Queensland Stay On Your Feet® - Toolkit Phase 3 Awareness Raising
What is awareness raising?
Awareness raising is a term that refers to making the community more aware of a topic or issue. This is achieved through conveying accurate information to stakeholders (individuals, organisations and communities) with the intention of influencing their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours towards achieving a defined purpose or goal .
Awareness raising needs to communicate a central key message or a group of closely related key messages .
A United Nations booklet explaining the principles of awareness raising written by Richard Sayers, can be found at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation website: Principles of awareness raising
Awareness raising activities should be included in your communication plan. Preparing a communication plan
Please note that behaviour change is not automatically achieved through awareness raising. For more information on how to achieve behaviour change, visit: Stages of behaviour change and Preparing a social marketing plan
We live in an information age with television, radio, internet, You-Tube, pod casts, video conferencing, websites, email, fact sheets, brochures and displays all providing information on a range of issues. Many people are overloaded with information. It has been estimated that people are exposed to 3,500 messages every day .
To cut through all this information, key messages need to stand out by being highly credible and personally relevant. This can be difficult to achieve with falls prevention messages, especially when the target group believe that falls prevention applies to someone who is older and frailer than they are.
How to raise awareness
As people access information from a variety of sources over time, an effective awareness raising process will include a variety of methods to reach the audience. These may include:
- education eg. training and curriculum development
- case studies, personal stories or testimonials
- preparing a social marketing plan (if funds allow).
Queensland Stay On Your Feet Wide Bay/Burnett trial project
Community meetings held as part of the Queensland Stay On Your Feet Wide Bay/Burnett trial project identified awareness and information as a key objective. Strategies used included:
- project/program newsletter
- a One Step Ahead booklet, fact sheets and other brochures
- an annual calendar
- media relations to achieve coverage in the local media and community newsletters
- public displays
- public events, including Come and try days.
Project/program newsletterThe Queensland Stay On Your Feet Wide Bay/Burnett trial project produced a newsletter as an ongoing strategy to promote awareness. The newsletter aimed to:
- provide information about the aims and objectives and scope of the project
- provide exposure to the project name, logo and slogan
- promote upcoming events and give feedback about previous events
- highlight successful local activities and initiatives
- provide regular updates on progress towards community action plan strategies
- enhance knowledge about falls risk factors
- encourage networking between communities
- provide contact details for the project team and referral sources .
The newsletter was distributed through the project mailing database list, at events, presentations and workshops. Organisations were encouraged to use the content in their own newsletters or photocopy any relevant articles to share with their members.
In total, there were eight newsletters printed. Around 2,600 copies of each issue were distributed, totalling over 20,000 copies distributed during the life of the project. While the project team found the production of the newsletter to be labour intensive, it was well recognised by the community and encouraged people to take action.
The local community newspaper or radio is an excellent way to reach people, however, your story will need to have a new slant, a local flavour and be interesting to beat all the other stories wanting coverage.
When developing a media release or article, develop a headline that summarises the point of the story. Summarise the whole story in the first paragraph and include ‘what, who, when, where and why’ in the body of the story.
Try to include quotes from notable champions of your project/program and key stakeholders. Include any available facts and statistics eg. ‘every week, 325 Queenslanders are hospitalised due to a fall’.
Explain the issue and what people can do about it in simple terms.
Provide contact numbers for further information, and suggest a photo opportunity to create media interest.
If you have a Communication Officer in your organisation, involve them in this process.
A sample Queensland Health media release on falls in older people is available:
DisplaysThe Queensland Stay on Your Feet Wide Bay/Burnett trial project developed material that could be presented on a three-panel display board for use at events. This type of display material was difficult to use, as the boards were very heavy and cumbersome. For future projects/programs, it was recommended that display boards be lightweight so that they can be easily transported and displayed.
Annual calendarThe Queensland Stay on Your Feet Wide Bay/Burnett trial project calendar, which included cartoons from a local artist, was a very popular resource. During the project, 7,500 calendars were distributed. Calendars were sent to the project mailing database list and distributed at events and workshops.
A booklet explaining the principles of awareness raising has been written by Richard Sayers and can be found at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation website: