Tips to Run an Effective NGO Sensitisation CampaignIdes Ofune 5th March 2019 1 COMMENT
So you are running an NGO sensitisation campaign by sending out information to change behaviour or convince people to take a certain course of action. You have the funds from donors and overall, you want the message to be effective. The fact is that nowadays, most non-governmental organisations already have their channels through which they regularly send out information. However, that you are sending out information does not mean that it’s effectively passing across the message and achieving its objectives. As actors in the non for profit sector, you have the obligation to use donor funds in ways that bring about change. The tips below will help you ensure that your message is reaching the right people and not just ticking the box:
Know your target audience: the first thing is to establish the group of people you want to reach. The truth is that your message cannot resonate with the whole population. For example, is your message towards children immunisation? Then your target audience will principally be women within a certain age group say 25 – 40. If you are working on producing data, you might want to target policy makers, government officials, civil society organisations who are the primary users of data and are able to consume it in the format you are presenting it. Establishing your target audience will enable you streamline your message and use the particular kind of language they understand.
Main Channel of Influence: knowing this is the key and crucial. How do they get the information regularly and how are they influenced? Through newspapers, radio, social media for example? And if social media what platform? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp? Or are you target audience influenced through their religious leaders, community elders or education authorities? For example, if sensitising people against vote buying during elections, the poor numerically dominate the electorate in many low-income democracies and are usually the target of vote buying. To make your campaign really effective, social media will then not be the right channel. The poor in many low income countries do not use social media. You could use town hall meetings, market places, religious houses or door to door campaign. You should meet them where they are and use their natural platform of influence. A movement’s impact is critically conditioned by the route through which people arrive at the decision to assert that information is theirs by right.
Relevance of Information: some messages might sound interesting but not really useful for your target audience. For example, if you are promoting girls education, it is not just useful telling societies and traditional cultures to send their girl child to school? Although the evidence is obvious, you have to break down the information in ways that resonates with them. For example, you could sensitise your target audience on how girls’ education reduces mortality rates of babies and increases household income. Educating girls will not come across as putting girls in uniforms and sending them out of the house as some people might see it. This way, you are presenting relevant information that resonates with their situation.
Sufficient manpower: you have to ensure enough human resources to carry out the campaign. If choosing the door to door sensitisation platform, you need enough manpower to go to people’s houses. These people should also be bilingual to understand and speak the language of the environment. If on social media, you need people to respond to questions and be present enough to make the campaign stay afloat. This goes back to the first step which is knowing your target audience. Sufficient manpower does not mean having many people as staff, you could make use of volunteers during the period of the sensitisation programme.
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org