Regardless of what industry you’re in, how big your organization is, or how long your association or chamber has been around, at some point, you’re going to come across a major milestone.
Your organization’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 (your staff, your members, etc.) and acknowledging something you’ve all played a hand in (no matter how small), it builds morale and strengthens the bond people have with your organization, which is invaluable 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, the time factor gives your association or chamber credibility. The amount of time your organization has been around alludes to maturity and continued relevance. Similarly, the size of your organization's membership implies value and a bright future...all of which are 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 warrants a very different type of celebration.) 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 or chamber’s 50th anniversary, consider turning your next event (whether in-person, virtual, or a combination of the two) into a 50th birthday party. Your promotional materials can play off that birthday theme. You can hand out party hats if it’s an in-person event. Or, if it’s a virtual event, you can send out party hats as part of a direct mail campaign. Get creative and have fun with it! (Your members will feel that and want to get involved too.)
- Create a unique hashtag — With organizational milestones, you want everyone who’s played a part in that to be involved in the celebration. Remember, milestones take time to achieve, so former leaders and volunteers should be just as proud and included. To make that easy for people, consider creating a unique hashtag for your milestone. For example, when the Georgia Society of Association Executives turned 100 (which is so remarkable!), they used the hashtag #GSAE100. That made it easy for staff and members to share pictures, stories, testimonials, etc.
- Design a commemorative item — It may be a while before your organization hits another milestone (that’s why they’re so special to begin with), 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 coming up with fun and unique marketing messages is a challenge for you, consider this your prime opportunity to get creative. Social media posts, videos, collages, press releases...there are so many outlets you can leverage in an endless number of ways. This is your opportunity to make a splash, don’t let it pass you by!
Has your association or chamber celebrated a milestone recently? Or do you have one coming up? If so, we’d love to hear about what you did or plan on doing in the comments below!
And for more marketing tips — beyond announcing a major organizational milestone — check out our free guide below. In it, you’ll find best practices for website marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and more!
Note: This post was originally published on 6/27/18, but updated on 9/21/20 for added value.