Starting Awareness Campaigns: A Dummy’s Guide

If you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything. At least, that’s how the saying goes. And in today’s polarized world, isn’t there still truth to that? We are guided or misguided by our beliefs. We allow them to define us, or we define ourselves by them. We fight, or refuse to fight, over them. And everyone has them, or almost everybody.

Beliefs. So if you’ve finally found something to believe in, you’re ready to get out and speak truth to the masses, or to power, or to anyone who will listen. You’re prepared to proselytize; you’re set to subvert; you’re raring to roar. You’re looking to let loose, sing songs, print custom pins, and get the word out.

Where do you start? Too many great ideas and ideologies never get out of the house because the person who conceptualized them didn’t know how to spread the message. By the same token, plenty of pretty terrible ideas have taken root and grown prodigiously because the owner of the idea was a real go-getter. (We’re looking at you, Simon Cowell.)

Hint: It Starts On a Soapbox, Like It Always Did.

The first thing you’ve got to realize is: you can’t do it alone. If you are the only one who believes what you believe, you’re sort of missing the point. So the key is awareness. Being aware, and making others aware. Whether you believe in God or conservation or Democrats or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the most important thing about a belief is that you get others to believe it, as well.

Here’s a few legs to stand on while you kickstart your revolution:

  1. Don’t take the custom pins comment lightly. People love pins and buttons and stickers, and if you can package your cause with brevity and aplomb, snazzy custom pins might be just the ticket to getting people to wear your heart on their sleeve.
  2. Have a mission statement. If you know what you believe, but not why you believe it, or what it means to believe it, you aren’t ready. When you tell someone what you’re doing, you need to be able to succinctly state your purpose and reasoning, in words both few and powerful, and you’ll need to do it a lot. It helps to have it formulated ahead of time. If you need help, check out some resources on writing or exceeding – a mission statement.
  3. Get a hold of some experts. Assuming your idea isn’t 100% original, someone probably believed it or something similar at some point in history. Find the believers with some authority on the subject, and get them behind you. Quote them, quiz them, and invite them to speak on your cause’s behalf. It’s a lot like expert witnesses at a court trial. It lends you legitimacy.
  4. Do the legwork. It won’t happen automatically, and word of mouth has to start somewhere. So hang posters, flyer parking lots, give speeches in parks, attend local fairs, write to your paper, write to your councilman, write to your Senator, write everybody. Hold rallies. Involve the community. If your idea is a good one, this should be enough to jumpstart the process. Intelligence and zeal are catalysts. Start a fire under someone, and they’ll pass it on.
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