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Celebrating Anniversaries & Milestones Give Supporters Another Reason to Contribute

By July 2, 2014September 10th, 2015Fundraising

This week in the U.S. on the 4th of July we celebrate the anniversary of our independence from Great Britain. It’s generally a fun, patriotic holiday with fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics and a day off of work, for many.

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Just thinking about previous July 4th celebrations when I was young brings a smile to my face.

And that got me thinking about how our sector could better incorporate the practice of annually inviting others to take action or contribute.
What anniversaries do you mark and celebrate with the community that supports your amazing mission? What do you do each year to stand out from the crowded field of social profit organizations vying for financial support and attention?

I’ve got a short list of suggestions of anniversaries and accomplishments you might choose to celebrate. Making these events visible in simple ways on your website, email newsletter, or social media can cause your supporter community to take notice, remember your impact, AND may cause additional contributions.

  1. Annual anniversary of your founding.
    Invite the founder, their family, and a few key donors to a very short annual celebration to see your work up close and personal. A mini-event where people stories are shared combined with your money story. Make it clear what it costs to do such amazing work and serve such special people. Spread the word about the celebration everywhere so no one in your community can miss its significance. Be sure to share your funding gap at the celebration event.
  2. 500th or 5000th or 10,000th or (fill in your own number) contribution
    Recognize the donor publicly with their permission. Let the donor AND your community know the total gifts that person has made over the years OR how many times they’ve made a contribution. Include an invitation made by this special donor to invite others to join him or her in supporting your important work. Use short videos, quotes, photos and tell a story about your impact with real people. Always include an update on your annual funding gap.
  3. 100th, 1000th, or 10,000th graduate from your program(s)
    Make the meeting of these types of milestones an annual event. Share donor and client stories. Share staff and board stories. Use pictures & short video clips and include the information about what causing that sort of impact costs. And again, be sure to share your funding gap to date in all of your communication.
  4. A milestone number of people served annually
    This is especially helpful to share mid-year to remind your community how many people are left to serve this year and what that will cost. Invite support of all kinds via a wish list, a well-designed donation page on your website and through strategic social media messages.
    Yes. . . be sure to share your funding gap to date.
  5. Anniversary of milestone legislation that has passed
  6. The significant date of saving a river, forest, or getting more recognition for your environmental cause
  7. Recognition for a retiring staff member, board member, or volunteer
    Have some fun showing the impact of the retiring persons hours of work or volunteer service. Equate that to the dollars their work would have costs without them. Encourage more support of time, talent and treasure.

    You got it. . . share your funding gap to date so people see how they fit in as you continue to deliver quality services or programs that align with the mission of your supporters.

You don’t need the fireworks or a parade to mark these events, though for a major milestone those might be in order! You DO want to utilize anniversaries and other milestones as a way to stand out to your community throughout the year. The key is to do it in a fun, engaging way AND ALWAYS communicate what additional resources it takes to continue your amazing work.

Let me know what types of anniversaries and milestones your organization celebrates. I love to see new examples.

And if you live in the U.S., have a safe and fun 4th of July!

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