This past Friday (February 7) marked National Wear Red Day. The day is designated by the Go Red For Women organization, which this year is celebrating its tenth anniversary. I have always thought that this cause was extremely clever and well-done, so this week I thought I would offer some lessons that your cause may be able to borrow from the Go Red team.
1. Tie your cause to something almost everyone will be familiar with
In the case of the Go Red cause, it is no accident that February is the month of choice for their awareness campaign. Many people, when they think of February, think of Valentine’s Day, which is all about love and the heart (just in a slightly romantic way). Is there a way that your cause could (with some subtlety) piggy-back on an important day that would help make your cause more accessible and more fun? For example, if your organization focuses on feeding the hungry, it’s easy to tie your cause and awareness events around Thanksgiving.
2. Your cause or awareness campaign should be easy to remember
If you want people to spread the word about your efforts, making the name one that is easy to remember is essential. Go Red for Women is short and says a lot with just four words. It also invites the questions: “Why go red? What does that mean?” Hone in your awareness campaign or cause name so that it is snappy, easy to remember, and effective in enticing people to look for more information.
3. Tie education to your cause
The Go Red campaign does an excellent job of offering very important educational tips on its website, and these are publicized throughout February. For example, there is an entire section on their website regarding how to educate and advocate for heart disease prevention. There is another entire section of the website called “Know Your Risk.” The organization has done an effective job of making their website both a fundraising hub AND an important educational resource.
4. Offer advice on how people can involve themselves
Obviously National Wear Red Day is a pretty simple invitation for people to get involved in the campaign. Wear red on the designated day to show your support. However, the Go Red website also offers many other ideas regarding how to get involved in their work. This serves not only as a good place to ask for donations but it also gives people other ideas about how to spread the word about the campaign while also working to fight heart disease.
5. Explain clearly why your cause or campaign is important
When you are involved in a cause, the reasons are apparent. Of course you need to do that. There is a problem and it needs to be solved. However, problems are not always apparent to people who aren’t involved, and the solution may seem like a lot of work for no good reason. The Go Red group has clarified that they exist because heart disease has taken the lives of far more women than men. They are looking to fill the educational gap and whatever else is causing that difference between men and women. What is your cause trying to do? Why is that important? It may seem patently obvious to you, but you know what they say about people who assume.
What other lessons do you think you could garner from the Go Red success? Have you tried any of these steps, and did they work for you? We’d love to hear from you!