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5 Steps for a Launching a Successful Charity Awareness Campaign

24 July, 2018

An awareness campaign is a day, week or month dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of a charity. Many charities increase their exposure every year through unique and successful charity awareness campaigns. You can too, with the right strategy and approach. This post offers five steps you can start taking today to launch a successful charity awareness campaign. This includes early planning, differentiating yourself from other charity awareness campaigns, picking the perfect merchandise and, of course, having some fun along the way!

Step 1: Create a Clear Plan

Have you heard the saying, a goal without a plan is just a wish? If you want your awareness campaign wish to come true, then you need to start with a plan! Begin by identifying your goals and objectives. What do you hope to accomplish through your awareness campaign? Is your aim to bring greater understanding to a lesser-known cause or one around which there may be some confusion or misinformation? Is your aim to attract the attention of media outlets? Or do you want to focus on fundraising and leverage the campaign to drive donations?

Take the time early on to ask these questions and come to a clear consensus on your goal and objective with your charity staff and key stakeholders. This will save you time and money down the road and will help you measure the success of your campaign and make improvements for the next one.

Step 2: Know your Audience and Reach Them!

It might sound counter-intuitive, but the narrower you are in terms of your audience, the more effective your campaign is likely to be. Rather than trying to reach everyone, take some time during the planning process to determine your target audience and your ideal “persona”. This might be based on someone’s age, gender, location, passions or educational or income level, among many other attributes. Identifying a specific audience will help you create highly targeted (and thus more effective) messages on the right marketing channels.

For example, if you’re trying to engage senior citizens, you might want to promote your campaign in local print newspapers or at your charity shop versus planning a social media campaign. If you’re trying to reach people of all ages but within a specific geography, consider multiple channels, like in-person events, print and digital ads and local media stations. 

Step 3: Seek Inspiration

Now comes the fun part! Once you’ve identified your goals and your audience, it’s time to think big. What do you want your awareness campaign to be? If you’re unsure or overwhelmed, look to other successful awareness campaigns for inspiration. To mark Ovarian Cancer Month in March, a UK-based charity called Ovacome launched a community-wide campaign with a mission to spread awareness about signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer by putting leaflets, posters and cards at hospitals, places of worship, libraries, social clubs and more.

However, if budget or resources is an issue, you don’t necessarily need to invest a lot of upfront money on campaign materials. One popular and effective approach is digital crowd-sourcing. For example, Beat, an eating disorder charity in the UK, launched a clever Sock It To Eating Disorders campaign. Beat asked supporters to wear their brightest and boldest socks, take a photo and post it on social media with the hashtag #SockItToEastingDisorders.

Along with getting creative, part of the planning process will also be to create timelines for your campaign and assign people to specific roles. When does your campaign start, when does it end and who will help you run it? For example, you may want to involve some of your key volunteers. Make it fun and easy to participate, which will help people share in the excitement of the campaign.

Step 4: Get Creative to Stand Out

With so many awareness campaigns happening nearly every week and month, it’s important to make yours stand out. Take a note from successful campaigns, like the two that we mention above, and mimic some of your favourite elements, like a catchy hashtag or special campaign merchandise. But find your own unique spin! In other words, plan your campaign well, but have some fun along the way with your own style! For example, the Pancreatic Cancer Action has a “Shop Purple” store with branded purple merchandise available for purchase featuring seasonal clothing and accessories. It’s all tied to a “Turn it Purple” campaign, a creative way to use colour to gain involvement and build awareness.

Step 5: Make it Memorable

A goal of every campaign should be to keep it top of mind, even after the campaign ends. One way to do this is with memorable merchandise that your supporters can use or wear all year long to be reminded of your cause. Take a look at some of our top products or scroll through an entire catalog to get some ideas or let us know if you have a specific item in mind. Chances are, we can make it for you! Ovacome, for example, relies on customised merchandise to meet its goal of raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. One of the charity’s favourite items is this teal enamel pin.

ovacome awareness campaign
Credit: Ovacome

And don’t forget, being practical is a great way to be memorable. Selecting highly functional items ensures that people will actually use your merchandise, which will help keep your campaign and charity top of mind for time to come. Consider useful campaign merchandise like keyrings, fridge magnets, reusable bags, bottle openers and even air fresheners.

We wish you the best of luck to plan, launch and succeed with your charity awareness campaign this year. Please get in touch with us today to talk about these five steps or any aspect of your campaign, from a simple concept to a specific merchandise item. We know what makes a great campaign work and we are here to help you meet your goals!

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