Third Sector Awards 2019: Communications Campaign of the Year - Encephalitis Society for World Encephalitis Day 2019

Awarded to a charity for a highly successful, innovative or inspiring communications campaign

What was the campaign?

Encephalitis is more common than motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or bacterial meningitis, but 78 per cent of people do not know what it is. World Encephalitis Day was established to improve awareness of encephalitis, encouraging people to seek medical help more quickly, improving outcomes and saving lives across the world.

How was it promoted?

The Encephalitis Society’s small team organised worldwide activities from its base in North Yorkshire. Twenty global gatherings took place, including the UK launch, which took survivors, health professionals, researchers and others on a vintage red London bus to visit places of interest to the encephalitis community. In India, children played a game highlighting the importance of vaccination, while researchers and clinicians held a training day in China. Nepalese doctors and nurses arranged a conference, Italian researchers held an encephalitis congress and survivors met at the Sydney Opera House to share their stories. Meanwhile, the society’s BrainWalk app brought together a global audience through digital technology, raising awareness of encephalitis, encouraging people to keep brain and body healthy, and reducing isolation.

What impact did the campaign have?

The BrainWalk app engaged 1,089 users in 30 countries and recruited 887 new members. Key messages were delivered to 49.5 million people in 189 countries through 26.6 million print and digital estimated coverage views, 12.2 million radio listeners and 2.25 million TV viewers. Since its launch in 2014, World Encephalitis Day has reached more than 150 million people worldwide, with polls suggesting 20 million more people now know what encephalitis is, speeding diagnosis and improving outcomes.

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