5 Ideas for Celebrating a Milestone

Hi! Welcome to the latest episode of The High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas. I’m Julia McDowell, Marketing Strategist for Five Ones. The High-Five is my video series of marketing strategies and tactics for nonprofits and associations. I have a fun topic for you today and one I’m asked about often—celebrating milestones. This could be an anniversary, a significant achievement, or whatever else your organization wants to celebrate.

As you consider ways to honor your milestone, think about how you want to celebrate it both externally and internally. They could be the same, or you could want to do something different with donors, members, or customers than with your employees. Regardless of how you celebrate, remember that it’s the sentiment that’s the most important.


If you have the budget, a gala is a great way to show your appreciation for your donors and employees. But, if you can’t swing that large of an event, you could sponsor a local event that is already happening and encourage attendance on your behalf. And with the plethora of virtual events these days, you could host or sponsor a webinar or other online event. Ensure the event is fun for attendees and an enjoyable, potentially educational event.


Switch up your branding to reflect the milestone. This could be an entire overhaul with new colors representing your achievement or the addition of anniversary numbers to your existing logo. Whatever you decide, use it everywhere for at least a year! If you sponsor or host an event, use your new logo. Update your social media and website logos and offer them to employees to use on letterhead and email signatures. Order new swag like water bottles and t-shirts for employees, donors, and event attendees with the new logo. You’ve achieved something, so proverbially shout it from the rooftops and use all of your efforts to your advantage.

Social media

During the year of your milestone, create a social media campaign with both company-created and user-generated content. Share behind-the-scenes or nostalgic photos and ask long-time donors or members to share along with any stories or memories they have. You can turn your social media pages into public timelines of your successes, milestones, and memories (which will encourage more people to want to join!).

If you are hosting an event, have flat screens that allow people to see what others have shared and encourage people to share their own with a branded hashtag. Can I say FOMO?


Pitch your milestone story to local news outlets or magazines to complement your social media campaign. Use the opportunity to talk about your milestone (and event if applicable), your vision for the future, and where your organization is going from here. Then, be sure to share it via your own outlets like newsletters and social media, as discussed earlier,  to amplify it even further.


You can’t forget the people who worked to make your organization successful! There is a myriad of ways to celebrate internally, including:

  • Hosting a family day/community service day
  • Having an employee party
  • Give away prizes and swag

But most importantly, involve employees in the planning, so they have a say in how their efforts are rewarded. For example, they may want to have an event at lunchtime that involves a trivia game, or they may want something after working hours with their families.

A few things you can do regardless are to send a CEO message of thanks and gratitude, offer taglines to add to email signatures (as well as that new logo!), and regularly recognize employees.

What big milestone will you be celebrating soon? Share it with me @jrodmcd on Twitter!