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Launching and promoting your initiative 

From Chapter 6, "Put the plan to work and keep it working," in Culture Counts: A Guide to Best Practices for Developing Health Promotion Initiatives in Mental Health and Substance Use with Ethnocultural Communities (© 2007 CAMH)

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A formal launch of your initiative serves many purposes:

  • It reminds the community of the project and reinforces your initiative’s message(s).
  • It is a chance to show community participants the result of their efforts and offers an opportunity to give recognition and thanks for their contributions.
  • It gives a “hook” to encourage media coverage of the initiative.
  • It can be an opportunity for key community leaders to publicly support the initiative, which can promote community interest and involvement in the initiative.

Ways to launch your initiative

The main purpose of a launch is to draw attention to your project and its central message. You want to reach potential participants in your initiative; community leaders; the media; and other community and mainstream organizations that may wish to become involved in your initiative itself or in its promotion.

Your launch may consist of a single event or a number of coordinated events. It can be a standalone launch or be part of a complementary event. Some examples of launch methods:

  • press conferences
  • launch parties
  • fundraising events
  • presentations at professional conferences.

Examples of events you might tie your launch to:

For more health campaigns to link to:

Involve the media in your launch

The media can be helpful allies in getting the message out about your initiative. Working with your community partners, put together a list of all the media outlets that should be contacted. Media outlets that serve the communities you are working with—newspapers, radio stations, radio and television programs on multicultural stations, web sites—are particularly valuable partners. Some ways to gain attention and participation from ethnic media:

  • Create media kits that include press releases and sample articles in the community’s language, as well as photos and graphics that can be reprinted.
  • If finances allow, place ads in ethnic media—this may increase their willingness to support and promote your project.
  • Invite specific journalists who have written about your initiative’s subject in the past to attend your launch event.

Tools:

Lists of ethnic media outlets in Canada:

To learn more about working with the media:

Inform other related organizations and professionals about your initiative

Inform professionals in the community of your initiative and prepare them for responding to inquiries.

  • Make presentations to related organizations at monthly meetings or other events.
  • Make presentations at professional conferences, workshops.
  • Send announcements and press releases to editors of professional association newsletters, listservs, web sites, blogs.

Be ready to follow up on the promotional efforts

A well-planned launch and other promotional efforts should yield a response from the public, the media, and other organizations.

  • Prepare staff and others to respond to inquiries generated by the launch and promotion of the initiative. Prepare a form they can use to track the number and type of enquiries received. The resulting information can give an idea of what sorts of services people need and can be used to gain support for the initiative. For example, the Family Violence Initiative produced a television program on this issue, but some stations were reluctant to air it. When the program was aired once, a telephone hotline was set up to take calls in response. In one case, 42 calls were received. This information provided evidence of the problem and was useful in persuading stations to air the program again.*
  • Make sure you have enough materials (such as media kits) and ways to respond to enquiries (where can people go for further information, e.g., phone line, web site?).
  • Have materials in place at distribution outlets, such as community-based agencies, doctors’ offices, schools, religious meeting places, stores, Laundromats, fast food restaurants, malls and so on.

"We have to be careful with outreach in the area of substance use because we may not be able to follow up with the services people may want or need."

- Elizabeth Gajewski, Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services

*Source: Canadian Heritage. Evaluation of the Family Violence Initiative - Multiculturalism Program. "Lessons Learned and Future Directions." (PDF)

To learn more about launching a health promotion initiative:

In Culture Counts: A Guide to Best Practices for Developing Health Promotion Initiatives in Mental Health and Substance Use with Ethnocultural Communities

About this guide

Chapter 1 – Break down barriers

Chapter 2 – Work with community partners

Chapter 3 – Gather and analyze information

Chapter 4 – Plan the initiative

Chapter 5 – Translate and adapt

Chapter 6 – Put the plan to work—and keep it working

Chapter 7 – Follow up

Acknowledgments

Glossary

Resources

Sources

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