learning about how our all-in-one fundraising and donor management solution can help you raise more money this September—and every day of every month until we find cures for all childhood cancers—don’t hesitate to reach out to our fundraising experts anytime.


Schedule a demo with an expert today!


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