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Breakthrough Your Way Information

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What is the history and mission of the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA)? +

Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) was the first national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to brain tumors. For over 40 years, the ABTA has been providing comprehensive resources that support the complex needs of brain tumor patients and caregivers, as well as the critical funding of research in the pursuit of breakthroughs in brain tumor diagnosis, treatment and care.

The mission of the American Brain Tumor Association is to advance the understanding and treatment of brain tumors with the goals of improving, extending and, ultimately, saving the lives of those impacted by a brain tumor diagnosis.

We do this through interactions and engagements with brain tumor patients and their families, collaborations with allied groups and organizations, and the funding of brain tumor research.

What is Breakthrough You Way? +

Breakthrough Your Way is a program that gives supporters the chance to turn their passions and interests into unique fundraisers to benefit the ABTA.

In what ways do people fundraise for Breakthrough Your Way? +

Supporters may choose to fundraise on behalf of the ABTA by hosting an event, setting up a tribute or memorial page or as a part of a celebration. Some examples of events supporters organize on behalf of the ABTA are: walks/runs, golf outings and dinner dances. Examples of a celebration may include a wedding, birthday, retirement party or other special occasion.

For a list of events/activities, see ABTA Fundraising Ideas.

How do I get started? +

If you are interested in hosting an Athletic Event (or similar event using the Choose Your Own option), setting up a Tribute or Memorial page or creating a fundraising page for a Celebration, click on one of the four options to get started.

If you’re unsure of which option to select or have questions about how you’d like to fundraise, click on Need Help Getting Started? For additional questions, contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

Event Information

What is my responsibility when planning an event for Breakthrough Your Way? How will the ABTA help? +

As event organizer, you are responsible for the overall organization, promotion, liability and execution of the event. The ABTA is happy to help in any way we can including offering support and guidance along the way. For more information on how the program works with fundraising events and what is your responsibility vs. how we can help, please see How Breakthrough Your Way Works.

What is the best way to let my supporters know that my event is supporting the ABTA? +

Please indicate on all materials that proceeds from this event will benefit the American Brain Tumor Association. ABTA staff may also provide a letter acknowledging that your event is raising funds on behalf of the organization upon request.

To request an acknowledgment letter once you’ve registered your event, please contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

What materials can the ABTA provide for my event? How do I obtain the materials? +

Depending on the size and nature of your event, the ABTA may be able to provide the following:

  • ABTA Brochures
  • ABTA Bracelets
  • ABTA Temporary Tattoos
  • ABTA Banners (plastic, tear-able)
  • ABTA Pens

Please note: For budget reasons, the ABTA is unable to provide the above for every participant.

Contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org once you’ve registered your event to request materials and allow two weeks for delivery.

May I sell ABTA items? +

No, ABTA items may not be sold. Any items provided by the ABTA for your event should be used as a giveaway.

What tools are available online to help me with my event? +

Once you register your event on btyourway.org, you will have access to your Participant Center and the ability to create a personal fundraising page to collect donations that directly benefit the ABTA.

Please Note: If you wish to collect online registration fees and donations and pay for event-related expenses prior to making your donation to the ABTA, you will need to set up your event registration on a third party online fundraising website. For additional questions, contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

What is my Participant Center? +

Your participant center is where you will be able to personalize your fundraising page, send emails, track your progress and access fundraising materials. Once you register your event on btyourway.org, you will have access to your participant center. Your participant center is only accessible by logging in with your username and password.

Do I need to register on the Breakthrough Your Way website to host an event? +

Although it is not required to register your event at btyourway.org, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the resources available to you. It will also allow ABTA staff to better serve you and provide more information if your event is registered on our site. If you have questions related to registering your event, please contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

Do I need to set up a fundraising page on the Breakthrough Your Way website to host an event? +

No, you do not need to set up a fundraising page on the Breakthrough Your Way website in order to host an event on behalf of the ABTA. The fundraising pages are an option for your event or to collect donations from those who are unable to attend the event but would still like to make donation in support of your efforts. A fundraising page gives you the opportunity to tell your story, share photos and provide a link to your event website (if applicable). All donations collected through your fundraising page go directly to the ABTA and your donors will be thanked and their donation acknowledged via email.

