“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. A large contributor of organising a successful awareness raising effort is great communication. The quality of any relationship (with families, patient organisations, clinicians, institutions and companies) comes down to the quality of good communication. Learning how to communicate effectively goes a long way in creating personal connection and thus, a greater impact of your fundraiser, event or campaign. Here are seven tips to effective awareness communication, regardless of the type of effort.
1. ORGANISE, ORGANISE, ORGANISE
Good project management can make your effort so much less tiring. Create an online document containing a list of participants, programme, list of timings, speakers, and sort out venue & logistics in advance. Assign responsibilities to people who you can build upon. ALWAYS have a backup plan for key pieces of your effort, for example an important speaker or if your event is outside.
2. Ask for testimonials
People don’t just want to hear you talk, they are also interested in hearing other people’s stories. Use the dictaphone function on your mobile or another digital voice recorder to gather experiences, thoughts and insights from participants. If you want to post them on social media, make sure you have consent to use it for those purposes. You can make a list of questions to ask that you can rotate during your interview rounds.
3. Get social
In the days before your event, start making noise in the social arena. Create an event on Facebook, set up a hashtag to collect all things related to your event in one place, and tag or mention influential figures: this may be persons, organisations or institutions. If you organise a conference, you can think of broadcasting or livestreaming the event on Facebook.
4. Engage the press
Journalists are a powerful source to engage and broaden your impact, especially towards the civil society that are not related to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. However, they are short on time. Disseminate a press release that contains all the information they need to create an article. A press release contains a strong title, key insights, background, a summary, contact details and high resolution pictures.
5. ensure follow-up
After your event ended, do not stop here. By creating momentum during your event, you can spark engagement with participants and stakeholders to keep going. Are there certain actions that derive from your event? Is a working group starting, or new collaboration efforts? Did new insights and stories emerge from your gathering? This can serve as a basis for new publications.
6. Build a strong team
Create message groups to align your team and ensure everyone is aware of their role. Ask around for volunteers that can take care of tasks like registration, taking pictures, engaging on social media and creating fun activities for children to attend. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. Remember the proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
7. MAKE IT VISUAL
In the hectic days in advance and during your event, documenting it visually and in text might not be on the top of your list. However, images and notes create the fundamentals of your communication. Hire a photographer, or ask someone to take high quality pictures in landscape on their mobile phones, and collect them in a central cloud storage place like Dropbox or Drive.
Organising an event can be a very stressful job with too many things going on at the same moment, but effective communication with your team and participants can ensure a smooth job. Once you see the gains of good communication and the benefits it brings for your community, your time spent on communication will be more effective and meaningful.