Is an awareness campaign a good idea for your nonprofit?

Aug 25, 2022

As a fundraiser, you know it’s not always easy to rise above the noise. But being creative and finding a way comes with the territory when you work in nonprofit development. And an awareness campaign can be a great way to do it!

But these strategies require a unique approach, whether you’re planning a campaign around a particular day of awareness related to your mission, looking for ways to stand out on occasions like GivingTuesday, or want to grow your network of potential supporters.

And an awareness campaign is one of the most effective ways your nonprofit can vary your communications and stand out from the crowd. Here’s what you need to know before you get started!

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What is your goal?

It’s important to start by identifying the end goal of your campaign so you can develop a strategic message that will tie all the elements of your outreach together. This is pretty straightforward for initiatives like a capital campaign, where your goal is to expand services by funding a new building or facility.

But awareness campaigns are a bit more ambiguous. The overarching goal of any awareness campaign is to provide greater visibility for your nonprofit and its mission. But this is a lot like saying the purpose of a capital campaign is to “build a building.”

So, be more specific with your goals and use that to shape your message. Instead of “reach more people,” set a goal of “add X new potential donors to our mailing list” or “secure X new social media followers.”

This will help you craft communications with a clearer call-to-action, like “Follow us on Instagram so you can see the impact we make every day.”

READ MORE: Why your nonprofit’s call-to-action doesn’t work. 

Consider standing our on GivingTuesday by running an awareness campaign, rather than sending an appeal.

Standing out on GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday is coming up fast! The biggest day of giving worldwide falls on November 29 this year. And your supporters will probably receive a GivingTuesday email appeal from every nonprofit they’ve ever engaged with.

A donor’s inbox is a noisy place, especially on GivingTuesday. But you can stand out by thinking differently about your outreach.

Take this opportunity to run an awareness campaign instead of asking for a GivingTuesday donation like every other nonprofit. This approach will help your communications cut through the clutter and allows your audience to learn more about why your mission is so important.

Taking the time to do something different and raise awareness for your cause may be enough to entice some donors to visit your website and make a gift on their own.

You can also track which recipients clicked on an awareness email and then pay special attention to them when you send your year-end appeal. You may even add a versioned line for those who clicked,, saying, “We’re so glad you wanted to learn more about our mission. Now, we want to show you how you can make an impact.”

FREE eBOOK: GivingTuesday – Your nonprofit’s holistic approach. 

FREE eBOOK: GivingTuesday - Your nonprofit's holistic approach.

Use existing awareness days.

When is the right time to launch an awareness campaign?

Well, like many answers related to fundraising, it’s different for every nonprofit. However, there’s a good chance there’s already an existing day, week, or month of awareness related to your cause.

And an existing awareness day can be an excellent focal point of your campaign.

For example, organizations fighting for racial and social justice can plan a series of awareness messages during February for Black History Month. A youth-focused organization can create an awareness campaign that centers around National Stop Bullying day on October 12.

There are a ton of possibilities here and we’re sure there is already an awareness day that ties in well with your mission. So, never let a good day go to waste! If you need some help, is a great resource to find awareness days you may not have known about.

And be sure to use any established #AwarenessDayHashtags to help your social posts reach a wider audience.

READ MORE: Quick tips to improve your nonprofit’s message.

Make sure you use any established #AwarenessDayHashtags to help your social posts reach a wider audience.

Choose the proper channels.

You know you need to go surround sound with your fundraising communications if you want to reach the right supporters, make an impression, and inspire them to engage with your organization.

But this doesn’t just apply to your appeal campaigns and other major fundraising initiatives. Using the multi-channel strategy for your awareness campaigns makes it more likely the right individuals will see and absorb your message.

The campaign goals you set earlier will help you determine which channels should be prioritized and which serve as more of a secondary touch.

For example, if your goal is to secure new followers on a specific social media site, that platform will be your primary channel. You may decide to run a social media ad campaign to reach more people! And then you can follow up with an email to supporters already on your list to make sure they are following your social networks too.

However, a campaign that aims to raise awareness and engagement among your current contacts would prioritize email as the primary channel with support from your social networks. You can support those messages with a postcard in the mail.

READ MORE: Are you going surround sound with your outreach?

Your awareness campaign's goal will help you determine which channels to prioritize.

It’s not always about the money.

What makes your nonprofit’s work possible?

If you answered “donations,” we hate to break it to you, but you need to think bigger. After all, those donations don’t materialize from thin air!

Inspiring individuals with similar goals and motivations as your nonprofit is a much better answer. Yet, too many nonprofits focus solely on securing support and neglect other important elements of their nonprofit’s outreach, like an awareness campaign!

After all, it’s unlikely someone will give the very first time they hear from your nonprofit. You need to work to grow relationships with these individuals to secure long-term support. And the first step is making sure they are aware of the problem you’re trying to solve and that your organization is working hard to make a difference.

Do you want to grow your networks and build the case for why your work is important? Then it’s time your nonprofit started planning an awareness campaign.

Like what you see? Stay in touch!

FREE eBOOK: GivingTuesday - Your nonprofit's holistic approach