We’ve seen it before—and you probably have too.
Ding! An email hits your inbox. You open it and notice it’s an e-blast from that takeout place around the corner.
“Happy National Siblings Day,” the email greets you. It’s a franchise, not owned or run by siblings, and as far as you can tell they just wanted an excuse to email you.
It’s right to the trash… along with yesterday’s email about Dog Day, an earlier message about Ice Cream Day and last week’s email about Outdoors Week.
Siblings, pets, ice cream, the great outdoors… these are all things we appreciate!
But there’s a right way to do it. To put it simply, if you want to tie into an awareness month (or week or day!), your organization needs a real connection to the cause.
Let’s talk about how to effectively connect your marketing and communications to awareness dates.
Why Connecting to An Awareness Month Is Effective
Take a look at this Cause Awareness Calendar and you’ll see that there are many observances that make a positive impact. Connecting your organization to one of these can help get your message out there.
It’s a news hook. It’s a reason to go out and talk about your organization. People are already coming across mentions of the observance. Think Dry January and the number of articles, social media posts, or TV segments you might be seeing about that. These are opportunities to pitch your experts. If you’re working on developing your thought leadership on the topic, then it’s a good time to place an Op-Ed or publish a LinkedIn post.
It’s a chance to increase your findability. There are usually popular hashtags used around any awareness month. If people are searching that hashtag for related posts, then your social media posts using that hashtag will come up for them. It’s an economical way to surface your organization for people who are already interested in a particular cause.
How to Connect The Right Way
Here’s how we recommend making a more authentic connection:
- Make sure it matters. It needs to have relevance for (and a real tie to) your organization. Because organizations that don’t have a real connection to the cause run the risk of turning something meaningful into something meaningless. Your audience needs to see the link because that’s what they’ll remember.
- Be circumspect. Dig deeper and you’ll find that some of the “national days” you hear about are just marketing opportunities for major companies. Is there actually value there for your organization? If there is, does that affiliation align with your organization’s values?
- Be choosy. You don’t have to cover every awareness date. Don’t overdo it or you’ll tune your audience out. You also risk setting the expectation that you’ll always post—and accidentally missing something can lead to negative attention. Pick one (or a few) observances that are worth it.
- Find a way to stand out. Look at Giving Tuesday, for example, when every nonprofit is participating. How can your organization stand out when it’s a key part of the awareness month in which many other organizations are participating? We’re in a unique position since we work with multiple nonprofits. That means we have a lay of the land and are always looking for unique ways to help our partners differentiate themselves.
As a rule of thumb, “Think about the awareness days or months that will have your followers or readers saying, ‘Yeah, that makes sense,’” says Liza Sacilioc, our content strategist.
By choosing wisely, leveraging your unique perspective, and demonstrating long-term commitment, your organization can connect with awareness dates to help drive meaningful engagement and positive change.
That’s how we advise our partners who want to connect their marketing and communications strategies to awareness dates.
With these best practices in mind, go forward and “seize the month,” so to speak, and leave a lasting impression that goes far beyond just another (for example) “happy silver paperclips day” message.