According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, following skin cancer. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The outcome is different for everyone. Some will survive, some will not. But, one thing is for certain: no one forgets what this disease does to a family. Men are not exempt, either. Nearly 2,000 men are diagnosed with the illness each year.

Even with the high rate of incidences, we have seen dramatic improvements in breast cancer survival rates over the years. Thanks to early detection through screening and awareness, improved treatment and a decrease of hormone therapy, death rates from breast cancer have been decreasing since 1989, and incidence rates dropped 7 percent from 2000 to 2003 and have remained stable since.

These are not just statistical advancements; they are lives saved. If you want to “be part of the cure”, then get involved. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great time for your business to launch a breast cancer fundraising campaign. Here’s how to make your difference.

Choose an Organization to Support

There are dozens of reputable organizations that are working 365 days a year to find a cure for this devastating disease. Choose one that your campaign will support, such as The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or The Rose.

Have a Goal in Mind

Your goal can be something simple, such as for every X-item sold, you will donate a specified amount of money. This is a great way to encourage customers to try your product while supporting a worthy cause. Your company may want to have a larger goal in mind, such as raising a particular amount of money. Be sure to make your goal clear so that supporters know what they’re working toward.

Decide How Money will be Raised

Some companies choose to host one large event, such as a silent auction, golf outing or the participation in a 5K run. Think about the demographics of your community and what events will receive the most support.

Your business may also collect donations throughout the month from employees and local customers. For instance, Panera recently launched a campaign where for every Baker’s Dozen Pink Bagels bought, $1 was donated to breast cancer research. This approach works well with many local businesses.

To reach a larger audience, launch a fundraising campaign on social media to draw in supporters of your brand. For example, for every “like” received on Facebook, you may donate 20 cents to a breast cancer charity. Or, ask followers to change their profile picture to something that supports breast cancer awareness and your logo.

You can run similar campaigns on Instagram and Twitter as well. Don’t be shy; get creative and ask for favorite bra colors and trends. With campaigns like Save the Tatas and National No Bra Day, anything goes.

Include Marketing Materials

If you’re hosting an event, you’ll need marketing materials to jumpstart the interest. Flyers, brochures, t-shirts and promotional items are great for drawing in local community participation, but keep in mind that these do cost money. By printing your business’ name on the materials, you’ll be branding your image and supporting awareness. Still, social media is one of the most effective ways to launch a campaign – it’s free and has massive outreach.

Continue to Educate

At the end of the campaign, keep everyone informed by telling them how much money your business raised. You want people who supported your cause to be acknowledged and appreciated. This is good for repeated business and long-term customer rapport.

Remember that cancer never takes a break. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it encourages people to get involved in spreading awareness. Still, you can support funding and research throughout the year and continue to make a difference.