We just celebrated Wild Apricot's 5th Anniversary. And we had a party (with the requisite cake and balloons) to celebrate with our clients, partners, friends and
supporters. But for our company - and for associations, non-profits and other
member-based organizations as well - it’s more than just marking another year,
it’s about commemorating important milestones.
We've used our anniversary as an opportunity to thank our 4000+ customers, as well as demonstrating our continued enhancements and promoting our up-coming version 5.0 which we'll launch in our fifth year.
For member-based organizations and non-profits, it’s important to commemorate
significant events, anniversaries or achievements with your members, volunteers,
supporters and employees. It's an opportunity to gather together all of your stakeholders to share in a celebration and recognition of the organization's achievements and success. But you can also leverage these celebrations to
publicize your organization or raise awareness of an important issue.
Leveraging your celebrations for increased awareness
Whether you are planning a year-long anniversary campaign or organizing one
event to mark an historic occasion, be sure to find
ways to involve external audiences in your festivities by including publicity
strategies in your celebratory planning.
I’ve seen organizations use an anniversary as an opportunity to create a year-long
marketing strategy. They used it as a hook to gain
coverage and produced a series of PSAs (public service announcements) and
articles that were circulated to community newspapers, magazines, TV
and radio stations. Of course, the anniversary logo and coverage was
incorporated into all of their materials, including their website.
Along with party planning, you might want to consider some additional ways to
mark your milestones. How about:
- Holding a contest to choose the design of an anniversary logo or event
- Creating a forum or special section of your website to showcase the history
of your organization or a particular event?
- Preparing short articles or blog posts that commemorate important or
historic events or activities?
What events should you celebrate?
While I’ve been talking about marking anniversaries, there are other
milestones or events that you can use as your reason to celebrate and publicize
your organization. If you have a membership or fundraising event already
scheduled, perhaps you can incorporate an anniversary theme and try to get additional media exposure. If there was a
momentous event or goal that your organization reached that changed the course of your mission, it might be
If you don’t have a milestone to mark, you can see if there is a national or international day or week that your organization could celebrate publicly. “The UN (United Nations) has established a set
of Days and Weeks, Years and Decades to help
focus the world on the issues in which the UN has an interest and
commitment.” You can check these out on this UN website – to see if any events are compatible with your
You might also want to check out the Earth Calendar to see if there are any holidays that your
organization could mark to offer support and raise awareness. This website allows you
to browse holidays by international, national and religious parameters.
Help with your celebratory planning
While I was researching this topic online, I came across a free Celebration Pre-Planning Checklist - offered through Landes & Associates. They suggest this is “a great tool to help you guide
your planning efforts – pointing you toward strategies and tactics that produce
genuine value.” Have a look to see if it offers any ideas that might work for your organization.
So as you begin your fall planning, consider ways in which you can leverage
any organizational milestones, achievements or events in the coming year to
raise awareness, attract new members, volunteers or supporters and promote your
Share your ideas for milestone celebrations in our comments section below.