If you are looking to raise awareness for your cause or non-profit organization, you have many options.
Here, we will look at three simple ways to let people know your cause or organization exists. We will start with some very basic, old school promotion via the flyer, and then discuss social media and public relations.
Go Old School: Make a Flyer
Back before the Internet and social media, flyers were a great way for the grassroots to get the word out. They are still a good way to do grassroots advertising or guerilla marketing. Here are some benefits of using a flyer:
1. Low Cost
Making and distributing a flyer does not cost a lot of money.
You can get your message directly into the hands of your target audience – literally.
Flyers are easy to customize, and if you find an error, easy to update.
Software to Design the Flyer
You do not need any fancy publishing software such as QuarkXPress to make your flyer, although it can help. Using free software such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice can work just fine. It depends on how complicated you want your design to be.
If you are not a graphic designer, then keep it simple. Use a straightforward design with a logo and perhaps one piece of clip art. There is no need to get overly fancy.
Size of the Flyer
You can easily create a flyer on a standard 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper. Also, save on paper and costs by using a half-size piece of paper (4.25 x 5.5-inch sheet of paper). Use a paper cutter to split a standard piece of paper into two smaller halves.
If your group has anything to do with the environment, you have to consider whether wasting paper will be seen as good practices by your organization.
Making Copies of Your Flyer
You can print your flyer from home and even make copies from a computer printer. Using an Inkjet to print multiple copies of your flyer is not recommended, as the ink runs out quickly and is pricey.
If you have a LaserJet printer, you can often print multiple copies for cheaper than getting the flyer printed at a copy shop.
Whether you have an Inkjet or a LaserJet printer, you can make your initial flyer copy from your printer and then use a copying machine to print the copies.
If you are going to use the printer at a copy shop, then you will need to put the flyer file on a USB drive, or possibly email it to the copy shop, for them to print it for you. Check with your local copy shop to find out what they need and what file formats they accept.
Distributing Your Flyer
Where will you be distributing your flyer? Will it be available at a booth you are setting up at a local job fair? Are you going to the local promenade and passing the flyers out to people walking by? Do you have any event planning tools ongoing door to door? What about posting flyers on local bulletin boards at coffee shops and on kiosks?
Some groups put flyers on cars, underneath the windshield wiper. This is not recommended because people generally find this method of marketing to be too intrusive and irritating.
Where you will be distributing your flyer may have an impact on the type of design and event name ideas you do, as well as the size of the flyer.
Whatever you choose, the point of the flyer is to get the word out and raise awareness. It may not seem like much, but if you pass out 500 or more flyers in Times Square in a busy afternoon, you just got your cause a lot of direct low-cost advertising.
Get Busy on Social Media
Social media is a critical aspect of modern communications. Mastering it is important for anyone who wants to raise awareness and get a message out.
You should have at minimum a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your non-profit organization or cause for healthy take-out ideas. Depending on what your cause is, an Instagram account might also be helpful.
If your organization has videos to share, then consider setting up a YouTube channel. You can also use alternative video providers such as Daily Motion and Vimeo.
Update Your Social Media Regularly
Your social media accounts won’t do much for your cause if they are silent. You must update them on a regular basis in order to see any benefits or long-term results. You should decide on a social media schedule in advance.
For most social media accounts, you should post at minimum once per month, except for YouTube, which may not need regular updating depending on the video you share.
You may have different schedules for different social media accounts. Perhaps you update YouTube monthly, Facebook weekly, and Twitter daily.
While you don’t have to be overly rigid with your social media schedule, the idea is to post things consistently so that you have a regular online presence that is somewhat reliable.
Inspire a Social Media Grassroots Movement
How do you start a grassroots movement on social media to support your cause? Think of some creative ways you can get people inspired to make a difference. While hashtags may seem overdone these days, they are still an important way to get people solidified behind an issue.
Recently, the hashtag #MeToo has gotten a tremendous amount of attention as it has been used to highlight sexual abuse by people in power. However, be careful, as too much overexposure of a hashtag rallying cry can start receiving some backlash.
Still, a short, pithy phrase that is proceeded by a pound sign (with no spaces) can be just the thing you need to raise awareness for a cause or an important issue that would be otherwise overlooked.
Generate Public Relations
Old-fashioned public relations can be often overlooked these days of social media and hashtag activism. But there is still a lot to be said about public relations, aka PR, and getting media outlets to write up stories about your important cause.
Send out Regular Press Releases
No matter what your non-profit organization is doing, you should send out regular press release example to keep your cause in the public eye, or at least in the minds of editors.
Press releases these days do not have to be snail mailed like they used to, so you can save money on postage. However, once in a while, a good old-fashioned press release and media kit can be a good way to get the attention of an otherwise bored and jaded editor.
Learn How to Write a Good Press Release
You do not need to reinvent the wheel nor should you. Trying to be too clever with your press release just to get attention looks desperate and unprofessional, and like a bad resume, your press release will be dumped in the trash.
If you are simply not a good writer, then hire someone with experience to write your press releases for you. The expense, which should not be too much, will be well worth it.
Have Something Interesting to Promote
You can use press releases to promote success stories from your non-profit’s programs. You should also promote fundraising events and fundraising thermometer, interesting statistics related to your cause, and other newsworthy items.
Sometimes, you can get some traction by doing what is known as a publicity stunt, but in today’s world of YouTube videos, these have become more extreme. You do not want to do the non-profit version of a Tide pod eating video.
The world of extreme “everything” and social media pressure has led to people taking more risks, as noted in this story about two experienced climbers who fell to their deaths at El Capitan trying to perform “speed climbing.” The pressure of sponsorships has caused more climbers to record more risky behavior to build up YouTube views. Is this worth someone’s life?
While it is important to raise awareness for your cause, do not try to do so by risking lives or encouraging bad behavior.
Instead, think of positive ways to make the news. If you are crowdfunding for nonprofits who help animals, this will hopefully not be too difficult. Do you have a story about an animal you nursed back to health and found a home for? That can be a great subject for a heartwarming feature.
It’s Not Hard to Raise Awareness
To raise awareness for your cause, you do not need fancy equipment or a lot of money. You do need some time and decent communications skills. Whether you are handing out flyers at the beach, posting on social media, or getting your story out in the local news, you can do a lot to raise awareness.