Claim your square in 2016


Whether they are digital or paper, calendars usually involve squares. Fifty-two weeks and 365-days’ worth of them. Does your non-profit have claim on at least one of those squares? If not, make that a promotional goal for 2016.

I’ve always been a tad cynical and skeptical of “awareness” campaigns. October has been a sea of pink for years, and like other writers, I’ve wondered if it makes a lick of difference.

If your non-profit already is a force for positive change, the answer is, absolutely.

Cultures, nations and religions have their biggest days/weeks of the year. Your mission should as well. It is a time to share facts about the important cause of your work and to tell stories of real lives that have been changed because you were there doing that work.

Find your time on the calendar, or make it yourself, and plan a solid campaign of education, celebration and appeal for support. Start with a goal and a call to action for current and potential supporters. Next, collect facts about your cause, the work itself and the impact you are having in your community. Brainstorm volunteer-driven activities, visuals (for example, autism awareness uses the symbol of puzzle pieces), how to involve clients, etc.

Psychology Today has a great awareness calendar that may be helpful. Here are just a few “causes” that could apply to different organizations:

  • Random Acts of Kindness
  • Mentoring
  • World Health
  • Stress Awareness
  • Family Support
  • World Kindness
  • Scholarship
  • Self-Awareness
  • Children

If you can’t find a fit, brainstorm with staff, volunteers, clients and board members to create one. It could be the date your organization was founded or when ground was broken on a facility. Maybe there was a specific date that your organization reached a milestone in the number of clients served, bags of groceries given, children adopted, animals rescued.

Research the date to make sure it’s not already crowded with other causes, then approach community leaders and request an “official” declaration day for your organization or cause. Contact the mayor, county executive, board of education, hospital, college, etc. Plan a ceremony around the announcement to kick off your campaign.

With even a modest budget and some dedicated volunteers, you can stake claim to a space on the calendar that can raise awareness of the good work you are doing. If you need ideas or assistance, please contact me.



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