Organizations come in all shapes and sizes. Their missions span everything from the arts to wildlife rescue. And their audiences vary widely.
But there’s one very predicable opportunity every organization shares. When done well, it can become a real rallying point. Done poorly, it has the potential to become a big money pit.
We’re talking about anniversaries.
Whether it’s your fifth or your 50th, anniversaries offer an opportunity to reinforce your credibility… a chance to do something that really connects with your audience… and even a focal point to raise extra money.
While effective anniversary logos and appealing event invitations play an important role in an inspiring anniversary campaign, keeping it all about your audience is essential to success.
Give your audience more of what they love about you
There’s a reason your people first connected with you. Give them an extra special dose of it for your anniversary! It could be a free online program, a special performance or exhibit, student artwork… the possibilities are endless.
We love this example from Sun-Maid’s 100th anniversary. The company produced a free e-book, full of fascinating information about raisins and dried fruit, as well as recipes. Not only was this a great way to connect with their dried-fruit-loving audience, the book’s usefulness lasted well beyond the end of the brand’s anniversary year.
Create meaningful ways for people to participate
Don’t just talk at your audience about your anniversary. Find ways for them to become part of your monumental milestone. Different donation and volunteer opportunities are common ways to get people involved, but this is a great time to innovate.
We’re always fans of drawing inspiration from some of the big players out there—like the NFL (which, perhaps surprisingly, is a nonprofit.) It created lots of engaging ways that fans could participate in its 100th anniversary, including the Huddle for 100 volunteer challenge. One of our favorites was inviting fans to select the single greatest moment in the NFL’s 100-year history. Voting started with fans of each club selecting their own club’s best moment. Then the winners were pitted against each other through four rounds of voting. The winning moment was announced on Super Bowl Sunday. Genius.
Don’t forget about your future while you’re celebrating your past
Highlighting and celebrating your history—including your audience’s part in the story—can help create a sense of shared pride and ownership. At the same time, it’s important to talk about where you’re going in the future—with your audience right there beside you, of course!
When the UN turned 75 in 2020, initiatives like 75 Years, 75 Documents presented by the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library reflected on the UN’s history. But the organization didn’t miss a beat seizing this golden opportunity to envision its future. It launched what it called the “biggest-ever global conversation on the world’s future.” After completing its global listening exercise, it issued a final report on “people’s priorities for the future and their ideas for action.” Your plans may not need the scale of the UN’s, but be bold with your vision and how your community can bring it to life.
Choose your timing wisely
Think strategically about when an upcoming anniversary warrants celebration. You shouldn’t feel compelled to go all-out for every milestone that ends in a 0 or a 5. That could potentially become tedious—not to mention expensive! At the same time, don’t let the traditional milestones constrain you. You might have a good reason to go all-out for your 45th even though your 50th is around the corner—like the retirement of a key leader or the launch of a new endeavor. The anniversaries of your well-known programs can also generate opportunities for celebration but be careful of over-saturation.
Remember, an anniversary logo gets swapped into everything one year then swapped back out the next. Make sure that extra work delivers the milestone moment you’re hoping for.
Need inspiration to connect with your audience around your anniversary? Already have some great ideas that need a special logo or audience-focused marketing materials to bring them to life? Give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!