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The 411 on Planning an Online Event for your Cause

The only thing you need when planning a campaign to raise awareness for your cause is the desire to make change happen…

Of course, there are many other components in planning any type of campaign, network or mission that aims to influence the public and media but, in order to do so, you must be committed to your mission and the endless hours it may take to see it through.

As an advocate, I would love to move mountains with one single thought, story or event but, I have learned you sometimes need to start small. Even if you are reaching just a handful of people it’s about making a difference and building a loyal network in which you create a foundation for larger scale campaigns in the future.

Online campaigns, in particular, offer low maintenance, low cost, target audiences and the ability to be far-reaching. It in many ways can be like running a non-profit for your cause, with infinitely less manpower and regulation.

How so?

    • Your social profile and platforms create your mission
    • Your followers are your volunteers helping spread your message
    • Your posts are your advertisements creating engagements and partnerships
    • Your online brand/campaign can trend catching the eye of influencers and media
    • Your networks can cross platforms to become a worldwide movement

So now that you have your virtual non-profit, how to you get your message heard? You need to determine what you want to say, whom you want to influence and the outcome you desire from your campaign. My current campaign #TealEggsforPCOS coming in April, is a campaign to raise awareness for PCOS and Infertility…. I used the following techniques to create the upcoming event!

Determine What to Say

Ask your community members what topics are important to them.
My community determined they wanted more information on Infertility for PCOS

Research events that have a connection to your cause or message…..
Researching infertility, I found Resolve.org was running #NIAW from April 23-29

Present ideas to others for feedback and critique
As women with PCOS deal with anovulatory infertility (no ovulation) and it is the month of Easter, I married the idea of eggs for lack of ovulation, teal our PCOS awareness color and baskets which are meant to deliver hope…. Hence, #TealEggsforPCOS

Identifying Your Audience and Potential Partnerships

Identify your target audience

My April campaign aims to offer information and support to those dealing with infertility who have PCOS, (up to 70% of infertility in women is from PCOS) and many, do not know it.

Identify possible partnerships

I work with members of my community, networks, and influencers who may have voices, products or followers that can help deliver mutually beneficial messages through cross promotion, shared events and common messages – put in a hashtag and review the people, companies, and organizations who follow it.

Identify possible sponsors

There are many companies that offer products, treatments, consultations and coaching for various conditions, promotion of better health and better business. Like you, they are on social media to build a network and get their information out to many who may be interested in what they have to offer. Reach out to these influencers and businesses to see if there is a connection that may work for both of you. Remember the worse that could happen is someone says no… then you simply move on to someone who will say yes.

Identify experts/Influencers

Sometimes all you have to do is ask… Many doctors, professionals and community leaders want to help and will host chats and/or write posts and blogs for your cause. Reach out to these individuals tell them what you are trying to accomplish and why. Over time you may build a strong relationship and partnership in which they can help you contact and influence lawmakers, health groups, and organizations and strengthen your message and give your brand more credibility! WARNING – Do not go into this half-heartedly, these individuals are donating their time and expertise to you, have a plan in place when you contact them.

Set Goals for Your Campaign

It may seem odd but, the first step in deciding on what you want your campaign to be is to determine the impact you want your campaign to have!

Your unique hashtag, influencers, experts, and message are ready to go now you need to:

Generate a list of what you are trying to do

– Spread awareness for your cause
– Drive traffic to your network, website or blog
– Connect with influencers who can help effectuate changes
– Get to know your community better through engagement opportunities

Determine the information you want to share and the format to share it

– What is your cause?
– Why is your cause important?
– Why should people care and get involved?
– Are you looking for funding, partners a stronger voice for your message?

Consider the audience you wish to reach

– Your community members
– Public and media
– Professionals, doctors, experts, organizations, government

It is now time to put everything together…….

Once you have mapped out your plan its time to put it into action….

Pick the best time to kick off your event

– Have an online party or community meet n’ greet
– Time should be easily accessible to multiple time zones
– Plan special announcements, contest, and special guests

Promote your event, partners, and sponsors

– Use eye-catching graphics, gifs, and teasers
– Include bios, graphics, and websites of your partners, hosts and experts
– Cross promote with other organizations, advocates, and networks with similar messages

HAVE FUN…..

– The most important part of hosting an online event is being able to enjoy what you are doing and to feel fulfilled doing it…..

It is always important to remember, one small step, voice, plan and/or gathering can lead to much bigger things… Your event does not have to attract thousands of people to make an impact!

Even if you are changing the life of just a handful of people, you are making change happen….

From a single voice/idea, you can create an event….

From an event, a movement can grow…

and from a movement… you can change the world!

To learn more about my upcoming event for April #TealEggsforPCOS please visit my event page:
https://www.facebook.com/TealEggsforPCOS/


Ashley has worked with the PCOS Community over the past 16 years, starting in 2000 as a PCOS Chat moderator on About. Com. Ashley served as a volunteer for PCOSA as a chapter coordinator from 2001-2002, Development Director 2002 -2003 and executive director 2003-2004 Advisory Board Member to PCOStrategies 2003-2004, PCOS Coordinator at Drexel PCOS Center from 2004-2007, founder and COO of Project PCOS from 2006-2008 and was a board of directors advisor to PCOSAA 2014-2015. Ashley continues to advocate for better treatment and awareness for PCOS with The online PCOS Petition, #LemonFaceChallenge and #HeartforPCOS and has made appearances to raise PCOS awareness including; Discovery Health Channel – Mystery Diagnosis, Fox News, The 10! Show WCAU, Woman’s World Magazine, as well other media. Recipient of 2002 PCOSA Chairmans Award and a top ten finalist for Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2008 for PCOS. Advocacy. Recipient of Ricardo Azziz PCOS Challenge Leadership Advocacy Award 2016 and WEGO Health finalist 2016 – Health Activist Hero.

Twitter/IG/FB: @PCOSgurl


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