Developing a national day to annually rally around your industry (or a related cause) is an excellent way to boost awareness for both your organization and its mission. Not only will this help with member engagement, but you’ll also be working toward starting a larger conversation about something important to you, your members and your industry. Bonus? You’ll be giving the public a platform and the resources they need to talk about it (for some of that invaluable word-of-mouth marketing).But oh boy - where to even begin?! It may sound daunting, but in a world where International Talk Like a Pirate Day exists and is successful (yes, this is a real thing), we’re confident you can pull it off. Our advice: start small and grow it! Here are a few steps to get you going - who knows, 2024 could be the inaugural year! Step One: Identifying Your Unique Niche in the National Awareness Day Landscape Do a little research to see if there is already an awareness day surrounding your industry...and then don’t do that. Hang on now, don’t be discouraged! This step will simply eliminate a copycat day, and unnecessary competition with something that your association would naturally support anyway. You can still start a national awareness day of your own, just be sure that its purpose is unique. Similar events among similar organizations could even present partnership opportunities in the future! Step Two: Strategically Selecting the Ideal Date for Your National Awareness Day Now that you already know what’s out there - and more importantly, what isn’t - it’s time to pick a date. Consider the following factors: When do you host your biggest events? Which month is the slowest month for events? Member engagement? Which month is the slowest month for your website traffic? What other things typically happen around that time of year that should be avoided? (major sporting events, major holidays, elections, etc.) Do you want to choose a day, or specific date? (the first Tuesday in April vs. April 3 every year, no matter what day of the week it falls on) By using analytics from your association website, you can find out if there are dips of inactivity in your industry, and you can use that time to spark interest. If your industry is seasonal, you will have some ‘down time’ to manage your national day. Or, if you decide to incorporate your largest event of the year, you can lead up to or kick off your national day around that event. Whatever you chose, commit to sticking with the same day year after year so it’s easy to remember, and people begin to recognize and expect it. Step Three: Engaging Your Audience - Participation Ideas for Your National Awareness Day Imperative to an effective awareness day is knowing (ahead of time) how you want participants to...well, participate! Should they wear a certain color? Shop at certain locations? Post some specific content to social media? This will largely be determined by the theme of your day and your cause, but whatever you do - get creative! You’re raising awareness here, people. Whatever the activity is, make sure it’s something that will stand out! Step Four: Creatively Naming Your National Awareness Day for Maximum Impact Did you think I forgot? This is a super important step, of course - but the preceding three steps could change your game plan, so you want to tackle those items first. Plus, determining the components of your day before you name it will let you have fun with it. Like, if Star Wars Day was any day but May 4 every year, could they call it May the Fourth? No, no they couldn’t. Similarly, Red Nose Day wouldn’t make any sense if wearing a red clown’s nose wasn’t the desired means of participation. See what I’m saying? Get all your ducks in a row before you come up with an official name so you don’t have to pivot. Step Five: Establishing a Central Online Hub for Your National Awareness Day This is the biggie. On your website, you’ll need a landing page dedicated to information about your day. This page should house: Overview of Your National Awareness Day: A clear description of what the day is about, including facts and statistics about your cause. Participation Resources: Provide items and tools to help individuals and businesses participate and promote the day. Shareable Online Content: Offer graphics, videos, temporary profile pictures, cover photos, pre-written social media posts, and tweets. Educational Materials: Include information relevant to your cause for visitors who want to learn more and promote beyond the day itself. Donation Options: If applicable, provide a way for visitors to contribute financially to your cause. Social Media Integration: Links to your social media channels and hashtags for the event. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Address common questions and concerns, and update this section as needed based on user inquiries. Step Six: Effective Promotion Strategies for Your National Awareness Day Once you have developed your national day and a place for your users to connect with you about it, you’ll need to promote it. This list is will help you get started with getting the word out: Email blast to your membership and any organizations you’re partnered with Contact local TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, online calendars - anyone that can act as a megaphone for you! Post to your social media accounts Solicit a local or industry celebrity to help promote to their following Register on online forums that promote National Days (note that some websites require a fee) Step Seven: Maximizing Engagement on Your National Awareness Day Don’t spend all that time planning, preparing and promoting to let it all fall flat the day of! Post on social media and engage with others who are participating. If your day doesn’t already revolve around one, arrange for some kind of in person event that participants (and journalists!) can attend. Even if it’s something small, having a bunch of people participating in one place will help you show the world that this is a cause people care about, and give you more material to promote your day each year. Which brings me to... Step Eight: The Registration Process Now, for the exciting part - making it official! Head over to the National Day Calendar's website or the National Day Archives. On these platforms, registering your day is as simple as filling out a form. But, remember, the details are crucial, so make sure you've got everything just right. National Day Calendar: This platform is a leader in registering official National Days, Weeks, or Months. If you're looking to celebrate and amplify your cause, registering here is a great choice. National Day Archives: Registering here is quick and easy. You have three levels of listings to choose from, based on how you plan to celebrate your day. Fill out their online form, verify your information, pay the application fee, and you're all set! Once your application is approved, you'll receive a certificate of registry. Choose Your Listing Level: The National Day Archives offers different listing levels, depending on your needs: Premium Listing: Perfect for making a big splash. Your day gets a permanent spot on their Master Calendar, and you get a dedicated web page and a certificate to share. This is ideal for showing your passion or as a creative marketing tool. Standard Listing: Offers the same benefits as the Premium Listing, minus the reserved premium name. You get to be on the Master Calendar and have a dedicated web page. It's a great option if you're looking for something comprehensive yet straightforward. Proclamation Day: Ideal for honoring a special person or occasion without the need for a permanent web page or Master Calendar listing. This option is more affordable and still lets you celebrate in a big way with a professionally designed electronic certification. And that’s it! By following these steps, you're not just marking a date on the calendar; you're creating a moment that celebrates your association's mission and brings your community together. So go ahead, take the plunge and register your National Awareness Day! Sustaining Momentum - Planning for Future National Awareness Days The first step in any journey is the hardest. What didn’t go so well that you could improve on next year? What went GREAT that you could capitalize on? Once you’ve made that first step, the key to is to make the commitment to learning from the experience and keeping it going year after year. If you are mindful when building your content and resources each year, you can recycle most of the information and just update dates and data! That way a lot of the leg work will be done after the first year, and you can focus on improving on promotion and engagement.I cannot stress it enough - don’t be nervous to give this a shot! If it helps, try thinking about your national awareness day as simply an online event. You can always start small, but if you have a big idea, I say you GO FOR IT! Let us help you nail it with our MemberClicks add-on product, Conference App, that takes your events to the next level.