How to plan awareness raising campaign

How to raise awareness

Raising awareness on a certain problem or issue is usually carried out through public education, information dissemination and awareness-raising campaigns. Our approach is based on a presumption that certain target groups lack awareness or understanding of some areas of trafficking in human beings which hinders them from taking action, so by educating these groups through awareness campaigns we aim to induce action and change in behavior that would lead to overall improvements in addressing this issue in a wider social context.


Choosing the right approach

In choosing the right approach to developing an awareness raising campaign about trafficking in human beings it is important to understand what we want to achieve, who we want to address and how we want to convey our message in order to ensure the campaign’s successful outcome.

The success of an awareness raising campaign largely depends on the approach in setting up the overall campaign framework.


If you want results go for insights and integrated tools

On the one hand, a common mistake is to take the easiest route and pick up an apparently suitable single tactic (such as a poster, TV ad, or public event) and start designing a campaign expecting quick solutions. As a result, a single-tactic approach brings modest success at best as it often covers limited target groups and provides insufficient data on its impact.

On the other hand, an approach that starts from analyzing the context of the problem, the target groups and stakeholders affected and the objectives to be achieved for each group by using different tactics has proven to be more efficient and results oriented.

By choosing integrated approach, you ensure to design campaigns that are based on real insights and that are results oriented. Integrated campaigns also provide opportunity to conduct your campaign through number of different tools such as PR, social media and viral videos, print materials or TV ads. The importance lies in choosing what’s best and most appropriate for the audience you want to reach. Finally, to have the campaign that brings results it is also important to have the right message and creative executions that will trigger desired behavior and action among your audiences.

Guide for planning awareness raising campaign

The purpose of this guide is to lead you though the key steps in planning an awareness raising campaign. Awareness raising is an important part of efforts in combating trafficking in human beings and if done right it can help start action or change behaviors that combat or help prevent trafficking in human beings.

Success of the campaign lies as much in its planning as it is in well-crafted execution. This guide will lead you step-by-step through to process of setting up and planning an awareness campaign.

Step 1 | The Why – Goal and Analysis

Why is the campaign needed?

The first steps in campaign planning stem form understanding the problem you are trying to help solve by doing the awareness campaign. The questions you have to ask are

  • Why do we need a campaign?
  • What do we want to achieve with it?

An in-depth understanding of the problem and current state of affairs, for issues of minors at risk of cyber trafficking, women and girls at risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation, or migrants and refugees at risk of trafficking in human beings is essential to understand why the campaign is needed. Whether the problem is in the lack of overall awareness on the issue of women and girls at risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation, or there is an acute problem in knowledge and understanding among parents of minors at risk of cyber trafficking, or there might be a lack of awareness of border workers in the risks migrants and refugees face with trafficking, it is essential that you understand the depth of the problem and if and to what extent that problem can be tackled with awareness raising. At this stage use whatever data is available to you to understand the problem better. The data may include information on socio-economic context, public opinion surveys showing levels of awareness of the problem among your audiences, statistical data on the number of people hit by the problem, limitations of current regulations, expert opinions, media reports showing how present the topic is in the public, etc.

Once you establish and understand the problem, set the overall goal for your campaign, which is actually the answer to the question what do we want to achieve with the campaign. Once you understand the problem, you will seek to understand how any part of it can be slowed with awareness raising. Overall campaign goals usually entail raising awareness on the problem, but that, in and of itself is not enough. You need to establish in your goal very precisely what behavior you intend to change with awareness raising, and how it will contribute to solving the problem.

For instance, if your goal is to raise awareness on the minors at risk of cyber trafficking among parents, you will want to make it more tangible by specifying that ultimate goal is not only for the parents to be aware of the issue but also able to recognize online predators, and know how to talk to their kids to protect them from them.  Making your overall campaign goal as tangible is the kye not only for an impactful but also results oriented campaign.

Step 2 | The Who – Knowing your audiences

Once you understand the problem and set the overall goal, you need to focus understanding who is your campaign intended to, i.e., who are the target groups/audiences/stakeholders of your campaign. These are groups of people, individuals, institutions or organization to whom you want to direct the messages of your campaign, and whom you would want to act as a result of it. Depending on the topic of your campaign and the goal you are trying to achieve, your target audiences may include any or some of the following:

  • General public
  • Decision makers / Regulators
  • Women and girls at risk of trafficking
  • Women and girls who were victims of trafficking
  • Minors at risk of cyber trafficking
  • Parents of minors at risk of cyber trafficking
  • School teachers of minors at risk of cyber trafficking
  • Border workers
  • Police
  • Migrant and refuges, etc.

The first step is to identify all target groups relevant for your awareness campaign. You can do that by simply putting together an exhaustive list. Once you have listed all relevant target groups, think who are the most relevant of them i.e. prioritize them, and then focus on learning as much as you can about your top priority target groups. It is very important for the success of your campaign to learn as much as you can about your audiences, to have insights in their behavior, how they consume information, the places or media they frequent, etc. These information are essential for you to have well adjusted message of the campaign and to select the right mix of communication tools that will efficiently reach your audiences.

