The Awareness Calendar: Raising Visibility for Your Cause
Tying your cause into a designated awareness day, week, or month on the calendar is a common public relations tool to draw attention to your work and your nonprofit organization. Here’s five reasons why you should try it.
Reason #1 – Creating a holiday or awareness day draws a catalyst of attention to your cause or issue. Yes, your cause is important 365 days a year, but this marks a special time period on the calendar when your cause is highlighted for special attention. Advance planning is key for a successful event. Percolate your special day onto community calendars and listings. Use it to draw attention to what you do every day.
Reason #2 – It helps you involve supporters, volunteers and chapters in spreading awareness. The people who know about your cause and care about it can use the awareness time period to distribute information and tips to others. Create a toolkit of information – tips, fact sheets, stories about lives touched by your cause, social media posts that can be shared by supporters, and include plans for the celebration. Ask local elected officials to pass a proclamation acknowledging the day. Inviting your supporters and clients to share may net new stories and information you have not heard before.
Reason #3 – You can give out lots of information and share stories that relate to your cause. Content plays a key role in an awareness day, week or month celebration. This is an opportunity to distribute tips that relate to your cause, talk about interesting factoids, share photos highlighting your work, and drive interest on social media with a special hashtag and posts. Some of these materials – such as fact sheets, tip sheets, success stories, client stories, etc. may be used year-round, so view this as an opportunity to update your ongoing information and press kits.
Reason #4 – You can hold special events to spotlight your cause. This is a great opportunity to thank volunteers and staff, and celebrate what makes your organization or cause special. Volunteer thank yous, an open house showing what your organization does in a visual way for the community, donor appreciation, and many other activities are possible.
Reason #5 – A special awareness day can raise your visibility in the community, especially if you are part of a larger national effort. If you choose to have your own awareness day, you are creating a touch point for your cause. But collaborating on a larger national awareness day can also amplify your efforts and draw attention. For example, if you work in environmental issues, planning an event for Earth Day, a well-known environment cause awareness day, can help draw attention to your work.
Find Awareness Dates
2015 Cause Awareness Calendar from Charities.org
An awareness day calendar where you can submit your day from MRE Media
National Education and Health Awareness Days – a calendar from School Counselors
Causes Awareness Days Calendar – by Nonprofit Tech for Good
2015 Awareness Calendar from Psychology Today
Thanks to Dafne Cholet, who licensed this image through Creative Commons.
Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites. She blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.