How to Work With Awareness Campaigns
Even in a challenging economy, Americans are a generous lot. People organize and rally to help a neighbor, the school systems, or anything needing assistance. Charitable organizations throughout the country range from major national ones like the American Heart Association (AHA) and March of Dimes, to smaller local charities like Pretty In Pink Foundation, which, rather than funding research, pays for immediate treatment for uninsured breast cancer patients. Each of these groups holds numerous fundraising and awareness events, often partnering with corporations and local small businesses. Items like the red dress pin, given as a thank you for donating to the AHA's Go Red campaign, can become a badge of honor for donors. There's nothing like a tangible symbol.
The American Marketing Association recently held a Senior Nonprofit Marketers' Summit in Chicago. It brought together top executives from United Way, American Red Cross, American Lung Association and others. The focus of the meeting was exploring strategies to pull together all the different marketing channels to create integrated cross-media campaigns. Promotional products are used hand-in-hand with direct mail, online ads, QR Codes, and special events.
From a local business viewpoint, what are the keys to a successful awareness campaign? It starts with selecting the right charity. Find one whose mission resonates with your own. Find one with a real need. There are some fine organizations that just don't get the attention they deserve. Check out charitywatch.org for information on those nonprofits that use donations most efficiently. When you have an idea who you'd like to help, sit down with them and discuss ways to do that. They may offer kits and collateral material to help you stay aligned with their key message.
Make sure the products you pick are useful and likely to gain a lot of exposure for the charity. A functional product can be kept a year or more, reinforcing the message long after an event. Reusable drinkware with an attractive design works well in that regard. Hidden message products always get a big response. One charity selected an umbrella with a big “The Cause” imprint - but the big surprise comes when the umbrella gets wet, revealing an overall pattern of pink ribbons.
Done right, a partnership with a good cause can help the business partner as well. We work with our clients on these types of projects, and are ready to help you to do the same.