Even the most worthy cause won’t receive a dollar in donations if no one knows about it. That’s why nonprofit organizations devote so much of their effort to raising awareness—and why you should, too.
It’s unlikely that one single approach will magically make everyone aware of your cause. More likely, you’ll need to combine a variety of approaches.
We can help—here are 15 tactics individuals and organizations have used to raise awareness for a cause. To reach as many people as possible, choose those that work best for you, tailoring each one to suit your specific fundraiser. Keep in mind that when your cause is worthwhile, raising awareness for it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s all about engaging people with the right ideas.
1. Organize educational events
Offer up your skills, either in a standalone workshop you organize on your own, or as part of a series of related workshops hosted and organized by someone else—preferably an organization with an existing network and a natural affinity for your cause. At the event, engage in conversation about your cause and connect with like-minded people. Examples of useful skills to teach may include creating resumes or an introductory course to Adobe Photoshop.
2. Host fundraising events
An in-person fundraising event can help boost both awareness and donations. Again, this could be something you organize alone, or part of a larger event organized by others—perhaps an art exhibition or a sporting event. Hosting or participating in events where people meet in person can help you begin to build a real community around your cause. There’s no shortage of winning fundraising event ideas.
3. Set a world record
Brainstorm ways you could potentially set a world record (perhaps a Guinness World Record) that’s related to your cause—it could generate free publicity and direct people to your fundraiser, raising awareness for your cause. Turn it into an event—ask existing supporters to participate, or to cheer you on. Well before your event date, reach out to local media through calls, emails, and/or a press release.
4. Be picture perfect
Pick a theme (tacos), a time frame (Tuesday), and a social media platform (Twitter). Ask your supporters to submit their best photos around this theme, entering a contest by tagging you. Select a few winners, and feature them on all of your social media pages.
5. Host a video contest
Ask people to create a short video about your cause and submit it via social media. After you pick the winner (and perhaps a few runners-up), share the video with your supporters.
6. Like and comment to win
Create a social media post, make sure it links to your fundraiser, and explain the contest to your followers. Choose the winner at random from all comments—use an online random-number generator. Consider asking local businesses if they would sponsor a prize, like a gift card.
Branding your cause
7. Be consistent
The key to making your cause easy to recognize is keeping your imagery and wording consistent. Always use the same image or logo for profile pictures, and make sure your call to action doesn’t vary.
8. Design and distribute swag
If it seems like a worthwhile expense, spend a small amount of money making branded “swag”—personalized giveaways that you can hand out at events. Keep it simple, with items such as stickers, bookmarks, buttons, or t-shirts. One piece of swag can generate dozens of “impressions” with its owner over time, searing your cause into supporters’ minds.
9. Boost social media awareness
Create accounts for your cause on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Start engaging with people and related communities. Master the art of writing for different social media platforms. Try sparking thoughtful conversations about your cause by asking questions or giving feedback.
10. Produce content others find valuable
Are you an expert at something? Find a way to relate it to your cause, and give your supporters something of value. Examples include video how-to’s and other educational guides. Make sure the design includes your logo and is consistent with your other branded materials.
11. Make informational pamphlets
A great way for people to learn about your cause is through informational pamphlets, whether printed or digital. Organize key information summarizing your cause, and craft it into a piece of content that catches people’s interest. Ask local businesses if you can leave pamphlets out for people to take. Share downloadable PDFs on your GoFundMe fundraiser, via social media, and on sites related to your cause.
12. Write a press release
Learn how to write a press release to raise awareness for your cause. You can submit free press releases to sites such as PR Newswire. Include eye-catching photos to increase the chances of getting your story featured.
13. Make a viral challenge video
Everyone remembers the Ice Bucket Challenge. Come up with your own viral video challenge to get people talking about your cause. Read this blog for more tips on how to increase your chances of going viral.
14. Challenge your coworkers
Encourage people to participate in a workplace challenge to raise awareness and funds for your cause.
15. Take on a challenge
Garner attention by taking on an impressive challenge. For example, Lucy and her dad cycled 2,500 miles across the country to raise money for early breast cancer detection in their fundraiser Cycling for Change.
Now you know how to raise awareness for a cause. Use these proven methods to truly put the crowd in crowdfunding. While you’re raising awareness, be sure to check out the latest fundraising tips and ideas. Start a fundraiser today.