How to Plan a Benefit for a Cancer Patient


The financial stress that comes with a cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause depression and anxiety in the patient. From missing work to hospital bills to travel expenses associated with treatment, costs add up quickly and create monetary challenges for the patient and his family. Hosting a benefit can get the community involved in helping the patient and can provide a boost of fun and moral support for the patient and his or her family.

  • Gather a small group of people to help plan the event. With your group, decide what kind of benefit to host and who should be the chairperson. Common ideas include silent auctions, spaghetti dinners or bowling parties. Pick something fun and uplifting for the cancer patient, and a fundraiser that will involve the whole community.

  • Find a location and pick a date for the benefit. Give yourself at least a month for planning the event. Some places, like churches, schools and fire departments, will donate their facilities for free, and often have tables and chairs. If needed, rent a banquet hall or bowling alley for the benefit, but make sure the managers know that your event is a charity fundraiser.

  • Decide on admission prices for the event, after you have estimated your costs. Some benefits simply ask participants for a donation at the door, but others charge a set price.

  • Contact local media about the fundraiser. Many newspapers have local event listings for free, and some media outlets may be interested in writing a story about your friend and the benefit. Also, hang signs throughout your community in restaurants, grocery stores, churches and schools. This publicity will attract participants and possibly donors for the event.

  • Contact area businesses for donations. Choose a member of your planning committee who is comfortable with public speaking for this task. Outline why you are having a benefit, who the recipient is and what you would like the business to donate. Things to consider asking for include food and beverages, prizes for a silent auction or raffle and decorations.

  • Purchase or collect decorations, food and drinks the day before the event. Make sure you have plenty of napkins, plates, cups and silverware if you are serving food. If possible, decorate your facility the day before to reduce stress the day of the benefit. If you are having a silent auction, present items in an appealing manner where participants can see them throughout the event.

  • Gather donations during your event and collect contact information from donors. This way you can send "Thank You" notes after the fact to show your appreciation for their help. Present the donations or an estimate of the total to the cancer patient during the event, if possible. This will make everyone feel involved in your success.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact people who have hosted successful fundraisers in your specific community for tips and advice.
  • A 50-50 raffle is a good way to raise extra money during the benefit. People purchase raffle tickets and the winner of the raffle gets 50 percent of the proceeds.
  • Check your state laws to ensure you do not need to fill out any tax forms before collecting donations.


  • Photo Credit Donations image by Rebs O from
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