What is the difference between a team page and a personal fundraising page? +

A personal page is your individual page that you create to fundraise for Breakthrough Your Way. A team page is attached to one or more personal pages, which you can find listed on the team page’s roster, and they all share the team’s fundraising goal. Donors can contribute to a personal page, team page or both. For questions about starting a team, please contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

How do I solicit sponsorship and in-kind donations from local businesses and companies for my event? +

One way of keeping expenses down for your event is to solicit local businesses for sponsorship and/or in-kind donations. We can provide a letter verifying you and your event are raising funds on behalf of the ABTA that may be helpful in soliciting support. You will also have access to sample sponsorship and in-kind donation request letters in your participant center once you register your event.

Please note: In-kind donations do not directly benefit the ABTA and therefore we are unable to provide a receipt for these items. In addition, only sponsorships that are made payable directly to the ABTA are tax deductible.

If a business donates goods or services to my event, will they receive a tax letter from the ABTA? +

Sponsorships are only tax deductible for those companies and organizations that make payment payable directly to the American Brain Tumor Association.

Will the ABTA help promote my event? +

The ABTA will post details of your event on our website with a link to your event and/or fundraising page (if applicable) upon request. We may also be able to post a link and/or photos, if provided, to ABTA social media prior to or after your event.

Any additional promotion of the event is up to the organizer but you will find a sample press release and other helpful tips in the Participant Center. ABTA staff is available to review and must approve any promotional materials, including press releases, before they are sent out. Please allow one week for review and approval of materials.

Are there marketing/communications guidelines I need to follow to promote my event (i.e., advertising, public relations, etc.)? +

Yes, once you register your event, you will have access to the ABTA Breakthrough Your Way Marketing & Communications Guidelines in your participant center for information related to marketing materials, advertising, public relations and social media.

May I use the ABTA logo? Are there any guidelines or an approval process? +

Yes, you may use the ABTA logo. Any materials created with the logo must be approved by the ABTA Marketing & Communications staff. Please refer to the ABTA logo guidelines in your participant center for more information and allow one week for the review and approval process.

Will a representative from the ABTA attend my event? +

As much as ABTA representatives would like to attend events held on our behalf, most of the time we are unable to given travel costs and schedules. At times, we may have someone local who is available to for those events who make a request at least six weeks in advance. To request a representative at your event, please contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

I am an independent consultant or business owner and want to donate a percentage or proceeds from sales to the ABTA. What do I need to do? +

We greatly appreciate when an independent consultant or business owner wants to donate a portion of their proceeds to the ABTA. When promoting your efforts, please indicate the exact portion of proceeds that will be donated to the ABTA on any materials and make sure to receive approval before using our logo. For questions, contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

Does the ABTA provide reimbursements for my expenses? +

The ABTA does not provide reimbursement for expenses related to your fundraising event. Event organizers are expected to cover event expenses using money from event registration or through money carried over from the previous year’s event.

How do I find an ABTA event or another Breakthrough Your Way event in my community? +

An event listing, including ABTA BT5K, Team Breakthrough and Breakthrough Your Way events can be found at www.abta.org/get-involved/events/.

What if I want to participate in a half marathon, marathon or other endurance event on behalf of the ABTA? +

You can participate in an endurance event as a member of Team Breakthrough, the ABTA’s endurance program. In addition to the Chicago Spring 13.1 & 10 K, Chicago Half Marathon and Chicago Marathon, Team Breakthrough members may select the Choose Your Own option and participate in any endurance event while raising funds on behalf of the ABTA. For more information, including the benefits of participating with Team Breakthrough, please visit www.abtateambreakthrough.org or contact Michelle Dumele at 773-577-8766 or email mdumele@abta.org.

