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Native American Awareness Campaign  

"Those who have gotten away from the traditions may act as if they don’t remember, but all of us know inside. Our memories are long, as long as the line of the generations. The elders have always passed on this knowledge. We have been told to never forget. So we remember and pass it on too. With us there is no past, everything is now, and the only future is the generations to come. They remind us to maintain balance, to live in peace with each other, to honor the creator, the earth, and to acknowledge and show respect for one another and ourselves."

-Anonymous Native American Woman



Creating a Successful Awareness Campaign for Native Communities

Hosting an awareness campaign in your community is a great opportunity to kick off an ongoing conversation about a prevention topic. This may also evolve into a community-wide effort to stop harmful behaviors. This is a time for you to carry forward the lessons from your ancestors. It starts with making space to have those difficult discussions.

Your campaign should help educate your community on a specific subject by sharing basic information and providing examples. This will help community members have healthy conversations and increase awareness. This will begin the prevention process.

Any awareness campaign should include these next steps. They will help you create a strong campaign that will increase community awareness on your prevention topic.


Step 1: Choose Your Topic Or Goals

The first step in setting up a campaign is deciding what you want to accomplish. These will be your goals. Your goals should include a few different things, but focus on one main point you want to get across.


Goals Should Focus on Big Issues

The best prevention stops real community issues from happening over time. In finding your goals, you must identify what the main issues are in your tribe and surrounding community. There are a few ways to know which issues to look at:

  • Does your program or department collect information about your community?
  • Do you have programs in your community focused on specific issues or are any programs being used more frequently?
  • Do members of your community want more information about a certain issue, or have you been asked to provide support or information on a specific topic?

Goals Should Be Measured

After you know what you want your awareness campaign to accomplish, it is important you know how you will reach those goals. Awareness is great, but it takes more for real prevention. Part of identifying your goals is knowing what success looks like. Measuring success can come from many areas, some include:

    • Different community groups you reach
    • Number of people using resources
    • An increase in people reporting concerns
    • Feedback collected from the community
    • Formal surveys of the community and their opinions
    • Number of people attending events and awareness activities

These measures should be specific, realistic, and time-oriented. They will help you know the impact of your campaign, give a reason for the money you spend on promotional resources, and help you influence partners within the community.

Knowing your goals for the campaign first, helps you plan your schedule, events, and your focus for awareness training. For more resources on how to set up campaign goals, we recommend the following sources:


Step 2: Find Your Resources

Awareness campaigns take a lot of resources. You might have a set budget to implement your campaign. Money is not the only resource you will be using. The following are all the resources needed for a good awareness campaign.


Identify Your Support

Beginning with Tribal Leadership, you may need to get their support for your efforts. The Tribal Council will want to know the concerns you want to address and to understand why you believe it’s an issue in your community.

Elders Council/group should also be approached before you begin your campaign. They may have suggestions to consider before and during your campaign process. This may change how you will reach your goals.


Knowing how much money you have to spend on your campaign is important before you begin. This will determine how you will advertise for your campaign, such as needing to pay for an ad in the newspaper or time to talk about your event on the radio.

When considering money, you should spend time learning what has worked and what hasn’t, so that you are not wasteful. If this year's budget is set, track what is working well, what isn’t, and the impact of your campaign. Use this to learn about how to adjust your budget for next year.


Time is an important resource, especially if you have other jobs or only a few people to help with events. When planning timing for your campaign, carefully figure out how much time every event you are putting on requires. Know how much time it will take to plan, organize, and prepare the events. Decide if you will need volunteers or help from other programs, and how much time they will be giving to make your campaign successful.

Marketing and Promotional Material

Awareness campaigns often use promotional materials to draw interest to your table or event. These promotional materials are key to any campaign because they provide a passive way to allow the person receiving it to walk away with information and education on your topic.

Marketing and promotional materials appear in two ways:

  1. Promotional materials acquired from a larger source giving your community an understanding about the topic on the national level.
  2. Promotional materials that highlight facts and information about the topic and your community. It may also include additional events in your community on the same topic.

Keep in mind that as native people, we are drawn in by our visual interest or by touch so your marketing materials should appeal to your target audience. Your marketing materials for your campaign might change over time and need to be recreated frequently. When buying or making promotional materials, consider materials or handouts that can last longer and need less work to be reordered or redone. Place your orders ahead of time to make sure they arrive before you begin your awareness campaign.

Your resources determine how you will bring awareness on a topic and the type of events you can provide. Like goals, it is important to address these resources before moving forward with any other part of your campaign.

Promotional resources and educational materials specific for Native American communities can be found through PSA Worldwide.


 Step 3: Segment Your Audience

When setting up a prevention campaign, you will need to know the different groups you will be impacting. A specific goal of your campaign might be to educate males on the effects of domestic abuse. This is an example of an audience segment that will require specific information.

Think about the possible reach of your campaign outside of your audience segment. Then, consider who else may benefit from the information and how you will reach those people.

Your audience will vary in each community, however, here are three common audiences:

    1. People who are doing harm or at risk of doing harm regarding the awareness issue.
    2. People affected by the issue in the community, or who are at risk of being affected by the awareness issue.
    3. Community members.

