The guy who founded National Philanthropy Day was a tax attorney. Go figure.
Doug Freeman proved gratitude and grit can move mountains or at least create a national holiday. Five years, nearly 40 trips to Washington, D.C., and over 4,000 letters later, the Orange County, California, attorney finally got Philanthropy Day passed by Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
It’s been held on November 15 every year since the signing.
A self-proclaimed “gratitude freak,” Doug advocated for a nationally recognized Philanthropy Day to highlight the accomplishments, large and small, that philanthropy, and all those involved in the philanthropic process, make to our society and our world. In 2012, Canada officially recognized National Philanthropy Day permanently, setting a model for other countries to emulate.
Want to be more like Doug? Great. Haven’t made any plans to celebrate yet? No problem.
5 Last-Minute Ways to Share Thanks on National Philanthropy Day
1. Share the power of collective impact with these stats.
With numbers in the millions and billions, it’s obvious that when we work together for the common good, we get great things accomplished:
- Nearly 61 million volunteers gave over 4 billion hours of their time with an estimated economic value of $123 billion.
- Americans annually give nearly $500 billion to charities and nonprofit organizations that improve communities everywhere.
Sample social post:
Nearly 61 million of us can’t be wrong. Today, on #NationalPhilanthropyDay, you deserve our heartfelt “Congratulations!” and toast of thanks. You and others like you with the same compassionate spirit have given billions of volunteer hours to causes across the country, including [org name].
In fact, because of you, [list one fantastic achievement or goal reached at your organization, thanks, in part, to donor support].
Grow your social reach with these hashtags:
And by using these more generic philanthropy hashtags:
#philanthropy #charity #nonprofit #donate #fundraising #giveback #community #socialgood #volunteer #dogood #givingback #change #support #causes #donation #help #makeadifference #fundraiser #nonprofitorganization #ngo #instagood #hope #donations #volunteering #activism #helpingothers
See the #NationalPhilanthropyDay Instagram page for more ideas and inspiration.
2. Use Stelter’s free social images.
We made these for you to use today, for free, no copyright needed, on your Facebook, Instagram or other social media accounts. Customize a short message to fit your nonprofit’s voice.
To save the images: Click on an image to enlarge, then right-click on the image and choose Save Image As. To move to the next image, click the arrow to the right of the enlarged image.
3. Select a few donors; make a few phone calls.
Don’t make this an all-or-nothing project if time is short today. Do what you can with the time you have.
Here’s what we suggest: Call your top prospects, new prospects, a random sampling or people you’ve just been meaning to connect with for some time to tell them that you were thinking about them and appreciate their kindness. Enlist other team members if they’re able to help, even if they can make calls for only 15 minutes. (That’s one or two more calls made to important donors!)
“Hi, Joseph! This is Brenda from [org name]. How are you? I was just thinking about you because it’s National Philanthropy Day today, which gives me another reason to thank you for your support. Because of you, we’re focused on [initiative] right now. I’d love to know how you are and answer any questions you might have about [org name].”
4. Say thanks to volunteers on-site.
Are you hosting any volunteer events today? If so, get out and thank them personally. Better yet, bring some swag or special treats that offer something for everyone. Make a thank-you note that’s lighthearted and fun … “Today’s National Philanthropy Day! Thank you for sharing your awesome volunteer powers with us. We couldn’t do it without you.”
5. Make a video to share and post, far and wide.
Did you know? Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video.
You may already have an appropriate thank-you/gratitude video that you can send to donors via email and post to your social channels. Tailor it to National Philanthropy Day with a short intro explaining why you’re sending it to them today. In the market for a new video idea? Check out SmileTrain to see how concisely they connected donors’ gifts with resulting impact.
And a Thank You From Stelter
Today, we celebrate YOU, too! We hope you’ll stop for a moment today to think about the gains you’ve made in the past year; gains that will impact today and pave the way for a future we can’t yet imagine. Your work as a connector—as someone who grows the love—is vital in improving the world’s people, places, animals and natural spaces, and for that you have our deep admiration.