Campaign for Autism: Onesie Wednesday 2 April

Campaign for autism in your onesie and raise millions on Wednesday?  Fingers crossed! Cancer Research UK probably still can’t believe their luck, with over £8 million raised through the #nomakeupselfie campaign started by a teenage mum from Stoke.  If this helps them to carry out 10 new clinical trials into cancer then who cares how it started or who did it?  As most charities know, raising awareness is tough, raising money even tougher, especially when so many organisations are ‘competing’ for our support.

Social media explosion

The #nomakeupselfie phenomenon may not have been orchestrated by a marketing genius, but it contained many of the features which can give a campaign the appeal to explode on social media: it offered something compelling; it was easy to share, and it was interactive.  Admittedly some people accidentally sent money to UNICEF (texting ‘donate’ instead of ‘beat’) and some found themselves inquiring about adopting a polar bear from the World Wildlife Fund (autocorrect on a smartphone changes ‘beat’ to ‘bear’), but apart from these few slips, the campaign was simple and effortless.

Getting your campaign noticed

With a plethora of awareness months, weeks and days, many charities struggle to get noticed.  Wednesday 26 March was Purple Day, dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy, a condition which affects around 600,000 people in the UK.  I must admit, I didn’t see much purple and I’m not aware of a massive influx of funds through the text ‘donate’ to 70500.

Tomorrow’s campaign for autism – Onesie Wednesday – organised by The National Autistic Society, coincides with World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April, and aims to spread the word that it’s okay to be different.  700,000 people in the UK live with autism and if we include their families, 2.8 million people are affected every day – just ask my niece who has three young boys all on the autistic spectrum.  Perhaps if we take a selfie in a onesie…or a selfie in a onesie whilst commuting to work…or a selfie in a onesie whilst abseiling down the outside of The Gherkin on a space hopper..?

Whatever you decide to do for your campaign, make sure you: inspire an emotional response; do something unexpected; promote sharing; connect with your audience, light the touch paper and let it go…viral!

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