Should Your Business Get Involved in an Awareness Campaign?
By Rieva Lesonsky,
Campaigns to raise awareness of (and funds to fight) health issues, diseases and social ills are becoming so prevalent, just about every day of the year is dedicated to some type of awareness. Should your small business get involved? If so, what’s the best way to do so?
Getting involved with an awareness campaign can be a great way to spur customer spending and attract new customers. Clients like knowing that the companies they support also support the issues they care about. According to a Euclid study, 85% of consumers say they prefer to patronize businesses that give to charities.
Choose your issue
As you can see from this directory, there is a wide range of health-related public awareness campaigns. Whether your cause is raising awareness of autism, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease or the benefits of yoga, there are days, weeks or months devoted to that topic. So how do you choose?
Find the connection
You can select an issue that ties into your business. For instance, it would make more sense for a swimwear boutique to raise awareness of skin cancer than for a tire store to do so, because there’s a natural connection between swimming, sunbathing and skin cancer.
You can also select a cause that relates to your business in a personal way. For instance, a restaurant I know participates in fundraising for cancer research every year because one of the co-founders died of cancer. For a small, local business where your customers know you and your story, this can be very effective.
Be a big fish in a small pond
Some high-profile awareness campaigns (such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October) have so many big brands behind them that a small company’s efforts may get lost in the noise. Instead, why not look for a lesser-known awareness campaign, such as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month (May) or Healthy Aging Month (September)?
Partnering with a nonprofit related to your chosen awareness issue can benefit both your business and the organization. There are over 1.5 million registered nonprofit organizations in the U.S., according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). If you plan to partner with or donate to a nonprofit or charity, check them out thoroughly first. Getting involved with an organization that has a bad reputation can hurt your business’s reputation, too. Use CharityNavigator or CharityCheck10 to look up information about charities, and do an internet search to see if you uncover any complaints.
Follow the leader
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Is a current awareness campaign already catching fire? Instead of creating your own marketing ideas around it, just join the crowd (plenty of small businesses participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for instance). Getting involved will generate attention for both your business and the cause.
Once you’ve chosen the issue you want to draw attention to, follow these tips to make your efforts a success:
Making it work
Need more ideas for how you can raise awareness? Suppose you own a mattress store and want to create a campaign around National Sleep Awareness Month (it’s in March).
These are just a few ideas for attracting attention to both your business and your awareness cause. Get your team together to brainstorm, and I’m sure you’ll think of many more.
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