How To Turn Your Passion Into a Successful Fundraiser

“This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society; however, all thoughts and opinions are

my own.”


I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some shape or form.

Growing up as the child of immigrants without a lot of family around, my parents’ friends were

my “aunties” and “uncles.” Most of them were also Nigerians like ourselves, but then there was

Auntie Erika. She was a vibrant African-American woman who had become entrenched in our

culture through her friendships. I knew her as the auntie with the booming laugh who also took

care of my hair. From braids to curls to weaves and more, she did it all. Throughout my

childhood and into high school the fun-loving and loyal Auntie Erika was a constant positive

figure in my life. She was family. She even went to Nigeria and stayed with my cousins, bridging

the gap between America and the motherland for herself.

I moved to Washington, DC to attend Howard University around the time Auntie Erika and her

new Nigerian husband moved to a neighboring city. Campus life consumed me, so I only went


to see her once to get my hair done (of course). She was just as boisterous and caring as she

had been my whole life, encouraging me to have fun and to come to visit her again. Sadly, I

didn’t get the chance. I saw Auntie Erika a couple more times, on my campus, where she

privately saw medical professionals. I didn’t know why and she didn’t explain. She’d ask me

about school and then shush me away when I inquired about her life. Not much longer, my

mom informed me that Auntie Erika had been battling with cancer...and her fight to live was


I can’t bring Auntie Erika back or any other loved ones who have been taken away by cancer,

but one thing we can all do is find ways to contribute to finding a cure. We don’t have to be

powerless. In fact, when you pair your passion with a purpose to help others you can make an

immense impact. Fundraising is a way to join the fight in #AttackingCancer is an empowering

way of honoring our loved ones and other afflicted by this disease.

The American Cancer Society is a non-profit organization that has national reach, dedicated to

saving and celebrating lives while eliminating cancer. Their fundraising platform, Raise Your

Way, gives you an opportunity to turn anything from a 5k race to a brunch into a method for

giving back. My passion for people, active social life, and career as a host make me lean

towards events where people can donate while connecting with each other. I am all about

bringing people together over food and wine or an interactive event, so there’s no coincidence

why hosting iterations of that appear multiple times on my fundraising ideas list!

Vivian’s Top Fundraiser Ideas

  1. Happy Hour

  2. Silent Auction

  3. Speed Dating Event

  4. Brunch or Dinner Party

  5. A Variety Show with comedians, singers, and dancers

  6. Concert with local musicians


For some tips on how to get started I reached out to a college classmate of mine, Founder of

Hoop For Hope” Ayokunle Amoo.

“Growing up in Bridgeport, CT the summer was always filled with basketball games,

tournaments, and leagues. The environment was so lively, that I wanted to recreate the same

experience in D.C. as a college student while giving back to the community. Over the years

we’ve raised over $50,000.”

The annual basketball tournament became his way of channeling his personal grief into

something positive, after losing loved ones to cancer.

“I was 15 the first time I heard about cancer. My friend was diagnosed with Leukemia and I was


scared for his well-being after seeing him lose so much weight. As I got older more people

around me were diagnosed. The summer before the first “Hoop For Hope” three of my aunts

were diagnosed with breast cancer. Two of them died and one survived. I recently lost an uncle

to bone marrow cancer and have watched people of all ages fight the disease.”

If you’re ready to use the American Cancer Society’s “Raise Your Way” platform for your

fundraiser go to and follow the prompts to “Start

a Fundraiser.” Ayoo left me with a few words of advice for those ready to join the fight


“Take that leap of faith, do it with purpose, and create as many relationships as possible.”
— Ayokunle Amoo