How you can support Awareness Week
Hold your own event
Dying Matters Awareness Week is an unparalleled opportunity to place the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement firmly on the national agenda.
This year, our members held more than 650 events across England and Wales, making 2017 our most successful Awareness Week yet. We are already starting to think ot the dates for 2018 and it is never too early to plan for next year, or to plan an event for later this year, so we can continue our good work and ask "What Can You Do?"
If you would like to run an awareness-raising event, the top tips and ideas below will help. We also have a press release template you can use to promote your event to the local media.
A Dying Matters Awareness Week event can be large, small or anywhere in-between. To give you inspiration, here's a small selection of actual events our members ran last year. Remember, you'll need permission from the site owner for any event in a public space.
- A coffee morning at the library in aid of a local hospice, with Dying Matters resources on display.
- A hospital display featuring a tree of life graphic on which members of the public could post notes about improving services relating to death and dying.
- Funeral directors' open day.
- Death Cafe.
- An afternoon of activities, including the screening of Dying Matters films and talks from local bereavement associations and funeral directors.
Your event theme
During the week we will be encouraging the public to discuss what they want for the end of their lives with those close to them. We will also be encouraging people to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These are:
- Write your will
- Record your funeral wishes
- Plan your future care and support
- Consider registering as an organ donor
- Tell your loved ones your wishes
Ideally, you will base any events you run around these actions. However, as long as what you're planning fits with Dying Matters' broad agenda - to positively change attitudes and behaviour around talking about and planning for death - we'll be happy.
Hosting an event - 32 things to consider
James Norris of Dead Social shares his 32 top tips for running a Dying Matters Awareness event.
If you're seeking local support, advice or help with your event, or you want to publicise it locally, why not create a post on one of our regional discussion forums.
Write a press release
One of potentially the most effective ways of securing media coverage is to send out a press release. Keep it short and punchy - never more than two sides of A4 - ideally a lot less. You may like to use our Dying Matters Awareness Week press release template.
- Ensure you cover the Five W's: Who, What, Where, Why, When.
- Make it clear whether the event is open to the general public.
- Include key contact details.
- If possible, set up an interesting photo opportunity - and make sure you mention it in the press release. However, don't rely on a newspaper sending a photographer to the event - have someone take high quality photos and send them to the papers afterwards.
- It's generally best to contact journalists by email in the first instance. Your press release should be pasted into the body of the email, not sent as an attachment - you don't want to place any barriers in the way of it being read. Make sure your email subject line is strong so that it grabs journalists' attention.
- Do follow-up your press release with a phone call to check receipt and to further sell your story.
Tell us about your event
Once you have decided on the specifics of your event, make sure you share it with us so we can help you promote it. Submit your event details.
- Set a clear objective
- If appropriate, decide secondary objectives
- Agree achievable results and future outcomes
- Be clear about your target audience
Other ways you can get involved
There are many other ways you can promote and support Dying Matters Awareness Week. Here are just a few of them:
- Feature a news story on your organisation’s website
- Promote it in your staff newsletter
- Follow Dying Matters on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube
- Tweet about it
- Post a Facebook status
- Become a Dying Matters member if you’re not already – and encourage friends and family to join as well. We more than 32,000 members, and joining is free: become a Dying Matters member
- Receive regular updates about what we're up to: sign up for our newsletter