Raising Awareness by Celebrating Milestones

Lori Halley 10 August 2011 0 comments

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 name?
  • 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 celebration-worthy.

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 organization’s mission.

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 organization’s mission.

Share your ideas for milestone celebrations in our comments section below.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 10 August 2011 at 9:00 AM

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