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Using Anniversaries and Milestones to Celebrate Your Organization

Is your organization nearing an anniversary or significant milestone in its history? If so, celebrating it is a great way to publicize your accomplishments and look forward to the future. Marking a major anniversary or milestone promotes pride in the organization, builds goodwill among customers, donors and others and gives you a chance to build support for future initiatives.

We recently helped the Catalina Island Conservancy celebrate its 45th Anniversary by creating a special 45th edition of its biannual magazine, the Conservancy Times. As one of California’s oldest and largest land trusts, it has much to celebrate.

Others may have less to celebrate, so communications and outreach should be geared to the milestone that’s been reached. In other words, a one-year anniversary warrants a more low-key approach than what we’re recommending below. For those who do reach a significant milestone, here are five tips on how to mark such occasions:

PARTY HEARTY: Treat a significant milestone as a year-long celebration of the organization’s longevity by planning an anniversary campaign that strengthens your brand and promotes the organization and its mission. Plan events that will celebrate this milestone. These can be receptions for supporters and company picnics for employees. At each, remind the guests of how you got to this point and sketch out your future plans to get them onboard with your vision.

INVITE THE RIGHT GUESTS: Reach out to the target audiences you wish to join in the celebration. These likely would include employees, customers/donors, potential funders, prospects, partners and media influencers.

TELL THE STORY: Create the narrative of how you reached this milestone and share it with your target audiences. Or even better, get others to tell your story. For the Conservancy Times, we reached out to those who had benefitted from the Conservancy’s work to have them tell the difference it had made in Catalina Island. Use your existing publications and create new ones to tell your story and share your vision for the future.

GIVE BACK: Generally, media won’t be interested in such anniversaries. But activities around such anniversaries can help tell your story in the media. Some organizations have made significant donations or created a “giving back” activity by their employees to call attention to the anniversary and to demonstrate their organization’s values.

BRAND IT: To remind people throughout the year of the anniversary, add an element to your existing logo that celebrates your milestone. Here’s what we did for our 10th Anniversary:

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