Turning Awareness into Action: Making the Most of Disease Awareness Months

This Monday, I walked into the coffee shop on my corner for my morning caffeine fix and noticed something different — the lid on my coffee cup was pink, not the usual bland off-white. The pop of color reminded me: Breast Cancer Awareness month!

It was unmistakable, and even though it’s a cause very close to my heart (indeed, a close family friend just started chemotherapy after a double mastectomy), it was the pink coffee lid that reminded me it was time to make a donation to one of the many organizations that fight to find a cure.

Disease awareness months are essential opportunities for causes in the health advocacy, research, and direct service space. November, for example, provides diabetes charities an unparalleled platform for driving awareness of the fact that the disease is the leading cause of blindness in adults and that treating it costs us $174 billion every year. [Source: Joslin Diabetes Center]

That kind of awareness is a powerful motivator to contribute to a cause — but how do you catalyze awareness into action?

We’ve seen causes that work to fight disease take highly effective steps to leverage their awareness months into donations and new donors. Here’s some examples of how they’ve done it!

Large-Scale Events with Awareness and Donation Opportunities

As Diabetes Awareness Month approaches, the American Diabetes Association has been ramping up its events. They recently reached thousands of people at the Washington State Fair with a highly interactive experience — a Ninja Warrior Course.

At this event, they put their messaging in front of new eyes — and they converted those Washington ninja warriors into ADA donors by soliciting donations at the entrance to the courses. (Just three ADA DipJars generated over $10,000 in donations during the fair.)

Events like this — whether they’re unrelated to the cause, like a state fair, or highly relevant, like a run/walk event — are perfect opportunities to turn attendees into supporters and supporters into donors, as long as you have a low-friction giving opportunity to capture them.

Cause Marketing Campaigns

The focused period of a month is also a great time to launch a cause marketing campaign with a corporate or retail partner. The limited time horizon ensures that staff behind the counter and customers at checkout don’t get fatigued. Industry experts say that 50% of intake from a point-of-sale campaign can happen within the first two weeks — after that, the call to action gets stale.

The Faces of Diabetes, a local diabetes charity in Alabama, leveraged targeted deployments of DipJars in local stores to generate donations.

At DipJar, we like that our hardware is plug-and-play, allowing even small businesses to launch cause marketing relationships with charities. No sophisticated software required at the register — just plug a DipJar in you’re collecting for a cause!

Additionally, the DipJar and its signage create a powerful billboarding effect driving much broader awareness of the charity and its mission. 

On-Site Collections at Relevant Locations

The Washington State Fair and local stores in Birmingham, Alabama, were great places for the ADA and Faces of Diabetes to reach new potential supporters — to educate them about diabetes and to turn them into donors with an easy giving opportunity.

But disease awareness months also provide the opportunity to remind people who are already engaged and affected to re-up their participation and donation.

For example, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation in Utah has five DipJars that they deploy at their base of operations to turn their already-engaged visitors into donors. Targeted solicitations around cancer-related awareness months can help keep this fundraising fresh.

Disease Awareness Calendar (Courtesy of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion):

  • January – Cervical Health Awareness Month
  • February – American Heart Month
  • February – Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
  • March – Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • April – Alcohol Awareness Month
  • May – National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
  • May – Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
  • June 27 – National HIV Testing Day
  • June – National Safety Month
  • August – National Immunization Awareness Month
  • September – National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
  • September – Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month
  • October – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • November – American Diabetes Month
  • December 1 – World AIDS Day

Have thoughts or questions about how to turn awareness into action for your cause? Don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’d love to chat with you — perhaps over a coffee with an eye-popping pink lid :)