Each year the IARU Administrative Council selects a theme for World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) for the following year. WARD takes place each year on April 18. At the November, 2012 Administrative Council meeting the AC adopted the following proposal: "The theme 'Amateur Radio: Entering Its Second Century of Disaster Communications' was adopted for the next World Amateur Radio Day, April 18, 2013."
The selected theme for 2013 is a excellent opportunity for amateur radio emergency communications or disaster communications groups to take advantage of the WARD to highlight the role amateur radio plays in disaster communications and disaster response. IARU member-societies could arrange amateur radio demonstrations in public places such as parks or shopping areas. Prepared handouts could explain the benefits of amateur radio in times of emergency or disaster. A ham radio demonstration in public areas usually generates inquiries and questions from the public about amateur radio and it also provides a great opportunity to attract new ham radio operators. If you plan on such a demonstration, don't forget to include some young people from your society so that young people who happen by the demonstration can see that amateur radio activity can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
In 2013, April 18 is a weekday. However, that doesn't prevent the public activity from taking place on the weekend before or after April 18. The idea is to gain as much exposure and publicity for amateur radio as possible.
Emergency communications groups might also combine a public demonstration for WARD with a simulated emergency test (SET).
WARD also provides an opportunity for amateurs to give presentations about ham radio to such groups as civic organizations, charitable groups, etc. For example, Rotary Clubs and Lions Clubs are only two of many worldwide organizations who have weekly meetings and these organizations are always looking for interesting and informative programs to present to their membership. There are very few experienced hams who can't talk for 15 or 20 minutes about ham radio in a positive fashion. Don't make the talk too technical. Stress the fun aspects of ham radio and the opportunity to assist in times of disaster. Keep the presentation to about 20 minutes to allow time for questions.
The fact that World Amateur Radio Day only happens one day each year shouldn't prevent IARU member-societies from promoting ham radio all during the year of course. Some member-society officials have expressed concern about a decrease in the number of new amateurs entering ham radio in their country. Upon further examination and discussion, it turns out there are many activities that societies could be involved in to increase public exposure to amateur radio but many are not taking advantage of those opportunities. WARD provides an opportunity to get out and make the effort to show the public what ham radio is about.