Regardless of what industry you’re in, how big your organization is, or how long your association has been around, at some point, you’re going to come across a major milestone.
Your association’s 50th anniversary. (Or 100th!)
A new record of 5,000 members.
The 20th anniversary of your annual conference or event.
(You get the gist.)
The real question though is, how are you going to celebrate? If you’re thinking, “Eh, we may not,” we URGE you to reconsider. Here’s why acknowledging organizational milestones is so important:
- It builds morale - Regardless of what you’re celebrating, by bringing people together - whether it’s just your staff or your staff and members - and acknowledging something you’ve all played a part in, it makes the connection people have with your association even stronger. Organizational milestones (and really, milestones in general) are VERY much emotional-based, and getting people to connect emotionally with your association, well, talk about invaluable (particularly from a retention standpoint).
- It showcases your track record - Milestones take time to achieve. That’s why they’re celebration-worthy to begin with. But what’s great about that is it showcases your association’s track record. It gives your association credibility. If you’ve been around for X amount of years and you now have X amount of members, well, that means you’re growing and clearly doing something right. And it also alludes to a bright future for your association. All positive messages worth acknowledging!
Now let’s say you do decide to celebrate one of your organization’s major milestones. How exactly do you go about that? Well it depends a little bit on how significant of a milestone it is. (Five years versus 100 years is very different.) But that said, here are a few celebratory ideas to consider:
- Turn it into a theme at one (or more) of your events - If this is your association’s 50th anniversary, consider making your next event a 50th birthday party. Have a cake, party hats, streamers, the whole nine yards. Maybe even gather 50 member testimonials. There’s a LOT you can do with that.
- Create a unique hashtag - With milestones, you want everyone who’s played a part in that to be involved in the celebration. To make that easy for people, consider creating a unique hashtag for your particular milestone. When the Georgia Society of Association Executives turned 100, they used the hashtag #GSAE100. This was a great way for staff and members to share pictures, testimonials, etc.
- Design a commemorative item - It may be a while before your association reaches another milestone (that’s what makes them so special), so to make this particular moment last, consider designing some kind of commemorative item. A t-shirt, a coffee mug, a lapel pin, etc. Just something people can keep as a reminder of this special time.
- Go full-force with your marketing - If you ever struggle to come up with fun and unique marketing messages, well, consider milestones your opportunity to get creative! Social media posts, press releases, videos - there’s SO much you can do here. Don’t let those opportunities pass you by.
Has your association celebrated a milestone recently? If so, we’d love to hear about what you did! Share with us some of your celebratory tactics in the comments below.
And for a few tips on marketing your association - whether it’s for a milestone or not - check out our free Small-Staff Guide to Association Marketing below!