It is important you determine which group will be your focus and how much information and education you can provide each group.

The first step is to look at each of your goals, and then use each goal to shape your work with the different groups or audience segments. When looking at each goal, it’s important to understand what goal applies to each group, and how much information and education you can provide each group.

Each group will be impacted by different information and events. When setting up the campaign, it is also important to know how much of your resources you can spend on the different groups or audience segments.

The final step is efficiency. This means you want to reach the most people with as little resources as possible.


Step 4: Create a Schedule of Events, Programs, and Initiatives

Once you have your goals, know your resources and audience, you can plan the specific events of your awareness campaign. The type of events you put on should build from your goals, resources, and audiences to include various active and passive awareness campaigns.

  1. A passive campaign method uses promotional materials or handouts to bring awareness and education on a specific topic.
  2. An active campaign method may use educational sessions that present information directly to individuals and are designed to reach multiple groups.

What are active versus passive events?

Active events require involvement from your audience members. These events ask community members to give time and attention to your program. They can offer a big impact but need community members to be involved and will require more time for planning from your staff, volunteers, and partners.

Passive events need less work. These include sharing and spreading information, or awareness materials. They are passive because it takes little effort to read promotional material and community members can do it on their own time without pressure.


Use passive and active events together for the best impact.

When making the schedule for a campaign, always consider how many different types of events you are hosting. A great campaign uses activities that require active participation but also hosts passive events in the community.

Be aware of the time volunteers and other programs will take to make your campaign successful. You don’t want to wear out your volunteers and other programs too early in the campaign. A good schedule will include a mix of events that are spread throughout the campaign. When you plan your schedule, it is okay to have overlap as well.

Above all, events should always tie to your goals. Each event you create should meet at least one, if not multiple goals.


Step 5: Create Action Plans for the Campaign

Once you have a schedule and outline for each event in your campaign, get specific. Every event or program requires planning. Plan and be prepared so your volunteers and other participating programs stay involved. With calendar in hand, build lists for each event you are hosting and work with these lists. The general idea of planning should answer the questions who, what, where, when, why and how.


includes the audience or community members you are hoping to reach and the volunteers, staff, additional programs or experts you need to make the campaign work.


is the description of the event. What type of activities will be happening during this event? What are the resources involved behind the scenes of the event?


covers where the event will take place and where you are going to advertise your event.


includes dates and times of the events and what needs to happen leading up to the event. When will you start advertising the event, and when will the event occur?


is the goals of your campaign. In your “why”, focus on each goal and the event that will meet the goal. Include how you plan to meet the goal.


includes the methods you are using to advertise and coordinate your event. This step needs to describe what your resources, volunteers and staff members will need to do for this event.

You should be able to answer each of these questions about every item on your schedule to both prepare for and set up plans for what comes next.


Step 6: Find Partners


Partners make any awareness campaign easier, especially when the partner provides access to a larger audience. When you are running your campaign, you do not need to be and should not be alone in your efforts.

During any campaign, you can create strong partnerships with members of your community or other influential people who care about the issues and success of what you’re wanting to accomplish.

Any time you meet with a potential partner, ask how you might help each other. Knowing the support you can provide to one another will increase your chances of building long-term relationships.

Step 7: Implement Action Plan

Throughout the campaign, your focus should be on accomplishing your goals, adjusting as necessary, and assessing the effect or impact. Be aware of your contracts or investments that are set in stone. Adjusting the way you accomplish your goals and changing your plans as the program evolves is okay. If you do change or remove an event, be sure to notify your audience as necessary in advance. With the proper planning and support, you should be able to adapt and measure your campaign accordingly.

When conducting a longer campaign, fatigue of education can set in. Your educational trainings may start to blur together if you have multiple events. It’s important to take care of yourself during this time.

Flooding your community with information on a specific topic is always good, but make sure you have a good support in place or resources for the community members ahead of time. Be careful to not lose the ability to measure the impact of your campaign. Evaluate or survey your audience during or after each event to ensure you gain their thoughts and feedback. This is a great way to measure results of your event in an efficient manner


Step 8: Evaluate The Campaign


Measuring your goals continuously during the campaign will make evaluation easier. Collect feedback from your volunteers and partners as you put your campaign into action. When measuring the goals of your campaign, you want to look at each event as an individual piece, and then identify common trends through the entire campaign.

Reviewing the success of individual events can occur by collecting feedback at each and every event. Using individual surveys allow you to determine what programs work better than others, or what information might be helpful for community members. Measuring the entire campaign is a little more complicated. This will require you to collect information on things like: increased reporting of incidents, people utilizing support systems, and an overall decrease in incidents.


Step 9: Continue Ongoing Awareness


Prevention and awareness campaigns are most effective when they are part of an ongoing program. Although you are going to spend large amounts of time preparing for your specific campaign, you should also consider long-term prevention.

One of the best ways to carry-out your campaign during the year is to continue to host similar events or provide education to make awareness of the issue part of your community. Another option is to create new ways of engaging community members, keeping track of their information, and building a list of who might be willing to volunteer with future events.


Additional campaigns and resources you can utilize throughout the year include:

Resources For Native American Communities:

General Resources:


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