5 Ways to Leverage Awareness Days

Hi! Welcome to the latest episode of The High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas. I’m Julia McDowell, Marketing Strategist for Five Ones. The High-Five is my video series of marketing strategies and tactics for nonprofits and associations. Today, let’s talk about awareness days…or the holidays that aren’t true holidays but we can treat them similarly.

We’ve all seen awareness days all over social media. Whether it’s National Panda Day (one that is very important to me) or World Water Day, there are days that align with just about anything all year long. So how do you use them to your advantage? Let’s dive in!

Align your organization 

First things first, you have to familiarize yourself with all of the various awareness days. It can be a bit overwhelming at first because there are awareness days, weeks, and months for just about anything. They also vary by country and region, so it can be hard to hone in on days (or weeks or months) that make sense for your organization. 

My advice is to start by perusing all of the days. There are many different sites that aggregate them so go through and flag which ones align with your organization at a quick glance. Then whittle it down to ones that you can really tie your nonprofit to and add them to your calendar. 

Create your own ‘day’

You can even go so far as to create your own day that more directly aligns with your cause. This requires a more comprehensive campaign and the desire to spend time developing it for people to adopt. However, it is doable you just need to commit to a full marketing plan and shout it from the rooftops.

For example, I worked with the USO to create the Patriotic Six—the six weeks between Memorial Day and Independence Day. By the second year, the media reached out to ask us what we were doing for those six weeks, something we had created just a year prior. We called it their signature campaign.

Build a campaign 

Whether you’re working off of an existing awareness day or creating your own (or both!), you need to build a campaign around it for maximum exposure. Research what the day’s hashtag is and incorporate it into all of your posts. Also, consider creating your own hashtag that you can add and encourage your supporters to use it, too. You could add your brand’s name or acronym at the end of the hashtag, for example. 

But, in your posts, you have to decide what your goals are because that will inform your CTA. If you want to increase brand awareness, you could tell your story as it relates to the day you’re celebrating. Or, you could offer a promotion in order to encourage a specific action. Let’s break that down:

Offer a promotion

If you’re looking to tie a promotion to the day, drill down on what action you’re looking for. It could be a donation, to subscribe to email, or to sign up for an event. Whatever it is, you then need to decide what you’re offering. Maybe you will match donations to an organization that aligns with the awareness day. Or maybe you want to offer a discounted ticket price for an upcoming event that ties to the awareness day if someone subscribes to your email list. 

Tell a story 

You may just want to tell your story and amplify it using the awareness day. This could mean simply driving people to your website to learn more about what it is that you do or support. So, do just that! Tell your story and talk about why the awareness day is so important to your organization and its cause. By aligning with the honorary day and using the hashtag, you’ll have an increased audience. 

Awareness days are excellent tentpoles to create marketing campaigns around, but remember to pick ones that really resonate with your organization and your supporters. Having a campaign around an awareness day every month is probably too much. Instead, be selective and strategic about which ones you choose to create campaigns for.