Are you looking for a way to leverage an anniversary this year? We often hear from nonprofits that want a new website to help celebrate an important milestone, but there are also smaller online marketing projects that can support your nonprofit anniversary campaign.
Get inspired with our nine ideas that do more than ask for money, including achievable examples from real campaigns.
The Best Reasons to Celebrate
Like all communications projects, nonprofit anniversary marketing should focus on making your messages relevant to your audiences — and less about patting yourself on the back. It’s tempting to focus solely on fundraising, but who wants to be a repeat guest to a yearlong birthday party?
To keep your supporters top of mind in your nonprofit anniversary campaign, we came up with three ways to make it more than just a fundraising hook:
- Reinforce your mission and vision by showing there’s still a need or problem to be solved.
- Strengthen relationships with loyal supporters by acknowledging the people and partners that have made your progress possible.
- Build your organization’s legitimacy by demonstrating that your programs and services make a tangible impact.
Once you have your campaign goals in place, the real fun begins: choosing the ways that you’re going to celebrate!
Nonprofit Anniversary Campaign Tactics
To help you plan the tactics for your anniversary or milestone, we’ve gathered nine ways to use online tools and platforms that you likely already have in place. Whether your campaign is online-only or a mix of online methods and offline events, these ideas offer a chance to do more than say “please give again.”
Making an anniversary version of your logo doesn’t offer much to your audience other than a visual cue, but it’s a good first step if you want to use it in your print projects, on your website and with other tactics in this list. You can even add it as the main/profile image on your social media profiles, like on Facebook, where you can include a caption and link that promotes your campaign.
Blog or Newsletter Series
Combine the power of storytelling with tools that make it easy to share them throughout the year: a blog and newsletter. By creating an ongoing series of stories that focus on a specific theme or the history of a program, you’ll have ample time to acknowledge crucial donors, partners, volunteers and others that should get the credit. Describe the obstacles that have been overcome as well as what’s possible in the future when your mission is realized, using different community and staff voices when you can.
Throwback Social Media Posts
Time to pull out the photos from your early days – scanning them if necessary! Long-time supporters will enjoy seeing how far things have come while newer followers get a chance to see your track record of success. To make it easy, use the same photos in related blog posts and link back to the blog in your social media captions for people to learn more. You can also create a custom hashtag to easily connect all of your posts.
Social Media Contest
Take your historic throwback photos one step further with a contest or giveaway to encourage engagement. Use trivia questions about your past, especially if locations, people and programs have changed over time and they help demonstrate your growth as an organization. You could even request and reward vintage photos or testimonials from program alumni, which gives you some user-generated content to repurpose.
Video or Photo Slideshow
While bigger campaigns sometimes invest in professional quality videos for their anniversary, you can scale this tactic down to reach a similar goal. Tools like Animoto make it easy to pull together photos and music into a video file that can be shared online as well as at an event. Videos perform especially well on social media.
Website Landing Page
If your nonprofit anniversary campaign has multiple moving pieces, like an event, video, blog post series, special appeal or report, it’s a good idea to create a hub on your website that’s easy to direct people to from newsletters, email, social media and other promotions. This can be as simple as a single, new page that has an easy-to-remember link and that’s featured on your homepage.
If you’ve been curious about trying automated emails that send on a pre-set schedule, a campaign spanning several months is a good fit! Over the course of several emails, you can take your time moving people through a single story or a series of updates that share your milestones, say thanks and get them excited about your ongoing impact.
In addition to celebrating, an anniversary is also an ideal time for reflection on where you’ve been and where you’re going as an organization. Invite your supporters to join you by sending a survey that asks them about their preferences, interests and goals, which may have also changed over time. Be sure to have a follow-up plan that acknowledges the responses you receive and puts the data to use, such as creating segments for your communications.
Digital Party Favor
Offer a small gift to the guests at your nonprofit’s birthday party to help show gratitude. Consider free downloads like desktop wallpapers using your organization’s photos or printable resources your supporters can use or share. You could give access to a special online photo album or virtual access to your organization through a special webinar or live video with someone that’s important to your cause.
Examples of Anniversary Marketing
If our charity anniversary ideas got you excited about the possibilities, see how your campaign could work in practice with these examples.
North Carolina Outward Bound
The 50th anniversary campaign for North Carolina Outward Bound included a special section on the website to house an interactive timeline, video, merchandise, event information and more. But if that seems overwhelming, take notes from their social media activity instead. Alumni stories and throwback images were shared on LinkedIn, and they used trivia about organizational history for a giveaway on Facebook.
Skokie Public Library
For the bookmobile’s 60th anniversary, the Skokie Public Library gathered and shared images of their vehicles over the years as a way to tell its history on their blog. Images were then repurposed on Twitter. The library also created a short video for the anniversary filled with community voices, with a link back to the blog post for more information.
Madison Community Foundation
After launching at the organization’s annual dinner (which was also live-tweeted) and in their newsletter, the 75th anniversary campaign by the Madison Community Foundation (#MCFYearofGiving) has managed to keep momentum going by rolling out grant announcements throughout the year.
Each new grant gives an opportunity to highlight good work and partners in the community, which they’ve done on Instagram as well as in a printed mailer and in the local media. The campaign includes an anniversary logo and a web page that serves as a main hub for all activities, including a call-to-action for a special matching gift.
Are you celebrating something special in the next year? It’s the 15th anniversary for Project Home Again, one of the clients using our nonprofit website platform, and the 50th anniversary for Special Olympics New Jersey, whose new site launched just recently.
As you plan the pieces of your campaign — big or small, digital or in-person — remember to think beyond fundraising dollars and find ways to connect with and acknowledge your community to keep them around for the years to come.
Do you have questions about creating a nonprofit anniversary campaign or the tactics we’ve suggested? Let’s talk in the comments.