May is National Mental Health Awareness Month (#MHAM). As a community, maintaining our mental health is a critical part of living healthier, more impactful lives. At Angel Oak Creative, we’re blessed to partner with a number of amazing nonprofit organizations like Healing Transitions, Resources for Resilience, Lucy Daniels Center, North Raleigh Ministries and Hope Reins that are working to improve the mental health of those they serve. In our work with these organizations, we’ve learned a few things about how to effectively communicate their mission, their work and their impact to move their stakeholders to action.
We’d like to share with you a few lessons learned from our many years of work with Foundation of Hope, an organization focused on investing seed-funding in cutting-edge research around prevention and treatment of mental illness.
Words are power.
Choosing the appropriate language to frame mental illness and mental health is critical to clearly communicating the need, work and impact. With Foundation of Hope, their priority is funding research for mental illness. Research can be somewhat abstract and disconnected from direct impact to potential stakeholders. So we work hard with Foundation of Hope to use clear, compelling language that paints a picture of the impact of their work on individuals and communities. We avoid scientific jargon and lean into more relatable vocabulary. This doesn’t mean we “dumb down” the discussion. Rather, we use words that make the discussion more accessible to a wider audience. And, if we are addressing a clinical audience, we use the appropriate vocabulary for their position and experience.
Mental health is an extremely personal matter. The personal stories of those impacted by it and involved in the field are an important part of creating engaging content. As we noted in our last blog, confidentiality must always be considered and honored when subjects prefer to be anonymous. With Foundation of Hope, the stories are often about family members of supporters who were not able to find the help they needed and sadly succumbed to their illness. These tragedies inspired the family to invest, and to encourage others to invest in research so the next person has the resources they need to overcome the mental illness.
It’s about touchpoints.
At Angel Oak Creative, we’re fans of an integrated, multi-channel approach to communicating with stakeholders. This means taking advantage of all the relevant platforms for engagement – social media, website, email, direct mail, video, events, phone calls and personal meetings. Rarely is it the first contact that moves someone to action. It usually takes a handful of touchpoints to activate someone to take the next step. With respect to the Foundation of Hope’s annual fund efforts, we’ve worked intentionally to develop strategies and content that leverage each of these platforms in order to engage all of their audiences multiple times. And the results speak for themselves as they continue to exceed their fundraising and engagement goals year after year.
To see these suggestions in action, check out Foundation of Hope’s 2021 Annual Fund Campaign video:
And if you’re interested in partnering with Foundation of Hope’s CHAAMP Initiative, check out their website: https://walkforhope.com/healingyoungminds. As the end of May quickly approaches, let’s invest in the next generation and hit the ground running together to Heal Young Minds! Contact us to explore how we can help you better communicate your impact on the mental health of those you serve.