- Posted Monday February 25, 2019
Health awareness campaigns are a fantastic way of getting involved in the community and raising the profile of a health or wellbeing issue to make a real difference.
However, getting involved can feel daunting and many practice managers fear that events they hold could have a low attendance or even trigger a backlash. So here are a few tips for getting involved, and we’ve even added some advice on starting your own campaigns!
First thing’s first - it’s best to try not to get carried away, as getting involved with lots of health awareness campaigns can involve a lot of time and effort. It can feel hard to say no, especially to charity events, as there are so many good causes… but if organising events is going to fall to one or two people who also have full time jobs in the practice, it just isn’t fair.
One idea is to suggest one charity a month and, in the event of two or three getting suggested for the same month, putting it to an anonymous vote, so no single person is left feeling guilty or upset.
Choosing a charity to support
Always try to locate an official source before making concrete plans for your event - there are lots of charities out there, but unfortunately also a lot of scams that take advantage of people’s charitable nature. All registered charities have a charity number, which should be easy to locate on their website and then validate online.
Once you are confident you have the official source for your chosen charity, they should be able to offer all of the information you need, including stats and facts about the health issue, details of any events that may take place annually, and suggestions for how to organise your own fundraiser or event.
Getting organised and delegating to your team
When it comes to organising an event, delegation is key. It’s not fair for one person to assume control, as chances are it will always end up being that person (chances are it’s the person reading this article!).
The best way to divide responsibilities is to assign the jobs that are most closely associated between those who spend the most time together. A good example would be giving Mary who works Tuesdays and Thursdays the task of arranging the event space and put Lucy, who works the same days, in charge of advertising on social media.
You could also make a Trello board, which is like an online notice board where people can manage their tasks and everyone can see were the others are up to. There are also free sources to utilise for making posters and other materials such as Canva.
Organised fund raisers and health awareness days will often have pre-arranged activities or themes, for example the Macmillan Coffee Morning or Cancer Research’s Race for Life. If you are just starting out (in terms of getting the practice involved) it’s best to stick to one of these, just until you have gained experience and can gauge how much interest there is in terms of people helping out. Once you have run a few events you can start looking into creating your own - in the meantime it’s best to keep it simple.
Picking an objective and using social media
When you do plan your own events, aim to stick to one main objective and try to tie in with a date or event, for example if you want to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, you could arrange something for Valentine’s week. You could make some heart-shaped cakes to sell and put up posters encouraging people to keep their hearts healthy, or arrange a fun run with sponsorship to raise money.
There are plenty of tools at your disposal to help you get organised, such as social media. You can arrange an event on Facebook and send invites to everyone who follows the practice; this will also send those who accept reminders and a notification if you post a new message on the page.
So ultimately don’t get carried away, keep it simple and don’t feel guilty for saying no. We sometimes need to push back as otherwise workloads would sky rocket! Always check out official sources - even if you want to plan your own event you can pick up some great ideas.
For more inspiration check out the FPM Blog, where you can download an Awareness Day Calendar each month for ideas! An FPM Membership frees up extra time for practice managers, with everything from draft policies to a HR helpline - check out the benefits of membership here.