Make the Most of Awareness Events – Calling Boardrooms, Managers, Marketing and HR!

Yearly planner for awareness eventsI’m sure you have noticed the growing phenomenon of various awareness days or weeks cropping up in your diaries and social media streams. There seems to be an awareness event for everything now, from Charity Fraud awareness which we covered last month, to global movements such as Movember (focussing on mens health issues), Veganuary (promoting the benefits of a vegan lifestyle during January) through to the more obscure World Nursery Rhyme Week and Apple Day (21 October in case you were wondering).

When searching for a blog topic this month, I thought I’d see what awareness events were coming up in November to see if there was a suitable governance topic we could focus on…and that’s when I thought about how interesting the entire concept of National and International Awareness Events was, and how such events might be used by organisations to tailor different aspects of their business, such as marketing, HR and people engagement, corporate social responsibility and even regulatory compliance.

I’m sure many of you have already been involved with various awareness events in the work place, whether attending a Macmillan Coffee morning or adorning your favourite Santa sweater for Christmas Jumper Day (not long to go now…13 December!) but how can your organisation utilise these ready-made events even further?

Marketing and Customer Engagement

Anita Campbell in her 2019 article “Huge List of National Holidays for Marketing in a Small Business”[1] said that in the U.S there were over 1000 national days, weeks, and months not including bank and religious holidays…a number that the UK is seemingly catching up to.

She goes on to suggest a number of tips on how smaller businesses can utilise a national day in their favour, such as a coffee shop adopting International Coffee Day, or UK Coffee Week (27 April-3 May 2020) as a way of increasing footfall through promotions as well as supporting good causes. In addition, for smaller businesses there is potential benefit in using the lesser known awareness events so that marketing campaigns don’t get overshadowed by the bigger corprorate names.

Whatever sector you’re in, there’s a high chance that you’ll find an appropriate awareness day or week to suit your business. Such Awareness events are made for #hashtags, so be sure to fully utilise your social media following!

Just look at the growth of ‘Black Friday’ in recent times for proof that these internationally recognised days can catch the public imagination. Relatively unheard of in the UK until it was introduced as a concept by Amazon in 2010, it is now a highlight of the British shopper’s year, arguably getting more attention than the more traditional ‘January Sales’.

Awareness Days and Months can be used to better engage with your customers or service users. Talk Money Talk Pensions Week (18-22 November 2019)[2] is an event held by the UKs Money and Pensions Service and is designed to get the public openly talking about these matters and to improve financial wellbeing across the UK. It is an ideal opportunity for organisations such as those involved with housing provision to engage with their residents, to help provide additional support services to their residents, but also as an indirect way reducing arrears.

Charitable giving and Corporate Social Responsibility

Perhaps the most common way of businesses engaging with these events is through the many charitable awareness days and months that are held throughout the year.

Some businesses choose an annual charity to support, some may select a different charity each month or even just support ad-hoc events. Either way, it is a fantastic way for you and your employees ‘to give back’ and also to generate a strong culture of inclusion and responsibility.

Of course, corporate social responsibility goes beyond charitable giving. Probably the most talked about subject during 2019 has been climate change and humans’ ongoing effects on the environment. Individuals and companies alike are increasingly looking at ways they can reduce their negative impact and preserve the planet for future generations.

Upcoming Environmental Awareness Days include:

  • World Soil Day – 5 December
  • International Animal Rights Day – 10 December (this coincides with Human Rights Day)
  • International Day of Human Rights – 10 December
  • World Wildlife Day – 3 March

Staff Wellbeing

It has become increasingly important for employers to take positive action to preserve their employees’ wellbeing. From opening up about physical and mental health to supporting flexible working for those with dependants through to anti-discrimination, it is imperative that employers provide sufficient resources towards maintaining wellbeing.

Supporting and utilising awareness events can be a useful tool in delivering your HR objectives across a range of areas such as health, support and career development. November saw a number of these awareness events, such as Veg Pledge month, Carers Rights Day, International Leadership Week, and International Men’s Day, all of which provided amble opportunity to host events, talks, or even just check in with team members. Further ahead, Mental Health Awareness Week will run from 18-24 May 2020 – why not plan some events around this incredibly important topic? 

In the Boardroom

There are a number of corporate awareness days and weeks, ideal for helping set the Board’s agenda and to ensure that important governance issues are not forgotten:

  • International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – 2 December – another opportunity to ensure that you are doing all you can to minimise the risk of slavery & people trafficking and to comply with the Modern Slavery Act
  • International Volunteer Day – 5 December – chance for charities to acknowledge volunteers and to promote volunteering
  • International Anti-Corruption Day – 9 December – opportunity to ensure that you are complying with the Bribery Act and other anti-corruption legislation.

As you can see, there are many, many awareness events in existence, all with their own merits and unique attraction and we haven’t even been able to cover all of the events during November and December. Going forward, please check out our Awareness Events section each month on the newsletter to help with your future corporate planning.

I will sign off by saying, for those of you with American offices and colleagues, you can wish Mickey Mouse a belated Happy 91st Birthday for the 18th November…and to all our Scottish readers, a very Happy St Andrew’s Day for the 30th!

Help where you need it

With strong experience across all sectors, Bridgehouse Company Secretaries is well placed to help your organisation with all elements of governance and company secretarial support.

For more information and to get in touch click here.

[1] https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/09/list-of-national-holidays-marketing.html

[2] https://www.maps.org.uk/talk-money-talk-pensions-week-2019/

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