Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure isn’t the only race in town anymore, said Kirsten Bruce, executive director of Komen Kansas, the Kansas affiliate of the national organization. Along with smaller budgets and the economy, competing with other nonprofit organizations for donors and sponsorships is Komen Kansas’ biggest challenge.

With a lean team of two and a half people, including Bruce, Komen Kansas doesn’t have the marketing budget or resources to launch full-scale campaigns for awareness, sponsorships and events.

“We don’t spend money unless we have to,” said Bruce.

It relies on the Susan G. Komen national organization for brand awareness and campaign creation. For example, to increase awareness and fundraising for women with metastatic breast cancer, the national organization launched its #MoreThanPink campaign, which trickles down to local affiliates.

“Most of our TV media comes from the national level,” said Bruce. “The local level is dependent upon social media.”

National partnerships, such as with WWE and Simon Malls, also benefit local-level affiliates. Previous Race for the Cure events had been held in Eastborough with packet pick-up at Towne East, which also provided gift cards for racers.

Komen Kansas pulls its weight locally by getting and sustaining long-term sponsorships. Wesley Medical Center is a 28-year sponsor, providing office space for Komen Kansas for the last three years with rent at a $1 per year rate. Dillon’s grocery stores sponsor Race for the Cure through change jars at checkout lanes. Plus, Komen Kansas is part of the Plus Card Community Cares Program.

Getting new sponsorships takes Komen Kansas back to the challenge of competing with other cancer research organizations. The affiliate’s best selling point? Seventy-five percent of donations stay in Kansas with the other 25 percent going to fund national research to fight breast cancer. Individuals and organizations wanting to make a difference at the local level know exactly where their donations are going at Komen Kansas – back to the community or to a national organization whose mission is to find the cure for breast cancer.

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