Tributes/Memorials

I’m starting a page in memory of a loved one who passed away. How do I include the fundraising page in the obituary? +

Once you’re registered, you can personalize a URL for your tribute page and use that link in an obituary. When logged in, go to your Participant Center and click the “Personalize Your Page” tab. Click “URL settings” to choose your personal page URL. Click “Save.” Your link will always begin with hope.abta.org/goto/. For example, if your page is collecting donations in memory of Mary Smith, your URL might be hope.abta.org/goto/MarySmith.

Fundraising

How will family/friends find my fundraising page to make a donation on the Breakthrough Your Way website? +

You may direct family/friends to www.btyourway.org and tell them to click on Find a Fundraising Page. They will be asked to enter your name or the name of your event to find your fundraising page or have the option to leave the search field blank and simply click the search button to show all fundraising pages.

In addition, you will be given an opportunity to choose your personal URL when you register. When logged in, go to your Participant Center and click the “Personalize Your Page” tab. Click “URL settings” to choose your personal page URL. Click “Save.” Your link will always begin with hope.abta.org/goto/. For example, if your event is called Boxing for Brain Tumors, your URL might be hope.abta.org/goto/BoxingforBrainTumors

How are the funds I raise used? +

The funds raised allow the ABTA to provide vital brain tumor resources to patients and their families, fund promising research studies, and conduct nationwide brain tumor educational programs. For more information, please visit www.abta.org.

Are monetary donations tax deductible? Will the ABTA acknowledge donors for my event? +

Donations made payable to the American Brain Tumor Association are tax deductible. Acknowledgement letters are sent to anyone who donates $25 or more directly to the ABTA. If a donor donates less than $25 and would like to receive a letter, it may be sent upon request.

If a cash donation is received from a donor who would like to receive an acknowledgment letter, please obtain their contact information (first and last name, email and mailing address) and note the amount of cash received. Otherwise, there will be no record of their donation if they ask for a receipt. Donation envelopes are available upon request, but cash should never be sent in the mail.

What should I do with cash donations? +

It’s not recommended to send cash in the mail. You may, in this case, wish to send a personal check or cashier’s check including a detailed account of cash donations received with first and last names, amount of each donation and email and mailing addresses for each donor.

Where do I send my donations? Can my donors send checks directly to the ABTA? +

Yes, donations may be sent to:

American Brain Tumor Association

Attention: [EVENT/FUNDRAISER NAME]

8550 W Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 550

Chicago, IL 60631

Please include the name of your event or fundraiser and make checks payable to: ABTA

May I open a bank account to cash checks made out to the American Brain Tumor Association? +

No party other than the American Brain Tumor Association may cash a check made out to the ABTA. Please ask donors to make checks payable to the American Brain Tumor Association. These checks can then be mailed to the ABTA office for deposit. Make sure the checks clearly indicate the event or fundraiser for which the donation is intended by either writing the event name in the memo of the check, placing the name in the address of the envelope or sending a note with the donation(s).

May I accept contributions and write a check to the American Brain Tumor Association from my personal account? +

We prefer you not accept checks made out to you personally with the intention of writing a check to the ABTA. Donors will not receive acknowledgment for their donation unless it is made directly to the ABTA. If a donor does write a check made out to you instead of the ABTA, you may endorse it by signing it and writing “Made Payable to the American Brain Tumor Association” on the back of the check.

Does the ABTA accept matching gifts? +

Yes, matching gifts are a great way to double or even triple a donor’s gift! Don’t forget to remind your donors to ask their employers to see if they have a matching gift program. You may also click here to find out if a company offers matching gifts. Donations must be made directly to the American Brain Tumor Association in order for the organization to qualify to receive their company’s matching gift.

Contact Information

Who is my contact at the ABTA with any questions or if I need support? +

For questions about Breakthrough Your Way and your fundraising event, contact Michelle Dumele, Advancement Specialist, Corporate & Community Engagement, at mdumele@abta.org or 773-577-8766.

For questions about Breakthrough Your Way Tributes/Memorials, contact Cole Bonifacius, Database Coordinator, at cbonifacius@abta.org or 773-577-8783.

For questions about Breakthrough Your Way Celebrations, contact Michelle Dumele, Advancement Specialist, Corporate & Community Engagement, at mdumele@abta.org or 773-577-8766.