Step 3 | The What – Specific objectives of your campaign

Once you know your target groups, it is essential to define your specific objectives. Aligning with the overall goal of your campaign, the objectives help you decide what (specifically) you want to achieve with your target groups. To set the objectives, break your overall goal into smaller, more specific objectives aimed at specific target groups. Make sure your objectives are concrete, tangible and above all measurable. The measurable part will help you decide, already at this stage, how to evaluate and assess results of your campaign. If your campaign is aimed at target audience doing something as a result of the call to action you will have in the campaign, then make sure the call is aligned in your objectives.

For example, if you want your campaign to target women and girls who are potential victims of trafficking, and you want to raise awareness among them on the specific telephone number they can call for help, then your objective may be defined as:

  • To have as many women and girls at risk of trafficking notice and call the help line number.

You can make your objective even more specific and concrete by specifying by adding geographical area the campaign will cover and identifying communication materials you will use, in which case the objective may read

  • To have as many women and girls at risk of trafficking in your own town area notice billboards, posters and online videos, and call the help line number indicated in the campaign.

As a result, one of the measurements indicating the success of the campaign will be the number of times the help line was called.

Step 4 | Key messages of the campaign

The core of what you want to say to your target groups is in your key messages. Make sure your key messages are well aligned with your campaign objectives and adjusted to your target audiences. The messages need to be short, clear, concise and concrete. The messages may have different forms depending on the communication tool you will use, but they all need to drive towards the same objective. Your messages should clearly formulate call to action to unambiguously lead the target audience toward the awareness and behavior change that will bring results. Make sure your messages are tailor made to your audiences. Once you define your messages you will want to repeat them in as many occasions as possible, therefore they need to be adjusted and used in all possible communication tools you intend to use, e.g.  press materials, posters, social media posts, videos, infographics etc. Adjust your message to the tool, but make sure the meaning of the message is not lost and is all driving to the same objective.

Call to action

Unless you have the call to action, your campaign is likely to fail. General awareness raising usually does not amount to much. The reason you do the awareness raising campaign is not only because you want your target audiences to know about a problem, but because you want the people who are aware of the problem to do something about it. It is also the only way to measure the results of your campaign. Make sure that your key messages have clear and understandable call to action.


You will want to have some of your messages shaped as catchy phrases i.e. slogans. Slogans are used as part of your communication tools that offer very limited space and require creative platform and slogans to communicate to the target audiences, such as TV ads, billboards, radio ads. Slogans are not the same as key messages. Key messages do not aim to be catchy phrases but clear and concise sentences carrying important information for target audiences. Normally, messages are used in the communication materials that allow more space for communication such as videos, press and media activities and similar.

Step 5 | The How – What will you do in the campaign – tactics activities and communication tools you plan to use

Once you have designed your campaign well to know what is the problem you want to solve, who you will target with your messages in order to achieve specific objectives, you need to decide what are the concrete activities you should do to convey those messages and reach your audiences.

When choosing activities, you will have to think of different aspects, including resources and budgets you have available, but the most important thing to think of is what are the most efficient tools to reach your audiences.

Knowing what media and tools will best reach your audience will determine whether you use PR, digital, social media, events, advertising, videos, posters or any other communication materials. The most effective campaigns almost never rely only on one tool, but rather integrate them in a variety of different tools aiming to reach as many among your target group as possible.

When planning the campaign and choosing the tools, there are other important elements of the campaign to decide as well:

  • Budget and resources – when choosing what communication tools to use in your campaign make sure you choose wisely to fit with the available budget but also not to spend it all on a single communication channel. For example, TV ads may seem as an effective tool, and by the use of mass media, they will most likely reach the largest number of people in the shortest time, however making them paying for the air time on TV stations is the most expensive form of advertising and thus not the most effective campaign tool if used in isolation.
  • Endorsers and or celebrities – do you want to lend the voice of your campaign to a public person or personalities, to strengthen the message. If you do, make sure that you use the people who are close and relevant to your target groups, as well as that the endorsers you choose are aligned with the values of your campaign and organization.
  • Who runs and signs the campaign – if the campaign is a result of a partner effort, and there are more than one organization and or donor of the campaign, make sure you agree who runs the campaign operationally as well as who leads and signs the campaign.

For more information on the communication tools for the campaign click here.

Step 6 | Evaluation and measurement

If you have done the right job in precisely setting objectives of the campaign it should not be too difficult for you to measure the results of the campaign. The more precise the objective are the easier it is to measure them. Depending on what communication tools you have decided to use in the campaign you will have different key performance indicators and benchmarks at your disposal. Make sure you define your KPIS precisely, and track them regularly through the camping. Once you have the results, show them and communicate them, especially when planning new campaigns or fundraising for them.

To learn more about evaluation KPIs click here.


  • Do the in-depth analysis to make sure you understand the problem you are trying to solve with your campaign.
  • Set a tangible overall goal of your awareness raising campaign.
  • Identify, list, prioritize and then analyze your target audiences and stakeholders.
  • Define precise, concrete, tangible and measurable objectives of your campaign making sure they are aligned with your target audiences.
  • Develop key messages for your campaign.
  • Develop creative platform and slogan for your campaign.
  • Choose communication tools that will most efficiently reach your audiences and create communication mix that will be part of your operational campaign plan.
  • Choose appropriate endorser / celebrity for your campaign.
  • Decide who runs the campaign.
  • Make sure to track results of the campaign and create report after the campaign finishes.

Tips for the awareness campaigns on these topics