This is the third article in the three-part series on non-profit organizations and social media. In previous posts we have looked at planning and getting started with social media, as well as using social media for fundraising. In this post we will look at using social media as a tool for awareness campaigns.

Social media is an ideal and low cost forum for running an awareness campaign for your organization and there are several ways you can do this.

Take Advantage of Cause Awareness Days or Months

As you may have noticed on your social media feeds there are many cause awareness days and months. Nonprofit Tech for Good, a social and mobile media blog for nonprofits, has published a calendar of awareness days. As they recommend, review the calendar and decide which days are most relevant to your organization. From there, explore the various pages and hashtags associated with these days to see which ones are most popular. Design a campaign or a specific post for these days. This is also a good way to identify possible partnerships for promoting cause awareness.

Partnership and Collaboration

For any given cause there are several organizations that serve a similar purpose, however they might be differentiated by their specific function or geographic location. Working together to create an awareness campaign will enable you to increase overall knowledge of your cause, to show collaboration and initiative (always appealing to donors), and to leverage each other’s social networks.

At William Joseph we recently had the opportunity to work with Kids Cancer Care on an awareness campaign for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Big Book of Care campaign speaks for childhood cancer charities across Canada, operates as a community resource to share the story of childhood cancer, and offers easy links to the donate pages of regional childhood cancer charities. One aspect of this campaign was social media and the opportunity to connect all childhood cancer charities pages under the Big Book of Care Facebook and Twitter accounts. They also used a unified hashtag #bigbookofcare to share stories and events happening all across Canada during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Take Advantage of an Existing Hashtag

Instead of starting from scratch build on an already popular hashtag. Pay close attention to what is trending and determine whether or not you can take advantage of this. Although it is now a few years old, Water is Life’s First World Problems Anthem video features Haitians reading real tweets with the hashtag #firstworldproblems. This controversial, yet impactful video, was so popular that the #firstworldproblems hashtag quickly became associated with Water is Life.

Celebrity Endorsements

Easier said than done, but working with a celebrity, even a local one to raise brand and cause awareness can be far reaching. A post associated with a high profile account will always have higher reach and can attract attention outside of your network.

As always, try things and if they don’t work, modify and try again. Who could have predicted that something as simple as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge would have the impact it did? Maybe your campaign will be the next thing to go viral!