I’ll admit that I am not into super big anniversary celebrations. Today my husband and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary and we just returned from a nice hike with the kids, and will have a nice dinner at home. That’s good enough for me. And for most nonprofit anniversaries, I think the low-key approach works well too.
However, in some cases, going for the full-on celebration is a great approach — but you really can’t do it half-way. When the Communities Foundation of Texas decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary, they tied it into practically everything for the year. Carol Goglia shares the behind-the-scenes details on making that full-on celebration happen. Be sure to click through a bunch of Carol’s links so you can see how the anniversary messaging played out in various ways. (Check out Carol’s previous post on her communications grid, which was essential in managing this integrated approach to the anniversary!) ~ Kivi
Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) celebrated its 60th anniversary year in 2013 with a year’s worth of events designed to underscore the foundation’s long-standing commitment to North Texas and show the impact of its philanthropic work through the decades.
Instead of re-creating the wheel, our CFT team re-cast several of their regular events with an anniversary flair. Themed “Giving Back and Looking Forward,” the year of events was announced in an over-sized “save the date” to donors and fund holders. Plus, many events were open to the public (and therefore pitched to local media and listed on area calendar listings) to build awareness for the foundation’s past and current work.
2013 Events Calendar
We also created an interactive timeline kiosk in our lobby to display a sampling of the thousands of grants made each year. That interactive historical timeline is also online—you can view it by clicking here.
The year’s signature event, where the timeline kiosk was debuted, was the Mayor’s Panel (dubbed Generations of Generosity) which was a storytelling event by Dallas mayors past and present sharing their first-person accounts of Dallas’ milestone moments and philanthropy’s role during the last 60 years. MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean characterized the event as CFT “pulling off a first” to attract such a crowd. It drew press and an unprecedented level of VIP and community interest as evidenced by the sold-out, standing-room-only event of 400 attendees.
Selected press coverage highlights from the year include:
- A kickoff of the year’s celebrations in The Dallas Morning News with an announcement of the first Cause-Minded Conversation
- A front page story and follow-up blog post in The Dallas Morning News painted a picture of CFT trustees’ and fund holders’ philanthropy through the decades. Of note: DMN readers shared the online story 87 times on Twitter or Facebook.
- D Magazine sent a reporter to the Mayor’s Panel and all three Cause-Minded Conversation panel talks. Stories appeared on D’s Frontburner blog three times: here, here and here.
- PaperCity’s front-of-the-website photo gallery featured at least 10 photos from the Mayor’s Panel.
- CultureMap ran a human-interest story on one of the panelists of the Cause-Minded Conversation series, and they also covered the Mayor’s Panel.
- Modern Luxury magazine ran Mayor’s Panel event photos titled “Super 60!”
- MySweetCharity recapped the 60th celebration with fund holders.
- KLIF/WBAP produced a four-minute segment on the Mayor’s Panel that aired three times.
- The Dallas Morning News ran a recap in December on CFT’s 60th anniversary year and the foundation’s FY 2013 grantmaking, as did CultureMap.
The anniversary year was a great excuse to introduce ourselves to new partners and supporters and also to reporters who could help us tell our story more broadly. We peppered the calendar year with 60th-related events throughout the year, each with its own PR campaign cluster and threaded 60th-year messaging in communications for non-core 60th events (such as North Texas Giving Day, D3, our website, Professional Seminar, etc.)
We also reached out to existing and potential donors through society press. Not only did we build awareness of the foundation through several signature events, but also we were able to put the past 60 years of grantmaking into a modern, online format for quick access and easy review. Throughout the year, we were proud and honored to showcase many generous people who, for 60 years, have answered our region’s biggest civic problems with philanthropy.
Carol Pierce Goglia currently leads marketing and communications for Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) in Dallas, Texas. As the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, CFT works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking initiatives. Carol holds an MBA from University of Texas at Austin and BA from Washington & Lee University. A third generation Dallasite, Carol, and her husband Mark live in North Dallas with their three children.