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Fundraising in an Anniversary Year

If your organization is coming up on an anniversary year, you may be pondering a fundraising strategy to take advantage of this marker.

And indeed, it may be important in your organizational culture to mark time. To give a nod to your achievements and your staying power.

But, we advise that you think and plan carefully when using an anniversary as a fundraising strategy. Just having an anniversary – just being in existence – isn’t enough for most donors.

An anniversary has to be linked to a future vision. It needs to make the case for why your organization deserves extraordinary support now and how that increased support will make change.

An anniversary helps to take a look back, but you really want to use an anniversary to inspire donors to give to the future.

And with the right framing, you can inspire donors and raise more money through an anniversary. Certainly the right programmatic vision is critical. (What are you going to raise money for?) But having a fundraising vision in anniversary year is just as crucial. (How can you build stronger donor relationships?)

Here are some ideas to frame your anniversary to fuel revenue growth:

Fund a strategic change: Use an anniversary to take stock of your work and raise money to start a new program, fund an expansion, or make a capital investment. This can take the shape of a campaign or the creation of a special fund.

Start a major gifts program: Use an anniversary to start asking your closest donors for more support in a systematic way. We’ve seen 25th anniversary funds be a successful way to start major gifts initiatives

Launch planned giving program: An anniversary is a great time to talk to donors about long-term support through endowment and bequest gifts. If you don’t have a planned giving program, there’s no better time!

Initiate a monthly giving program: There’s something incredibly appropriate about asking your donors for sustaining gifts in an anniversary year. This is one of the most efficient ways for donors to give and is most appealing to those donors who love your organization.

It’s critical to mark time and anniversaries do that. They allow a certain amount of nostalgia and storytelling. But what they are really good for in fundraising is a new beginning. A new way to look at the organization and its work.

Consider how you might tell the story and harness the passion of your donors your next anniversary year.

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