The Focus Areas of ACS On Campus


Fundraising is a critical part of how the American Cancer Society executes the mission. In order to make a difference, foster innovation in cancer research, create policy change and educate about cancer prevention and treatment – funds are needed. Through participation in ACS programs like Making Strides Against Breast Cancer or Relay for Life as well as DIY fundraising, there are many ways to raise funds for ACS. 

The American Cancer Society’s fundraising efforts go towards a number of goals and programs critical to instigating change within the medical community and celebrating life cancer free. Out of the over $500 million dollars ACS raises each year, 78% of the funds are invested in cancer research, patient support programs, prevention and education programs and detection and treatment services.

Fund The Mission

Fund the Mission is an annual 72 hour fundraiser hosted by ACS On Campus. The goal changes each year but all fundraising counts towards FTM for 72 hours straight! The fundraising earned from FTM goes towards a number of fundraising efforts from Road to Recovery to Hope Lodge.


Giving Tuesday in November

Giving Tuesday is a national day-of-giving for all non-profits in the United States. 



ACS On Campus chapters can participate or host community events that celebrate cancer patients & fight back for a world without cancer. See all community events here.

Do you have an innovative idea for a fundraiser? Contact your staff partner or use our Raise Your Way platform to start an online fundraiser. Speak to your ACS Staff Partner for support on your DIY fundraiser!

Advocacy (ACS CAN)

Advocacy is the process of organizing people impacted by a problem, making them aware of their own power, and collectively organizing to impact decision makers to make change. The decision makers in this case are federal, state, and local legislatures. Our advocacy efforts are led by American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), an affiliate of ACS. Just like the ACS, the ACS CAN’s mission is to end suffering and death from cancer.  

At ACS CAN, we utilize the influence of survivors, caregivers, family, friends, everyday citizens, and students to intentionally and strategically change cancer-related policy. If we are going to succeed in our mission to end suffering and death from cancer, it won’t just happen in the doctor’s office or research lab. This movement must start at the statehouse and in Congress. And, it will be led by volunteers – regular people whose lives have been impacted by cancer – rallying together to demand change from their elected officials.

Lights of Hope

Lights of Hope is ACS CAN’s signature fundraiser dedicated to honoring those who have been touched by cancer and remembering those lost. With help from volunteers, more than 500,000 Lights of Hope will be displayed in communities across the country while speakers reflect and give remarks about why fighting cancer needs to be a congressional priority. Find this year’s Lights of Hope event here.

Leadership Summit & Lobby Day

in addition to state-level Lobby Days, ACS CAN also heads to Washington D.C. once a year to meet with federal lawmakers to discuss federal cancer legislation.

ACS CAN Official Policy Forums are held in every state and are an opportunity to educate oneself, one’s community and lawmakers on cancer issues impacting the community.

ACS CAN Power Hour

Recruit CAN members during your fundraising events. Talking with clubs on campus about advocacy. Host a booth at a school event to recruit ACS CAN members from your campus Talk to your school’s administration about hosting a teacher engagement day in which you collect signatures from your teachers for petitions

Assemble a group of students on your campus that are passionate about advocacy and go as a group to town hall meetings to chip in regarding local cancer policy.

Become an ACS CAN Member or Ambassador ACS CAN Advocate/Member: first step in ACS CAN’s volunteer structure, and allow you to get involved with a minimal time commitment. As an Advocate, you can help on an as-needed/as available basis.


ACS CAN Ambassadors (2- year commitment): larger impact and help play a crucial role in establishing relationships with elected officials. Check out this resource for what ambassadorship entails.


Other ideas:

  • Donate or fundraise to ACS CAN efforts.
  • Sign petitions at
  • Write letters to legislators.
  • Signing up for ACS CAN is a great way to start your advocacy journey here . To get started promoting advocacy on your campus, be sure to connect with the Advocacy Chair on the National Campus & Youth Engagement Strategy Team to get support and encourage others to join advocacy.

Patient Support

The ACS provides numerous patient services for cancer survivors and their caregivers. These services provide additional volunteer opportunities on many campuses. Patient services range from a 24/7 helpline to Hope Lodges that provide a free place to stay during treatment. There are many ways to help provide these services as campus volunteers, but some options may look different or be temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.

Hope Lodge is a “home away from home” for hundreds of cancer patients during their much-needed treatment. Patients and their caregiver can stay at one of 29 ACS Hope Lodges across the country for free during their treatment. Find out if there is a Hope Lodge near you here. ACS On Campus chapters can see if they are able to volunteer at a Hope Lodge through their staff partner. Ideas: cooking dinner for patients, game night, paint canvases, donating Wish List items.


Become a Road to Recovery volunteer

Volunteer your time to dive cancer patients to treatment when they cannot drive themselves or have no other means of getting to their treatment. A valid driver’s license, good driving record, and proof of automobile insurance are required. Sign up here!

  • Survivor/Caregiver Dinner or other cancer community event to honor our VIPs.
  • Make cards for cancer patients at your local hospital.
  • Create a list of local resources for survivors and caregivers (specifically for youth or college audiences) with support groups, information, etc.
  • Invite a panel of survivor/caregivers to share their stories.
  • Hold a drive for essential items, volunteer time, etc.


While most people know ACS for research or fundraising, we do so much more. We promote healthy lifestyles to prevent cancer early. We research cancer and its causes to find more answers and better treatments. We fight for life saving policy changes. We provide everything from emotional support to the latest cancer information for those who have been touched by cancer. And we do it all 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All of this is the ACS mission: save lives, celebrate cancer survivors, and fight for a world without cancer.

Ask a local ACS research to come speak on campus. Find ACS funded research in your state here. Connect with your ACS Staff Partner if you wish to connect with an ACS-funded researcher.


Join your area’s ResearcHER’s campaign to support women-led cancer research.

Host a cancer awareness event. Common ideas:

  • GASO (Great American Smokeout) during November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month

  • Promote the HPV vaccine during January (Cervical Cancer Awareness Month)

  • Host “Mission Moments” at every ACS On Campus meeting.
  • Complete The Defender Quiz to see your own cancer risk.
  • Share cancer facts & figures from
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