By Anne Derber and Michele Goodrich

    If you’re lucky, your organization will achieve key milestones or anniversaries. Maybe you’ll celebrate how many years you’ve been in service to your community or perhaps you’re marking programmatic milestones such as number of pets adopted, ministry impact or neighborhoods served. Whatever you’re celebrating, you have the opportunity to use that milestone to enhance the culture of philanthropy in your organization.


    Beyond the actual anniversary celebration events, think about how you can get your donors and supporters engaged. Can you put historical photos on social media and encourage people to let you know who’s in those photos or their stories of your church or school at that time? Would your supporters like to put a lawn sign or bumper sticker on their car to show their affiliation? Look for ways to draw donors, participants and alumni closer to you through the celebration.


    An anniversary celebration is a great excuse to open your doors to members of your local community who may never have reason to come to your facility. Some nonprofits, like a domestic abuse shelter or teen residential center, may not be able to invite people in due to the nature of their mission, but could still use the anniversary to shed light on the organization by opening your doors virtually through local PR and media coverage.


    No organization makes it to a significant milestone on their own. Along the way, donors, supporters, members, alumni, parents, congregants and friends of the organization have helped to build, and build upon, your story. Thank them profusely and meaningfully throughout your anniversary celebrations.


    Don’t assume everyone knows your story. College or camp alumni have strong memories, but may not be familiar with how you operate today. Others may participate in a single program that you offer but be unaware of the larger scope of your impact. When you get the chance to celebrate a milestone, make sure to lift up all your institution’s key achievements.


    Make sure your anniversary celebration also looks forward. Those who engage in your anniversary, be it at an event or as a reader of the commemorative edition of your newsletter, have demonstrated their interest in your organization. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to show them not just where you’ve been, but where you’re going. Let them catch your vision, so they can be part of the future of your organization and not just your past.

    Looking for advice on how to make the most of your upcoming milestone or anniversary? Contact us for a free 45 minute conversation!

    Image by June Laves from Pixabay

    Posted by Michele Goodrich on Feb. 22, 2021
    Michele Goodrich

    Written by Michele Goodrich

    Since joining the Donor By Design team in 2010, Michele Goodrich has provided resource development counsel to youth-focused, arts and cultural, health-related and educational nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Her extensive and diverse experience in nonprofit leadership positions makes it possible for her to tailor her approach to each nonprofit client’s set of circumstances as well as its unique culture and distinct strengths.

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